The Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions closed in June 2016. This web site will not be updated, and remains online as part of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s public archive.
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Public Conference, open to all:
Nostra Aetate and the Future of Interreligious Dialogue”

Sunday, October 11 to
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
University of Wisconsin–Madison

In 1965, the assembled bishops of the Second Vatican Council passed the “Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions,” commonly known as Nostra Aetate (after the opening words, “In our time…”). It constituted a major statement about how the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Paul VI considered its relationship to other faith traditions, notably Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The document announced that the Church “rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions” and “reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race, color, condition of life, or religion.”

To mark the Declaration’s fiftieth anniversary, this conference will examine the past—and potential future—of Nostra Aetate from multiple perspectives, primarily from outside the Roman Catholic Church. The Declaration transformed the Church’s relationships with Judaism through an exculpation of the Jews for the murder of Jesus Christ and its seminal assertion that “the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures.” It opened spaces for initiatives such as A Common Word, a 2007 joint statement on interfaith dialogue by dozens of Muslim and Christian leaders and scholars. As befitting our mission “to create better understanding of the Abrahamic traditions and their interrelationships by encouraging ongoing discussion of these traditions,” the Lubar Institute has invited extraordinary scholars to come together to explore and reflect upon the global significance of Nostra Aetate.

We are deeply honored to have this conference anchored by two plenary addresses, presented by Dr. John Borelli, Special Assistant for Interreligious Initiatives to the President of Georgetown University, and by Paul Knitter, Paul Tillich Professor Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary. Please join us for these lectures and the full slate of public panels.

[Dan Hummel, a University of Wisconsin–Madison Ph.D. candidate, attended this conference and provided this analysis of the event to the blog “Religion in American History” (October 23, 2015).]

Plenary Addresses

Archbishop CupichSunday, October 11, 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Contextualizing Nostra Aetate: Its Vatican II Origins and its Future for Today
Dr. John Borelli
, Special Assistant for Interreligious Initiatives to the President of Georgetown University; and the U.S. Jesuit Conference’s Coordinator for Interreligious Dialogue and Relations.

location: Upper|House, 365 East Campus Mall #200.

Paul KnitterMonday, October 12, 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Religious Pluralism as the Great Challenge of the Twenty-First Century
Dr. Paul Knitter, Emeritus Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, Union Theological Seminary; and Honorary Fellow, Lubar Institute

location: VandeBerg Auditorium, 121 Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St.

All panels (listed below) will be in Room 235, Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St.


Panel 1: Roman Catholic Perspectives
[10:15 am to 12:00 pm]

moderator: Prof. Giuliana Chamedes,
Assistant Professor of History, Department of History, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Panel 2: Protestant and Orthodox Christian Perspectives
[1:30 pm to 3:00 pm]

moderator: Dr. Susan Ridgely,
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Department of Religious Studies, University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh

Panel 3: Jewish Perspectives
[3:30 pm to 5:00 pm]

moderator: Dr. Philip Hollander,
Assistant Professor of Israeli Literature and Culture, Center for Jewish Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison


Panel 4: Islamic Perspectives
[8:30 am to 10:00 am]

moderator: Prof. Uli Schamiloglu,
Professor of Central Asian Studies, Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Panel 5: Buddhist and Hindu Perspectives
[10:30 am to 12:00 pm]

moderator: Prof. John Dunne
Center for Healthy Minds Distinguished Professor in Contemplative Humanities, Department of East Asian Languages & Literature, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Panel 6: Nostra Aetate and the Future
[1:30 pm to 3:00 pm]

moderator: Prof. Charles Cohen
Director, Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions; and E. Gordon Fox Professor of American Institutions, Department of History, University of Wisconsin–Madison