News & Events

Msgr. John M. Oesterreicher's Book Collection Now Easier to Access Reorganization of Important Jewish Christian Studies Collection Announced
Seton Hall > News & Events 

OesterreicherIn conjunction with the celebrations of Vatican II (1962-1965), The Msgr. William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center at Seton Hall University announces the reorganization and broader availability of Msgr. John M. Oesterreicher's book collection.

The University Libraries' Archives and Special Collections Center houses the Msgr. John M. Oesterreicher papers and book collection, a premier collection in Jewish Christian Studies. Msgr. Oesterreicher's papers focus on his ecumenical interests, study and writing, but his books cover a wider range including his scholarly interests in Jewish-Christian relations as well as his travel, and recreational reading of various topics from English literature and poetry [Shakespeare] to Jewish-American fiction [Saul Bellow, Isaac Bashevis Singer] to escapist mysteries [Agatha Christie]. Some reference books and recreational volumes have been relocated into the Main Collection of the Walsh Library; his scholarly volumes remain in Special Collections. A finding aid of all volumes will be created on the Archives and Special Collections Center website, and while the collection can be searched in the catalogue of the Walsh Library, it is now fully interfiled in call number order. In other words, it is browse-able.

OesterreicherAs we honor the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, we celebrate the contribution of Msgr. John Oesterreicher to Vatican II, to Seton Hall University's Department of Judaeo-Christian Studies, and to the field of Jewish-Christian Studies in the legacy of his books and papers, preserved at the University Libraries' Archives and Special Collections Center. Born in Moravia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1904, John M. Oesterreicher converted to Catholicism from Judaism and became a priest in 1927. As Hitler's Nazism gained power, Oesterreicher spoke against anti-Semitism and anti-Christianism on French radio, and published his Racisme, Antisemitisme, Antichristianisme, which was attacked by the Nazis and republished once he had escaped to the United States in 1940.

Dedicating his life to fostering understanding among Christians and Jews following his escape, Father Oesterreicher established the Institute for Judaeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University in 1953, and the Graduate Department of Judaeo-Christians Studies in 1975. He was largely responsible for placing the relationship of the Church to the Jewish people on the Vatican II agenda, and he served as consultor to the Secretariat for Christian Unity during several sessions of the Council. Named an Honorary Prelate with the title of Msgr. in consideration of his continuing efforts in developing ecumenical understanding among Christians and Jews, Oesterreicher was influential among international scholars of Jewish-Christian Studies. His papers and books are an important resource for researchers.

For more information please contact:
Kate Dodds - Director, Special Collections
(973) 275-6448


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