Meet Jim Barrens, author of In Our Time – Nostra Aetate!
But one event, one stroke of a pen, on October 28, 1965, made all of this possible. This modest book tells this momentous tale….
About the author: James M. Barrens is the former Executive Director of the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida. He is also the former Lead Organizer of Congregations United for Community Action, a St. Petersburg, Florida social justice organization comprised of thirty-seven diverse religious congregations, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Quaker, Unitarian-Universalist, Bahia, and others. Mr. Barrens, who is Roman Catholic, has been recognized by local and national media for having a unique and accessible yet scholarly perspective on Catholic-Jewish relations, as well as interfaith relations in general. He completed his undergraduate studies in Sociology at The American University in Washington, D.C., and his graduate studies in Theology at Saint Leo University. And, oh yes, his wife, Ruth, is Jewish.
Publication Date: Jun 09 2015
ISBN/EAN13: 1514297345 / 9781514297346
Page Count: 122
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 5″ x 8″
Color: Black and White
Related Categories: Religion / Ecumenism & Interfaith
Price: $5.99 US
REVIEW: Journal of Ecumenical Studies
James M. Barrens, In Our Time, Nostra Aetate: How Catholics and Jews Built a New Relationship. St. Petersburg, FL: Mr. Media Books, 2015. vii + 114 pages. $5.99. Paper.
“(This book) celebrate(s) the 50th anniversary of what was has been called the most revolutionary document of our times, Nostra Aetate (NA), promulgated by the Second Vatican Council on October 28, 1965. Barrens’ In Our Time succinctly summarizes for the general reader the significance of the document, especially its fourth section on Jews and Judaism, and subsequent Church documents expanding it’s implications. NA rejected two millennia of the Christian teaching of contempt against Jews and Judaism in favor of acknowledging the ongoing validity of God’s covenant with the Jews as the People of God. Barrens summarizes the tragic history of accusing the Jews collectively of killing Jesus and of claiming that Judaism (the revelation by God to the Jewish People in the Hebrew Scriptures) had been superseded or replaced by Christianity. The teaching of contempt led to persecution and massacres of Jews, their marginalization and being forced into ghettos, to blood libel charges and expulsion from numerous European countries beginning with England in the 12th Century. The teaching of contempt laid the groundwork for the development of modern racial antisemitism and the Holocaust/Shoah, the founding of the State of Israel as a refuge for Jewish survivors, and the Catholic examination of conscience led by such figures as Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, French Jewish historian Jules Isaac, Cardinal Augustin Bea, S.J., and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Barrens presents the teachings of NA and the fruits of Catholic-Jewish dialogue since the Council, concluding with Pope Francis and the future of the relationship. Appended are key texts and a short bibliography. It is an excellent book for beginners in the field and for local parish/synagogue dialogue groups.” — Eugene J. Fisher, Distinguished Professor of Theology, Saint Leo University
In Our Time — Nostra Aetate
by James M. Barrens
“In Our Time,” that is, within the last fifty years, the world has witnessed the greatest improvements in Catholic-Jewish relations since the death of Jesus of Nazareth.
Many courageous people contributed to this improvement. Catholics and Jews have embarked on a historic engagement with one another. But one event, one stroke of a pen, on October 28, 1965, made all of this possible. This modest book tells this momentous story….
October 28, 2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s proclamation entitled “Nostra Aetate,” which translates loosely from the Latin into English as “In Our Time.” The subtitle of Nostra Aetate is “The Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions.” This historic document changed the relationship between Catholics and Jews forever.
Since the promulgation of Nostra Aetate, Jewish-Catholic relations have improved steadily. This book shall highlight events leading up to Nostra Aetate and developments since 1965. These latter events, which some might say are “the fruits of Nostra Aetate,” all occurred in the aftermath of the document and indicate improved relations between these two historic faiths groups. On the occasion of this fiftieth anniversary it is appropriate for Catholics and Jews to pause and reflect on where we have been, where we are, and the possibilities for the future.
Of course, I write this book from a Roman Catholic perspective. How could I not? I am a Roman Catholic! But being married to a Jewish woman for over thirty years, and experiencing Jewish life and customs so intimately, has given me a precious perspective on Jewish life and how it is lived, day by day, season after season, year after year. At times, I sense that perhaps I am experiencing the Sabbath or a Seder or the High Holidays in a special way, perhaps, in some small way, as Jesus himself might have experienced them. For a Catholic Christian, this can be a most powerful experience. My experiences in Judaism have strongly informed my Christian faith, and motivated me to pursue the cause of peace and reconciliation, both personally and professionally, for the past forty years. With this book, I seek to make a modest contribution to spreading the good news that is Nostra Aetate.
Copyright © 2015 James M. Barrens
Published by Mr. Media Books, St. Petersburg, Florida
All rights reserved under the Pan American and International Copyright Conventions, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.