In Quest of the Jewish Mary: The Mother of Jesus in History, Theology, and Spirituality

Lecture by Sister M. Christine Athans, BVM, Ph.D.

Date & Time:

Monday, February 10, 2014
7:30 PM - 8:45 PM


Free and open to the public


Woulfe Alumni Hall North (378A), Anderson Student Center
University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus

Sister M. Christine Athans

Sister M. Christine Athans

How did Mary, the mother of Jesus, portrayed in Sacred Scripture as a Jewish woman of the first century, evolve into the blue-eyed Northern European whose images adorn many churches and homes?  The rediscovery and new appreciation of the Jewishness of Jesus since the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) has led some Catholics to rethink how they perceive and understand Jesus’ mother.  In this lecture, which will include a PowerPoint presentation of Marian art over the centuries, Sister Christine Athans will draw on her recently published In Quest of the Jewish Mary: The Mother of Jesus in History, Theology and Spirituality (Orbis Books, 2013) to explore historical, theological, and devotional approaches to Mary.  She will give special consideration to what might have been Mary’s experiences as a first-century Jewish woman, including her prayer life, and how this Jewish Mary may serve as an inspiration for twenty-first century Christians.  Sister Christine’s new book will be available for purchase and signing.

M. Christine Athans, BVM, a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is professor emerita at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas and an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago and Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.  She holds a Ph.D. in historical theology from the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley and has been a leader in the field of Christian-Jewish dialogue for more than four decades.  While teaching at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, Sister Christine was closely associated with the Center for Jewish-Christian Learning (now our Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning), serving as an advisor to Rabbi Max Shapiro, the center’s first director, and editing several volumes of the center’s proceedings.  Since 2002 she has been active in the Catholic-Jewish Scholars Dialogue of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Chicago Board of Rabbis, and the Jewish Federation, chairing that group from 2008 to 2011.  Sister Christine has lectured extensively and was one of four scholars on the A & E Biography television production “Mary of Nazareth” discussing the Jewishness of Mary.  Among her many publications prior to her new book In Quest of the Jewish Mary (Orbis Books, 2013) is the highly acclaimed study The Coughlin-Fahey Connection: Father Charles E. Coughlin, Father Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp. and Religious Anti-Semitism in the United States, 1938-1954 (Peter Lang, 1991).

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