Prof. Chaim (Harvey) J. Hames, who has served as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev since 2016, has been elected Rector for the next four years. He will take up his new position on August 1, 2018, replacing Prof. Zvi HaCohen, whose term is ending.
Hames received his PhD in Medieval History from Cambridge University in 1996, and since then has been a lecturer in the Department of General History at BGU. From 2011-2015, he was the department chair.
In 2013, he set up the Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters as part of the I-CORE initiative (one of two Center's funded in the Humanities and the only Center based in BGU).
His research interests include Medieval and Renaissance Jewish, Christian and Muslim mysticism and philosophy, apocalypticism, inter-religious polemics, conversion, Bible and Talmud translations and issues dealing with religious conversion.
Among his publications: The Art of Conversion: Christianity and Kabbalah in the Thirteenth Century (Leiden 2000), Like Angels on Jacob's Ladder: Abraham Abulafia, the Franciscans and Joachimism, (State University of New York Press 2007) and Ha-Melacha ha-Ketzara: Ramon Llull's Ars brevis in Hebrew (Brepols 2012). He was guest editor of two volumes of the Mediterranean Historical Review entitled Mediterranean Reflections: Studies in Honour of David Abulafia (2010, 2011), as well as Jews, Muslims and Christians in and around the Medieval Crown of Aragon: Studies in Honour of Elena Lourie (Leiden 2004). Together with Alexander Fidora and Yossef Schwartz, he edited a volume entitled Latin into Hebrew: The Transfer of Philosophical, Scientific and Medical Lore from Christian to Jewish Cultures during the Middle Ages: History, Terminology, Methodology, (Leiden: Brill 2013) and was the editor of The Brighter Side of Medieval Inter-Religious Encounters which appeared as a special number of a leading international journal Medieval Encounters (22:1-3, 2016).
He has also written a book (in Hebrew) for a more general audience dealing with Judaism in contemporary Israel entitled I (do not) Believe: Judaism and Israel, Past, Present, Future, (Tel Aviv: Ktav Publishing House 2011).