$$News and Reports$$

Jun. 27, 2016

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President Prof. Rivka Carmi led a delegation of two researchers and Board of Governors and AABGU officials to the Vatican for high level meetings. 

Prof. Chaim Hames, incoming Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Director of the Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters, and Dr. Michal Bar-Asher Siegal, incumbent of the Rosen Family Career Development Chair in Judaic Studies, in the Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought accompanied Prof. Carmi.

Carmi, Hames and Bar-Asher Siegal met with two cardinals Cardinal Kurt Koch and Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran during their brief visit.
Koch is president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and in this capacity he is also the President of the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews.  They also met with Father Norbert Hofmann, secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. Tauran is president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Bar-Asher Siegal remarked: “The meetings were fascinating, we presented the research achievements of BGU in researching Christianity and we proposed to Cardinal Koch that he receive the Ladislaus Laszt Ecumenical and Social Concern Award in Beer-Sheva and invited him to visit the University.

“The main consensus of the meetings was the importance of education in order to create a future where members of different religions could live side by side in peace.”

“In the meetings with the Cardinals,” Hames added, “we also presented the work of the Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters as a basis for discussing political, social, religious and legal issues, communal and religious boundaries, the transfer of knowledge, and the ability to compare the process of conversion over long periods of time and between different geographical settings. Both Cardinals expressed interest in the work of the Center."

The Center’s flagship project is the creation of a database which will attempt to record every known record of conversion from one religion to another. The data collected by members of the Center with the active cooperation of an international group of scholars will be digitalized and translated into English so that the database will be available for anyone interested. The accumulated data will provide the raw materials for further research which will allow scholars to compare and relate to a wide range of issues dealing with conversion over a large geographical area and time period and present new interpretative outcomes.
The BGU delegation was graciously hosted throughout by Zion Evrony, Ambassador of Israel to the Holy See.

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