Rev. Dennis McManus


mcmanusFr. Dennis McManus has taught at Georgetown University since 1997. He holds a master's degree in historical ethics from Georgetown University and a doctorate from Drew University in historical theology. At present, he is on the faculty of the Center for Jewish Civilization in the School of Foreign Service, where he offers courses in the history of Christian-Jewish conflict, autobiography in the Holocaust, and the theory and practice of interreligious dialogue.

Fr. McManus has served for the last four years as Consultant for Jewish Affairs at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), where he staffs the two official dialogues between the Jewish community and the Catholic Church in the United States. He also belongs to the Church Relations Committee of the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum and from 1999-2008 was a member of the editorial board of The Stimulus Foundation of New York that publishes works devoted to Catholic-Jewish history and relations. From 2009- 2011, he was the personal delegate of the Archbishop of New York to the Jewish community of New York City. Since 1997, Fr. McManus has membered on the board of directors of the Anti-Defamation League/USCCB joint program in Holocaust education known as Bearing Witness, offered nationally in Catholic dioceses. He is also director of the newly founded Jan Karski Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Georgetown University, which sponsors a week-long, intensive program in Holocaust education for high school teachers from across the U.S. Additionally, he teaches annually in the Holocaust Education workshop at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.

Fr. McManus's research interests lie in two fields: first, the relationship of Jews with early Christians and second, the meaning of Judaism in Roman Catholic liturgy. As general editor of The Ancient Christian Writers Series (Paulist Press, New York) from 1993-2007, and Drew University's translation editor from 1995-1997 for its new series, Ancient Christian Commentary (IVPress, Downers Grove), he helped to highlight the interaction of Christianity and Judaism in early Church writing. Fr. McManus has written numerous articles on this and other historical topics in The Word Set Free (ADL, 2000); The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian-Jewish Relations (2002) and "The Jewish Background of the Celibacy of Jesus" in The Celibacy of Jesus (St. Botolph Press, 2012).

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INAF 276 Holocaust by Bullets

While many students are familiar with the main lines of the Nazi extermination of Jews in Western Europe during World War II, few know that a parallel effort was waged in the East. There, Nazis killed Jews methodically, but not in mass camps built for extermination. Instead, the Nazis conceived of mobile killing units which wiped out the Jewish population of small villages, resulting in more than a million and a half more Jewish deaths than is commonly realized. Fr. Patrick Desbois, a forensic anthropologist and author of “Holocaust by Bullets,” will team teach a course that examines the Holocaust in general and this little known chapter in particular. Mid-term and final exams. Class participation and preparation essential.

Team-taught between Fr. McManus and Fr. Desbois.

INAF 269 What Really Happened in the Camps?

This course will examine new forensic evidence about imprisonment in Nazi death camps and labor centers. Informed by the work of Fr. Patrick Desbois, the forensic anthropologist whose book, Holocaust by Bullets, has revised the historiography of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, this study will compare present narratives of the design and operations of the camps to newly discovered forensics which alter our understanding. Taught in tandem with a reading of autobiographical literature from camp inmates such as Elie Wiesel, Jean Bernard, Viktor Frankl, Anne Frank, Ettie Hillesum and others.

Team-taught between Fr. Desbois and Fr. McManus.

INAF 237 Troubled Rivalry: The History of Jewish Catholic Relations

This course will trace the history of Catholic-Jewish relations from the time of Jesus through the events of the Holocaust. Examining major figure in the conflicts and friendships of these two religions, Troubled Rivalry will explore how the interaction of Catholicism and Judaism has taken many forms. What is the shape of their future? Readings, films, lectures and discussions; two research papers required, one at mid-term and one at end of term; letter grades. 

INAF 236 Holocaust Autobiography

This course will study representative autobiographical narratives, either in film, writing, music or art left to us by those who experienced the Holocaust. A diversity of roles – victim and family, bystander and perpetrator – will be studied, together with the many viewpoints they bring. Accounts by Jews, Christians, Nazis, men, women and children in every condition of life will be examined. Course meets once a week, with extensive reading assignments. Emphasis on class participation. Mid-term and final projects; self evaluation and letter grades.

INAF 166 Seven Popes and the Jews

Too often, Jewish-Catholic relations are studied only in terms of the crises that occur between these two faith communities. By contrast, this course will take a long-term view of the ways in which Jews and Catholics have interacted with each other, studying Jewish relations with the Church under seven papacies from Pius XI (1922-1939) through Francis (1936- ). Particular attention will be paid to the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust, the changes that followed in Catholic teaching and practice towards Jews, and the unique contributions of each pope to Catholic-Jewish relations since World War I. Course materials will include books, articles, films, lectures and discussions.