John C. Merkle, Ph.D., Director
John Merkle is professor in the Department of Theology at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University, where he has been teaching since 1977, and he has directed the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning since 2009. He earned his Ph.D. in religious studies at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium and has been deeply involved in interfaith dialogue for more than four decades. Dr. Merkle served as 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 as 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 authored and edited four books, including Approaching God: The Way of Abraham Joshua Heschel (2009) and Faith Transformed: Christian Encounters with Jews and Judaism (2003), contributed chapters to seven other books and, along with numerous book reviews and encyclopedia entries, published more than three dozen essays in journals such America, Christianity and Crisis, Christian-Jewish Relations, Conservative Judaism, Interreligious Insight, The Journal of Religion, Judaism: A Quarterly Journal, Louvain Studies, Midstream: A Monthly Jewish Review, Religious Education, Religious Studies Bulletin, and Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations.
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