The Pharisees: What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us

The painting, Nicodemus by Henry O. Tanner, depicts the Pharisee and Jesus speaking and sitting together.

In Christian writings and homilies through the centuries, “Pharisee” has served as a label for one who is hypocritical, self-righteous, legalistic, or money-loving. Unfortunately, the image has fed—and continues to foment—negative perceptions of Jews in general and other persons or groups the speaker or writer despised. But who were the Pharisees, really?

This program explores what we know—and don’t know—about these teachers of the past who are also in some ways the predecessors of all forms of modern Judaism. The program will start with an initial presentation by the co-editors and contributors to The Pharisees, a multidisciplinary volume that addresses the question historically, theologically, and pastorally. This will be followed by interactive roundtable discussions during which the panelists will join participants in exploring some practical suggestions for incorporating a nuanced understanding of the Pharisees in preaching, teaching, and catechesis.

This event is co-sponsored by Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Office of Mission & Ministry, Georgetown Law, and Georgetown Law Campus Ministry.

Public Health Measures: This event will take place in-person on the Georgetown Law campus. Georgetown University requires all visitors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or to attest to having a medical or religious exemption from being vaccinated. All visitors must complete the COVID-19 visitor registration for this event.


9:00 - 9:30 a.m. EST | Coffee and light continental breakfast

9:30 - 10:45 a.m. EST | Editor and Contributor Panel

Joseph Sievers, Pontifical Biblical Institute
Amy-Jill Levine, Hartford International University for Religion and Peace
Philip Cunningham, Saint Joseph’s University
Amy Uelmen (moderator), Georgetown University

10:45 - 11:00 a.m. EST | Break

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EST | Moderated Roundtable Discussions

12:00 - 1:00 p.m. EST | Lunch

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