This annual seminar provides professors of philosophy, theology, ethics, and religious studies an overview of the history of the churches during the Holocaust, both inside and outside Nazi Germany, and the ways in which religious leaders of all faiths have addressed the Holocaust since 1945. Focusing on a particular theme or historical aspect in alternate years, each seminar includes special presentations by experts in the field; a review of curricular resources, new research, and publications; and an introduction to the Museum’s resources for scholars.
Martin Luther's Theology and the Jews
June 19–23, 2017
The topic of “Luther and the Jews” became one of the most researched themes in the field of Luther studies after the Holocaust. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017, the legacy of one of the most influential Christian teachers is being reassessed. This seminar will orient participants to the breadth of Luther’s writings on and comments about the Jews, highlight continuities and discontinuities in his thought, probe the foundations of Luther’s—and his contemporaries’—antagonism toward the Jews, and provide select examinations of subsequent appropriations of Luther’s anti-Jewish writings (particularly On the Jews and Their Lies) in the early twentieth-century. The course will facilitate critical analysis of early modern history, engagement with and adjustment of central prevalent Christian teachings, and the development of pedagogical approaches to confronting this issue. The 2017 seminar leaders are Professors Kirsi Stjerna (Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, California) and Brooks Schramm (Gettysburg Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania), co-editors of Martin Luther, the Bible, and the Jewish People: A Reader (2012).
Complete information about the seminar and application process can be found here.
2016: good, evil, and the grey zone: religion's role in genocide from the holocaust to isis
This seminar explored the complex ways in which religion (whether in the form of religious groups, leaders, institutions, or interpretations of religious traditions and teachings) becomes a factor in genocidal situations, with a special focus on the Holocaust, the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides, and the atrocities perpetrated by the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
2015: BUILDING CHRISTIAN-JEWISH UNDERSTANDING AFTER THE HOLOCAUST
The Holocaust catalyzed a new era in interreligious encounter as Jews and Christians addressed the historical and theological obstacles to a positive relationship. This seminar examined the development of these new dialogical directions.
2014: MORAL DILEMMAS AND MORAL CHOICE IN THE HOLOCAUST: DIETRICH BONHOEFFER AND PIUS XII AS CASE STUDIES IN RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP
This seminar examined the historical and theological complexities of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Pope Pius XII, two of the most central Christian figures during the Holocaust, and explored how the scholarship on both men has shaped Christian understandings of the Holocaust after 1945.
2013: The Overlooked Revolution: The Shift in Catholic Teaching on the Jews since Vatican II
This seminar explored the changes in Catholic teachings about Jews and Judaism after the 1965 promulgation of Nostra Aetate (“In Our Age”) at Vatican II.
2012: Understanding Complicity: The Churches’ Role in Nazi Germany
This seminar explored the historical and theological dynamics of the complicity of churches in Nazi Germany. Participants examined how widespread the complicity was and what its causes were; the role of the leadership of the churches; how this history influenced postwar discussions in Germany about guilt and responsibility; and how this issue been addressed in the general historiography of the Holocaust.
2011: Transforming Troubling Tellings: The History of the Deicide Charge and the Holocaust
This seminar examined the “shadow side” of Christian teaching and preaching about the Passion story that assigns blame to Jews and constitutes the core of a polemic against Judaism.
2010: Rescuers and Bystanders during the Holocaust: The Historical Significance of Morality and Complicity
Participants explored the history of Catholic and Protestant responses to Nazism and the Holocaust, with a particular focus on the role of rescuers and bystanders.
2009: Christianity and the Holocaust: History, Analysis, Implications
Using the history of the Catholic and Protestant responses to Nazism and the Holocaust as a starting point, this seminar traced the emergence of post-Holocaust Christian thought and analyzed the legacy of this history.
2008: Christianity and the Holocaust: Teaching the Tough Questions
This seminar focused on the “tough questions” that often arise in teaching the history of the Holocaust and Christian churches, including antisemitism, the relevance of rescue and resistance, the complexity of figures like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, contemporary interfaith challenges, and comparisons with other genocides.
2007: The Holocaust and the Christian Churches: Teaching this History Today
Participants explored the Catholic and Protestant churches’ responses to Nazism and the Holocaust—both inside and outside Germany—and the ways in which religious leaders have addressed this history since 1945.
2006: Complicity and Confession: Post-Holocaust Christian Interpretations of Guilt and Forgiveness
This seminar explored the behavior of Christian clergy and theologians in Nazi Germany, including their complicity and its broader legacy for postwar Christian theological discourse on guilt and forgiveness.
The Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust are supported by the Hoffberger Family Foundation and by Joseph A. and Janeal Cannon and Family.