In 1979 Tulane established, through the efforts of Father Val McInnes, an endowed fund to support a Chair of Judeo-Christian Studies. As of 2000, thanks to a substantial donation, it became "The Catherine and Henry J. Gaisman Chair of Judeo-Christian Studies."
The Gaisman Chair oversees a series of lectures and seminars on themes related to the Judeo-Christian tradition, with a focus on important religious, moral, and philosophic issues.
The public lecture series has brought prominent scholars to campus since the first event, in 1980, and it is now one of the longest-standing series in the country. Programming was developed until 2011 by Father McInnes with the assistance of Professor Frank Birtel. (See links to their obituaries on our Memorial Lectures page.)
The public lectures, which take place in the Rogers Memorial Chapel, offer one of the rare events on campus that bring together faculty, students, and members of the community. There are currently six published volumes of the lectures, and two more that are or will be available online. Since 2011, the lectures have been videotaped and posted on YouTube. (See our Publications page for further information.)
Ronna Burger, who holds the Catherine and Henry J. Gaisman Chair of Judeo-Christian Studies, is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Director of the Religious Studies Minor. Professor Burger’s intellectual path has taken her from an early interest in the Bible and its interpretation to Greek philosophy and most recently to the question of the relation between them. This path is reflected in her scholarly pursuits and her teaching at Tulane, where she has found an intellectual home for over four decades. (Read more about Professor Burger's 2011 appointment.)