Duke's own Prof. Marc Z. Brettler was recently granted a audience with Pope Francis on March 27.
He and Duke alumna Amy-Jill Levine co-authored “The Jewish Annotated New Testament”, first published in 2011. As Levine is teaching in Rome at the moment and Brettler was to give a lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the circumstances allowed for this momentous occasion to occur. Together, they presented a signed copy of their work to the pontiff.
Their book is meant for Jewish readers but can also be a resource for anyone curious about how Jewish scholars approach Christian scripture. Pope Francis, seeking an "antidote to violence," has encouraged interfaith dialogue. In hopes of the same, Brettler remarked that "having a pope accept this book from us really represents how people can talk constructively about the same book from very different vantage points instead of killing each other over it." Since Vatican II, there have been any number of documents of reconciliation between the Vatican and the Jewish community. This audience reflects that recognition.