John Merkle has been the director of the Jay Phillips Center since 2009 after serving as an associate director of the center for thirteen years. He 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.
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