Published on October 2, 2019 by Kristen Padilla  
Jewish Roots 2

Since the Holocaust, both Jewish and Christian scholars have rediscovered the Jewish roots of Christianity. Taking advantage of this new research, the Institute of Anglican Studies at Beeson Divinity School sought to explore Christianity’s Jewish roots by bringing leading scholars to discuss the continuing implications of these new findings for Christian theology and practice at its second Annual Anglican Theology Conference, held Sept. 24-25.

This two-day conference included presentations of cutting-edge research from 11 scholars. In their papers, the scholars shared various perspectives from Anglicanism, Messianic Judaism, and traditional Judaism, each presenting the results of their recent work. The conference also included three panels, moderated by faculty from Samford’s Beeson Divinity School and Biblical and Religious Studies department, which allowed time for questions from the audience.

The conference also included a special service as part of the divinity school’s weekly community worship with Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America delivering a sermon, “The Jewish Jesus: What Difference Does It Make for Christians?”

In addition to Beach, the speakers included:

  • Mark Gignilliat, professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School
  • Sarah Hall, adjunct professor, Trinity School for Ministry and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary
  • Mark Kinzer, senior scholar and president emeritus, Messianic Jewish Theological Institute
  • Eugene Korn, academic director, The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Israel
  • Gerald McDermott, professor of divinity and director of the Institute of Anglican Studies, Beeson Divinity School
  • David Moffitt, senior lecturer in New Testament Studies, University of St. Andrews, Scotland
  • Isaac Oliver, associate professor, Bradley University
  • Matthew Olver, assistant professor of liturgics and pastoral theology, Nashotah House Theological Seminary
  • Jen Rosner, affiliate assistant professor of systematic theology, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • David Rudolph, director of Messianic Jewish Studies and professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, The King’s University
  • Matthew Thiessen, associate professor of religious studies, McMaster University, Canada

“I hope attendees take with them the recognition that we all need to reexamine our assumptions about Israel—whether the Church is the new Israel, whether God's covenant with non-messianic Jews remains, whether Jesus and Paul turned their backs on Judaism, and whether Jewish Christians should keep Mosaic law,” said McDermott, who organized the conference.

Beeson’s Dean Douglas A. Sweeney summed up the success of this conference: “We are grateful to the Lord for a transformational conference. Many in attendance expressed their gratitude to me for the ways in which the speakers challenged us to greater faithfulness to God by means of deeper appreciation for the Jewish roots and character of biblical Christianity and genuine love and respect for the Jewish people.”

The conference papers will be published in a forthcoming book. Learn more about the work of the Institute of Anglican Studies and upcoming conferences.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.