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November 12, 2001

Jewish/Christian Dialogue
 

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Conference Schedule is now on-line.

On Thursday, December 6, 2001, beginning at 10 a.m., Calvin College will host a free one-day conference on "Jews and Christians Reading the Bible." The conference is being co-sponsored by Calvin College, Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Valley State University, Hope College, Western Theological Seminary, and the West Shore Committee for Jewish/Christian Dialogue.

The keynote speaker will be Harvard professor James L. Kugel (above left), who will speak on the topic "Can Jews and Christians Ever Agree On What The Bible Means?" That will be at 10:30 a.m.

The conference location is the Calvin College Meeter Center Lecture Hall.

Events begin at 10 a.m. with coffee and on-site registration. At 10:30 a.m. there will be the keynote address. Lunch will be at noon ($10 fee for lunch with advance registration required). At 1:30 p.m. there will be a panel discussion and at 3:30 p.m. there will be parallel sessions.

Also, on December 6, 2001, at 7.30 p.m., Dr. Kugel will present a public lecture, hosted by Grand Valley State University, at the Eberhard Center in downtown Grand Rapids, on the topic "Adam and Eve: Whose Fault Was It?" Admission is free.

In addition to his work at Harvard, Kugel also teaches at Bar Ilan University in Israel and is the author of numerous books and articles on the history of Biblical interpretation, including a widely acclaimed study on the history of the interpretation of the Torah in Antiquity, The Bible as It Was. That book won the 2001 Grawemeyer Award in Religion, a $200,000 prize presented by the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the University of Louisville, that "recognizes outstanding and creative works that promote understanding of the relationship between human beings and the divine." He has worked extensively on the Dead Sea Scrolls and is currently helping to edit a new edition of them.

According to Kugel, "even before the Bible had attained its final form, its stories, songs, and prophecies had begun to be interpreted. It was this interpreted Bible that came to stand at the very center of Judaism and Christianity. Of course, Judaism and Christianity themselves differed on a great many questions. Nevertheless, both religions had begun with basically the same interpreted Bible." The theme of Biblical interpretation, therefore, seems particularly apt to explore both the possibilities and pitfalls in Jewish-Christian dialogue.

These events are the first of a series of conferences and public lectures presented by a newly formed consortium of West Michigan organizations including Calvin College, Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Valley State University, Hope College, Western Theological Seminary, and the West Shore Committee for Jewish/Christian Dialogue. The objective is to provide programming for West Michigan academics, students and the general public that leads to greater interfaith understanding and mutual acceptance, an extension of the mission of the West Shore Committee for Jewish/Christian Dialogue.

For more info or to register, contact Frans van Liere at fvliere@calvin.edu

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-957-6475 (v)
616-957-7069 (f)
dehp@calvin.edu