To: Francis X. Clooney
From: Leonard Greenspoon
I received you letter, and accompanying material, earlier today and did not wish to delay in responding, hence my choice of e-mail.
I hold the Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civlization at Creighton, a chair established almost 15 years ago by a prominent Jewish leader who had attended Creighton and graduated with a law degree in 1930. The chair, and its holder, does not reside in any department...I am tenured in the Classical and Near Eastern Studies Department and the Theology Department (as well as in the chair), given the nature of my research and teaching. Part of my responsibilities involve work with the Jewish community of Omaha, a middle-sized (around 7,000 people) and very active community. Relations between Creighton and the Jewish community are warm and of long standing, as witnessed by the chair I hold and by the format of a fall Symposium we put on annually, one day of which is held at the Jewish Community Center and one day at Creighton.
I have been at Creighton for just over four years. I have found colleagues and administrators to be unfailingly supportive, although--let's be realistic--I have not gotten a positive response to all of my ideas and initiatives (but this is, after all, the real world and not paradise). My primary research is in the area of Septuagint but more broadly bible translating, especially Jewish (which is, I hasten to add, a vastly under-studied field). I am also much interested in religion (especially the Bible and Judaism) in popular culture. I lecture on these and a variety of other contexts, often within the context--formal or otherwise--of interreligious activities. It is important, I have come to understand, to identify and recognize those things that unite us as well as points on which we must respectfully (I hope) agree to disagree.
About two years ago I began to wonder about others who were teaching Jewish studies at Jesuit and other Catholic institutions of higher learning. I have identified a number (not very large, but important nonetheless) of such individuals, including of course your colleague Ruth Langer. We have been meeting together informally for the past two years at the annual meeting, in December, of the Association of Jewish Studies. Since the group will be returning to Boston this year, perhaps you could meet with us. I might add that I have been in contact with Tom Michel and others in Rome and elsewhere....and am delighted to learn of your activities and interests.
I love to attend and participate in meetings and would certainly encourage the consideration of a meeting such as you suggest in your letter. However, it would be important to define our goals quite carefully--and a planning session for such a meeting would probably not be a bad idea.
Finally, I do recall reading---with much thought and reflection--your CONVERSATIONS article of last fall. I cannot imagine, all and all, a better time for someone like myself to be teaching at an institution like Creighton--and I am most eager to participate in almost any and all activities that would allow me to grow both through sharing my experiences and enriching myself through those of others.
all the best, ljg
Created: September 2, 2000 Updated: September 2, 2000