In January, faculty member Dr. Marie Nuar returned from Rome to begin working at CDU full time as faculty chair, a role that combines teaching and administrative responsibilities. Dr. Nuar has spent over 11 years overseas, living in Rome for most of that time but also in Cairo and Old City Jerusalem.
She holds a doctorate in Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome, an MA in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University of Steubenville, an MA in Jewish Studies from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and an STL in Missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Dr. Nuar also has a license in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Rome and is proficient in Arabic.
“I am excited to be able to work on the organizing/planning side of things,” she says. Dr. Nuar will continue to teach several classes per year as well. “I really like the interaction and sharing what I have learned with students. To me, learning information without sharing it is like a lake that has an inflow but no outflow. It becomes stagnant and in the extreme, dead, like the Dead Sea.”
The first course Dr. Nuar taught for CDU was Introduction to Comparative Religions: Judaism and Islam. “The more I studied Judaism and Islam,” she says, “the more I realized how much details can make a large difference. For instance, all three religions would posit that the world and humans are created by a benevolent God, that there are objective standards that he puts forth for what is right and wrong, that human beings have freedom to follow these standards or not, but that they will be judged accordingly.”
“The difference lies in Christianity’s belief in the Incarnation,” she explains. “’The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57, 1-4.) She adds, “In many things, especially compared with non-believers, we would agree, but in this one thing, the incarnation and God’s closeness to and divinization of mankind, we differ. And that makes all the difference.”
During her time in Rome, Dr. Nuar taught World Religions and Moral Theology of the Marketplace as an adjunct professor of theology at St. John’s University, Rome campus, and served as an adjunct professor for The Catholic University of America’s Rome campus, teaching Christian Art and Architecture of Rome. She also enjoyed working as a guide for the excavations beneath St. Peter’s Basilica. “One thing that shocks many Americans is that the 1st century Necropolis was specifically filled in in order to build the first basilica,” Dr. Nuar says. “Another thing is that there are two basilicas, one built by Constantine in the 4th century and a second (the first was torn down) built over a period of 120 years, mostly in the 16th century. A third is that it is a mostly pagan Necropolis. There are very few Christians (that we know of) buried there besides Peter.”
In the Summer I term Dr. Nuar will teach Vatican II: The Church and Her Liturgy. In Summer II she will teach Church History II: Renaissance to Modern Church and Introduction to Comparative Religions: Judaism and Islam.