Dr. Harold Kasimow donates personal library in honor of Dr. John Merkle

September 27, 2017
Dr. Harold Kasimow | Dr. John C. Merkle

Dr. Harold Kasimow, currently professor emeritus and formerly the George A. Drake Professor of Religious Studies at Grinnell College (Iowa) kindly donated over 500 books from his personal library to the Jay Phillips Center in honor of Dr. John Merkle. These magnificent books fit perfectly the work of the center and will be put to good use by students, professors, and friends of the center.

Dr. Harold Kasimow, a prominent scholar of world religions, friend to the Jay Phillips Center, and speaker at the Center’s events in past, has been a leading contributor to interfaith understanding for more than four decades. At Grinnell College, he taught courses on Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and interfaith dialogue. His scholarly articles have been published in Belgium, China, England, India, Japan, Poland and the United States. His books include The Search Will Make You Free: A Jewish Dialogue with World Religions; Beside Still Waters: Jews, Christians, and the Way of the Buddha; and John Paul II and Interreligious Dialogue.

Dr. John C. Merkle is the director of the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning at Saint John's University. Dr. Merkle also served as the director of the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning at the University of St. Thomas from 2009-2017 when the two centers functioned as one joint entity between the two universities (in July of 2017, the center was split into two). Prior to serving as the director, he served as an associate director of the center for thirteen years. Dr. Merkle is also a professor in the department of theology at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, where he has been teaching since 1977.  He earned his Ph.D. in religious studies, specializing in philosophical theology, at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.  Deeply involved in Christian-Jewish dialogue for more than three decades, he has been chair of the Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish Relations, a national organization of Christian scholars engaged in the study of Judaism and of Christianity in relation to Judaism, and a co-editor of Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations, the electronic journal of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations.  A former resident scholar of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, he has given hundreds of public lectures, especially having to do with Jewish theology and with Christian faith in relation to Judaism, and he received the 1994 Temple Israel [Minneapolis] Interreligious Award.  He has written and edited four books, including Faith Transformed: Christian Encounters with Jews and Judaism (2003) and Approaching God: The Way of Abraham Joshua Heschel (2009), both published by Liturgical Press, and has contributed chapters to a number of other books.  He also has dozens of articles and reviews published in journals and encyclopedias in Europe, Latin America, and North America.