David Bossman speaks at the 26th annual Evening of Roses Gala.
Professor David Bossman has retired this year after 34 years of service to the Seton Hall community.
Seton Hall has been a home for Bossman since he began his career as University Provost in 1985. Subsequently, he joined the University's graduate department of Jewish-Christian Studies, which was founded by Monsignor John Oesterreicher in 1974. While serving as a professor, Bossman developed a set of graduate courses to prepare elementary and secondary educators to implement the New Jersey State Mandate for Holocaust and genocide education in the school curricula, K-12. His own scholarly works focus on finding values across various religious traditions and discussing their application in the contemporary world.
Since inter-religious thinking has always been at the forefront of his teachings, Bossman also co-founded The Sister Rose Thering Fund (SRTF) to encourage interfaith dialogue and continue the vision of Sister Rose as an advocate for education to stem the tide of prejudice against Jews and promote inter-religious cooperation. Her outreach to the Jewish community "struck a familiar note" with him when he came to Seton Hall. In recognition of his service, Bossman was recently honored by his professional colleagues and friends at the 26th annual Evening of Roses Gala on June 4, 2019 and presented with the Sister Rose Thering Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bossman particularly feels passionate about the Fund's mission to craft and educate globally conscious teachers. Since 1993, the Sister Rose Thering Fund has awarded on average eighteen tuition scholarships each year for teachers in the Jewish-Christian Studies graduate program.
"The enormous number of students that these teachers have reached and continue to reach goes a long way toward achieving the vision of the Sister Rose Fund, a world free of religious prejudice, by educating school children in the values of diversity and cooperation as a means for building a more just and effective society for all," said Bossman.
Graduate students often interact with members of the laity and the clergy from other regions of the world like Africa and Asia to gain a broader global perspective. Bossman also hosts a roundtable discussion at the end of each semester to encourage his students to consider topics in religion that fragment local communities including racism, homophobia and misogyny.
David Bossman teaches his last class in Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall.
"Dr. Bossman has been the heart and soul of each class, and he has inspired us to see things through a humanitarian lens, above all," said Mary McGuire, a former student. "He has shed light on concepts that I have not previously considered, and I know that my exploration of the world has been influenced by his teaching."
As part of that same commitment to a cross-cultural understanding of religion, Bossman also serves as Editor in Chief of Biblical Theology Bulletin: A Journal of Bible and Culture, an international peer-reviewed, quarterly journal containing articles and reviews written by experts in biblical and theological studies. Under Bossman's editorship, the publication has seen tremendous growth. Over 8,000 libraries subscribe to the journal; it also annually provides 30,000 complete article downloads worldwide.
Although Bossman has retired as a professor, he will continue his ministerial work in inter-religious engagement. He plans to move to Charleston, South Carolina where he has served many years on the advisory board for the Charleston Interreligious Council and taught summer courses at the College of Charleston. He will continue as editor of Biblical Theology Bulletin.
"I leave Seton Hall with a renewed sense of purpose," reflected Bossman. "Passing the torch to engaged board members and new faculty will continue the work of Monsignor Oesterreicher and the educational focus of Sister Rose Thering. The best is yet to come."
Categories: Faith and Service