Upcoming Delve Deeper course to focus on early Jewish-Christian relations


The Delve Deeper Series will hold a Zoom course, “Two Nations in Your Womb: Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity,” starting in February.

Delve Deeper is an adult-education initiative that hires dynamic teachers to present in-depth, university-level Judaic courses to a diverse group of adult learners.

This series will explore the history of Jewish-Christian relations in “Late Antiquity” (c. 200-600 C.E.), a time of profound social, cultural and religious transformation.

This foundational period was an important time for the development of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism, which occurred parallel to each other but also in conversation with each other. From both Jewish and Christian perspectives, this course will examine key ideas and practices, methods of interpreting sacred texts, and views of the “Other” and the “Self” that characterized Jewish-Christian relations in this period.

The course will be co-taught by Professors Arthur Urbano and Benny Bar-Lavi, both from Providence College.

Urbano is a professor of theology and the chair of the Jewish-Catholic Theological Exchange at PC.  He earned a Master of Divinity degree in Scripture at Harvard Divinity School and a Ph.D., in Religious Studies, at Brown University. He teaches courses in the Bible, early Christianity and Jewish-Christian relations. Since 2007, Urbano has been involved in interfaith work at PC and nationally.

Bar-Lavi is PC’s newly appointed scholar-in-residence in Jewish Studies and Jewish-Christian Relations. He will be a member of the Department of Theology for the 2023-24 academic year. Bar-Lavi earned a bachelor’s degree from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. His research has focused on early modern European history, the Western Sephardi Diaspora, the history of Jewish thought, and Judaism and Islam in Christian and post-Christian thought.

Prior knowledge of the subject matter is not required for this introductory course. Both Bar-Lavi and Urbano are looking forward to creating a space for open dialogue. They hope to foster an environment that will allow for questions between students, who bring their own identities, backgrounds and traditions, but can learn together    and, perhaps, create lasting friendships.

The seven-week Zoom course will begin on Feb. 5, from 7 to 9 p.m. Participants will be able to access class materials online, such as advance readings, the syllabus, weekly readings and PowerPoint presentations.

Tuition is $175 for the semester. To enroll in the course or to learn more about the instructors, go to www.delvedeeper.org or https://tinyurl.com/3dd4jsjp.

Tuition assistance is available to members of the Providence College community, including faculty, staff, current students and alumni. Email jcte@providence.edu for information.

For all others interested in a reduced-rate tuition, email Morty Miller at mortymiller1945@gmail.com or contact the rabbi of a sponsoring synagogue.

Financial support is provided by the Joseph and Jacqueline Teverow Memorial Fund at the Jewish Federation Foundation of Greater Rhode Island.

The course is a collaboration between Delve Deeper and the Providence College Jewish-Catholic Theological Exchange, whose mission is to foster interreligious learning, friendship and understanding in the community and at the college.

This Delve Deeper series is also presented in cooperation with the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island and area synagogues, including Congregation Beth Sholom, Temple Beth-El, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Habonim, Temple Sinai and Temple Torat Yisrael.

DORI ADLER (dadler@jewishallianceri.org) is the director of Jewish Life and Learning at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.

Delve Deeper, Alliance, Providence College