The Nostra Ætate Lecture Series

The Nostra Ætate Lecture Series

The Nostra Ætate Lecture Series builds on the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s document on interreligious dialogue, as well as on other similar initiatives like the Pacem in Terris lecture series. Nostra Ætate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, continues to revolutionize the Catholic Church’s approach to the Jewish people and members of other religions. We invite you to join us as different lecturers from various traditions and experiences examine both ancient and contemporary questions of interreligious understanding.  View the list of past lectures below.


Forty-five years ago, on October 28, 1965, the Second Vatican Council issued a statement like one never before which called for increased relations with non-Christian religions. This revolutionary document, named Nostra Ætate for the first two words in its original Latin text and translated as “In our age,” marked a huge transformation not only in the history of Jewish-Christian relations, but of relations with Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and many others. Prior to this time, relations, with these other faith traditions, at best, consisted of mutual ignorance and conflict. With their historic statement near the close of Vatican II, Catholic bishops from around the world created a new situation of openness and dialogue.

Nostra Ætate has perhaps been most important, however, to the Jewish people. The document supports as the chosen of God as well as illustrates Christianity’s connection to Judaism. It also says that the death of Jesus cannot be blamed on all the Jewish people of Jesus’ time or today. Since the document was issued, members of each faith community have begun to learn about one another’s practices, theology, and history. This includes recognizing the historical relationship between the two religions, educating about the tragic events of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, and establishing cooperative programs between Christian and Jewish agencies. Jews and Christians now study each other texts and traditions, work together in social justice programs, and can simply enjoy one another’s company as friends. Increased dialogue does not mean giving up one’s own identity and faith, but rather gaining a basic respect and understanding of the other.

Nostra Ætate is credited for laying the groundwork for further advances in interreligious dialogue both in the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches, among Protestants, and among many other world religions.

To read the authorized Nostra Ætate text in English, click here.

To read the Nostra Ætate normative Latin text, click here.


The Nostra Ætate Lecture Series at Georgetown University is proudly co-sponsored by:
    •    The Office of the President
    •    The Catholic Studies Program
    •    The Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service
    •    The Office of Mission and Ministry
    •    The Woodstock Theological Center
    •    The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
    •    The Program for Jewish Civilization
    •    The Prince Alwaleed Bin-Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding

For more information, please e-mail:

Past Lectures

2013 – 2014

Rabbi Abraham Skorka | VIDEO
Rector, Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano, Buenos Aires
“Pope Francis and the Jewish Community of Argentina”
November 4, 2013

2012 – 2013

Rabbi David Rosen
International Director of the Department for Interreligious Affairs,
American Jewish Committee
“Achievements, Challenges and Experiences in Catholic-Jewish Relations”
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2011 – 2012

Archbishop Kevin McDonald
Archbishop Emeritus, Archbishop of Southwark, England
“Interreligious Dialogue: Before, During and After Vatican II”
April 30, 2012

2010 – 2011

Professor Gregory Baum
Professor Emeritus, McGill University Faculty of Religious Studies
“Dialogue or Proclamation: Rethinking the Church’s Mission”
November 17, 2010 | 5:30 p.m.
Read President DeGioia’s Introduction of Prof. Baum

2008 – 2009

His Eminence Vinko Cardinal Puljić
Archbishop of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
“Peace , Dialogue, and Coexistence in Bosnia and Herzegovina”
February 3, 2009 | 3:00 p.m.

Rev. Fr. Hans Küng
President, Global Ethic Foundation; Professor emeritus, Ecumencial
University of Tübingen
“Challenges to Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in Today’s Global Crisis”
November 20, 2009 | 5:30 p.m.
Read President DeGioia’s Introduction of Fr. Küng

2007 – 2008

Dr. Sayyed Hossein Nasr
University Professor of Islamic Studies, George Washington University
“The State of Religious Dialogue: Forty Years after Nostra Ætate”
April 2, 2008 | 5:30 p.m.
Read President DeGioia’s introduction of Dr. Nasr

2006 – 2007

Rabbi David Rosen, KCSG
President of IJCIC, the International Jewish Committee
“Contemporary Jewish Responses to Nostra Ætate”
May 2, 2007 | 5:30 p.m.

Dr. William Vendley
Secretary General, World Conference of Religions for Peace
“Multi-Religious Action for Peace:  Nostra Ætate in the Public Sphere”
March 27, 2007 | 4:00 p.m.

Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik
President of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights
Former Prime Minister of Norway (1997 – 2000; 2001 – 2005)
Pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway (1979 – )
“Interreligious Dialogue: Seeking Understanding in Our Age”
March 2, 2007 | 4:00 p.m.

Rev. Fr. David-Maria Jaeger, O.F.M, J.C.D.
The Church and Israel Public Education Initiative, Rome, Italy
“The Catholic Church and the Jewish State”
February 15, 2007 | 4:00 p.m.

Dr. Susannah Heschel
Eli Black Chair in Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire
“Seeking Understanding in Our Age”
November 28, 2006 | 5:30 p.m.

2005 – 2006

Rev. Fr. Thomas Stransky, C.S.P.
Rector emeritus, Tantur Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies, Israel
November 2, 2006 – 5:30 p.m.

Part 4: “On the Frontier between Bethlehem & Jerusalem: A Paulist Living
Nostra Ætate”

October 18, 2006 – 5:30 p.m.
Part 3: “The Questions of Nostra Ætate: Asked and Not Asked; Given
and Not Given”

October 12, 2006 – 5:30 p.m.
Part 2: “Nostra Ætate and the Unfolding of Vatican II”

October 4, 2006 – 6:00 p.m.
Part 1: “The Genesis of Nostra Ætate: How the Changes of Vatican II Included
Jewish Relations and Interreligious Dialogue”