Conference at Calvin to Examine
Jewish/Christian Interpretation of Bible
Posted November 5, 2001
HOLLAND -- A conference at Calvin College in Grand
Rapids on Thursday, Dec. 6, that will examine Jewish and
Christian interpretation of the Bible is being sponsored by
several area organizations, including Hope College.
The conference, "Jews and Christians Reading the
Bible, 100-1500," will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in
Calvin's Meeter Center Lecture Hall, located at 3201 Burton
Street in Grand Rapids. Admission is free, although there
will be a $10 fee for lunch.
Following coffee and on-site registration
beginning at 10 a.m., the conference will feature the
keynote address "Can Jews and Christians Ever Agree on What
the Bible Means?" at 10:30 a.m. by Professor James L. Kugel
of Harvard University and Bar Ilan University in Israel.
Kugel is Starr Professor of Classical, Modern
Jewish and Hebrew Literature at Harvard University, and
professor of Bible at Bar Ilan University. He 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" (Harvard UP, 1997).
According to Kugel in "The Bible as It Was," "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."
Lunch will follow the keynote address. The
conference will continue with a panel discussion at 1:30
p.m. and parallel sessions beginning at 3:30 p.m.
In addition to participating in the conference,
Kugel will deliver a public lecture, "Adam and Eve: Whose
Fault Was It?," on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. The
lecture is hosted by Grand Valley State University and will
take place at the university's Eberhard Center, located at
401 West Fulton Street in downtown Grand Rapids. Admission
The December 6 activity is the first of a series
of conferences and public lectures presented by a newly
formed consortium of West Michigan organizations including
Calvin College, Calvin 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
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