Dr Edward Kessler MBE
Fellow, St Edmund's College
Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge
Dr Edward Kessler, MBE is Founder Director of the Woolf Institute and a leading thinker in interfaith relations, primarily, Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations. In 2002 he was elected Fellow of St Edmund's College; in 2007 Dr Kessler was described by The Times Higher Education Supplement (London) as 'probably the most prolific interfaith figure in British academia' and in 2011 he was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II for services to interfaith relations. He has written or edited 12 books, including the standard undergraduate textbook entitled, An Introduction to Jewish-Christian Relations (Cambridge, 2010). His most recent books are Jews, Christians and Muslims (SCM, 2013) and Jesus (The History Press, 2016). He is about to start a new research project on Religious Fundamentalism (across five religions - Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism). Kessler regularly appears in the media commenting on interfaith affairs and was Vice-Chair of the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life (2013-15).
As a Principal of the Cambridge Theological Federation, and Affiliated Lecturer at the Faculty of Divinity, much of his academic work has been examining Scripture and exploring the significance for Jewish-Christian relations of sharing a sacred text. He has identified a common exegetical tradition, especially in the formative centuries. More recently his writings have focused on the encounter with Islam and contemporary relations between the three Abrahamic faiths. Kessler proposes approaches for managing difference, which he argues is vital in forming a positive identity as well as sustaining communities.
In 1998, he founded the Woolf Institute, which is devoted to the study of relations between religion and society, especially Jews, Christians and Muslims and recognised around the world for the excellence of its research, teaching and public education programmes. As well as teaching Cambridge University students, Kessler teaches students of the Cambridge Theological Federation and the Cambridge Muslim College. Internationally, he teaches a year 3 undergraduate level online course on the Muslim-Jewish encounter (jointly with the American University) and in 2011 he established an academic partnership with the Doha International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue, which has resulted in a number of joint educational programmes in Qatar and the UK.
A full list of his publications can be found below.
St Edmund's College
As well as being a member of the College Governing Body, Kessler is also a member of the following College Committees: Board of Discipline, Faraday, Von Hugel and Woolf Institute. He was member of Council from 2010-16 and has organised a number of high profile visits to the College including lectures by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Cardinal Kurt Koch, the former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks and Simon Schama as well as introducing a number of Visiting Fellows, Researchers and hosting conferences.
- Books and Edited Volumes
2016 Jesus, Stroud: The History Press
2013 Jews, Christians and Muslims, London: SCM
2010 Introduction to Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
2006 Challenges in Jewish-Christian Relations, eds., J. Aitken & E. Kessler, New York: Paulist Press
2006 What do Jews Believe? London and New York: Granta Publications
2005 A Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations, eds., E. Kessler & N. Wenborn, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
2004 A Reader of Liberal Judaism: Israel Abrahams, Claude Montefiore, Israel Mattuck and Lily Montagu, London: Vallentine Mitchell
2004 Aspects of Liberal Judaism: Essays in Honour of John D Rayner on the Occasion of his 80th Birthday, eds., E. Kessler and D.J. Goldberg, London: Vallentine Mitchell
2004 Bound by the Bible: Jews, Christians and the Sacrifice of Isaac, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
2004 Themes in Jewish-Christian Relations, eds., E. Kessler & M.J. Wright, Cambridge: Orchard Academic
2002 Jews and Christians in Conversation: Crossing Cultures and Generations, eds., E. Kessler, J.T. Pawlikowski & J. Banki, Cambridge: Orchard Academic
1989 An English Jew: The Life and Writings of Claude Montefiore, London: Vallentine Mitchell (2nd Edition, 2002)
- Selection of recent articles and book chapters
2019 "'Pray for Me': Pope Francis and Jewish-Christian Dialogue", Interreligious Responses to Pope Francis and the Dialogue of Religions, eds. A Race and H Kasimov, Palgrave (forthcoming)
2019 "Christianity, Jews and Judaism", Peace and Faith, eds. C Nelson and M Gizzi, Presbyterians for Peace (forthcoming)
2018 "Eine jüdische Stellungsnahme 50 Jahre nach Nostra Aetate: Reflexionen eines europäischen jüdischen Theologen" in Perspektiven christlich-jüdischer Erneuerung im sechsten Jahrzehnt nach Nostra aetate 4, ed., M Himmelbauer, Herder, pp. 99-115.
2018 "Theology and Ethics of Jewish-Christian Relations", Righting Relations After the Holocaust and Vatican II: Essays in honor of Fr. Dr. John T. M. Pawlikowski, New York: Paulist Press (forthcoming).
2017 "The Changing Religious Landscape: Implications for Civil Society and Foreign Affairs", Bulletin of the Royal Institute for interfaith Studies, Amman, The Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, volume 14, pp 19-32.
2017 "Jewish-Christian Relations", The Jewish Annotated New Testament (Second edition), Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler eds., Oxford: Oxford Univ Press, pp 763-67.
2016 "A Muslim and Jewish Perspective on Dialogue between Islam and Judaism" (with Akbar Ahmed), Handbook of Muslim-Jewish Relations, Routledge, edited by J Meri, pp 253-70.
2016, "And Finally…" The Expository Time,127: 312.
2015 "Reading the Bible after Auschwitz", Crucible: The Journal of Christian Social Ethics [Special edition: The Holocaust 70 Years On: Jewish and Christian Reflections], pp 34-45.
2013 "Judaism and the Religious Other", Understanding Interreligious Relations, eds., David Cheetham, Douglas Pratt, and David Thomas, OUP, pp 64-87.
2013 "'I am Joseph your brother': A Jewish Perspective on Christian-Jewish Relations since Nostra Aetate No. 4'' Theological Studies 74, No 1, pp 48-72. [Reprinted: 2015 50 Years On: Probing the Riches of Vatican II, ed., David G. Schultenover, Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, pp 207-233.]
2013 "Muslims and Jews in the West Today: Minority Transformations" Welcome to the Cavalcade: A Festschrift in Honour of Rabbi Professor Jonathan Magonet, pp 276-285.
2013 ''Social Media and the Movement of Ideas'' European Judaism 46, No 1, pp 25-36.
2012 "A Jewish response to Gavin D'Costa" Theological Studies: 73, No 3, pp 614-629.
2011 “Rethinking the Christian-Jewish Relationship: Some Reflections from a Jewish Theologian” Pastoral Review 7:4, pp 16-23.
2011 "Jewish-Muslim Dialogue in Light of Jewish-Christian Relations", Theology Vol 114, No 1, pp 23-31.
2011 "Mary the Jewish Mother", Irish Theological Quarterly Vol 76, pp 211-223. [Re-printed, Russian translation: 2014 in The Journal of St Andrew's Biblical Theological Institute 18:2, pp 235-249.]
2010 "Jewish Religious Tradition", A Guide to Religious Thought and Practices, ed., Santanu K. Patro, London: SPCK, pp 90-116.
2010 “Changing Landscapes: Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations Today”, Melilah, Vol 3, pp 1-23.
2010 "Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations in light of the Saudi Initiative for Dialogue", Interfaith Dialogue: Cross-cultural Views ed., Mohammed Al Bashir, Riyadh: Ghainaa Publications, pp 74-85.
2008 "Jewish Diaspora and the Spreading of Christianity", Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture, ed., A. Ehrlich, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC Clio, Vol 3, pp 126-131.
2006 "Judaism", Blackwell Companion to The Bible and Culture, ed., John F. A. Sawyer, Oxford: Blackwell, pp 119-134.
2005 "Bound by the Bible: Jews, Christians and the Binding of Isaac", Two Faiths, One Covenant? Jewish and Christian Identity in the Presence of the Other, eds., E.B. Korn and J.T. Pawlikowski, Lanham, MD: Sheed and Ward, pp 11-28.
2004 "Jewish Scholarly Studies of Jesus", "Jesus from a Jewish Perspective", articles in Jesus in History, Culture and Thought: An Encyclopedia, ed., L. Houlden, Oxford: ABC-Clio, pp 479-87.
2004 "A Jewish Approach to Dialogue with Christians and Muslims", Priests and People, Vol 18:1, pp 13-18.
2004 "Perceptions of the Other – Lessons from Jewish-Christian Dialogue", Racism and Human Rights, ed., R. Walden, Leiden: Martinus Nijhof, pp 85-100.
2003 "Jews, Christians and the New Antisemitism", The New Antisemitism?, eds., P. Ignawski and B. Kosmin, London: Profile Books/Institute for Jewish Policy Research, pp 213-222.
2003 "The Jewish People and its Holy Scripture in the Christian Bible", Scripture Bulletin, Vol 33:1, pp 29-45.
2003 "Jewish Scholarly Studies of Jesus", "Jesus from a Jewish Perspective", articles in Jesus in History, Culture and Thought: An Encyclopedia, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC Clio, ed., L. Holden.
- Major Public Lectures
2015 650th anniversary lecture and 50th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate: A Jewish Response to Nostra Aetate 50 years on: Reflections of a European Jewish Theologian (University of Vienna)
2014 Religion and International Relations: Towards a Post-interfaith Society (Brookings Institute, Washington, D.C.)
2013 The Abrahamic Religions: The Prospects for Their Inter-relations (University of Edinburgh)
2012 Changing Landscapes: Jews, Christians and Muslims in the UK Today (University of Derby)
2011 The Bible and Other Faiths (Ely Cathedral Kings James Bible Lectures)
2010 Faith and the City Lecture (University of Bradford)
2008 The Kennedy Lecture (Charlotte, North Carolina)
2005 The Bishop Grossteste Lecture (Lincoln Cathedral)
2004 The Martin Buber Lecture (University of East Anglia, Norwich)
2003 The Shapiro Lecture (Chicago)
2000 30th Cardinal Bea Memorial Lecture (London)
1998 1st Hugo Gryn Memorial Lecture (London)
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