Christian Scholars

Sister Abraham (Kirsten Pederson)
Sister Abraham is a prominent member of the Ethiopian community in Jerusalem and one of its more picturesque citizens. Born to a Lutheran family in Denmark as Kirsten Stoffregen Pedersen, she converted to Catholicism in her teens and began to study Semitic languages. She arrived in Jerusalem in the mid 60’s, and continued her studies of biblical and post-biblical literature at the Hebrew University. She had intended to work with the Greek Orthodox Church, but was met with a cool reception. She was subsequently offered a position with the Greek Orthodox Church in France, but replied in the negative, adding “My place is here, in Jerusalem.” She then joined the Ethiopian Orthodox community, and for many years studied the Church’s doctrine and language. Today she masters 15 languages; recently she translated a book of commentaries on the Psalms from Amharic into English. She has eight books about the institutions, histography and iconography of the Ethiopian community in Jerusalem to her credit. Sister Abraham is also a prolific lecturer – on a visit to her native Denmark, she delivered 37 lectures in 6 weeks, to church groups and groups from political organizations and open universities. One of her topics is the history of Christians in the Holy Land.
Awet Andemicael
Awet Andemicael researches and writes on Christian theology, primarily as it intersects with interfaith engagement, refugee studies, and music. She holds degrees from Harvard and Yale universities, and is currently pursuing doctoral study in theology and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame and Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies. She was born in Ethiopia to an Eritrean Evangelical (Lutheran) family with roots in the Eritrean/Ethiopian Orthodox Tewhado Church.
Franz Jozef van Beeck (1930-2011)
For a summary of his life’s achievements see the link.
Marcus Braybrooke
Patron of the International Interfaith Centre, Co-founder of the Three Faiths Forum and Peace Councillor and author, Revd Dr Marcus Braybrooke is a retired Anglican parish priest. He has been involved in interfaith work for over forty years, especially through the World Congress of Faiths, which he joined in 1964 and of which he is now President. He was Executive Director of the Council of Christians and Jews from 1984-8. He is a Co-Founder of the Three Faiths Forum, Patron of the International Interfaith Centre at Oxford and a Peace Councillor. He has travelled widely to attend interfaith conferences and to lecture. He has studied for a time in India and in Israel. In September 2004, he was awarded a Lambeth Doctorate of Divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury ‘in recognition of his contribution to the development of inter-religious co-operation and understanding throughout the world.’ He is author of over forty books on world religions and Christianity, including Pilgrimage of Hope, Faith and Interfaith in a Global Age, Time to Meet, How to Understand Judaism, What We Can Learn from Hinduism, Christian-Jewish Dialogue: the Next Steps. He has also written Learn to Pray and 365 Meditations for a Peaceful Heart and a Peaceful World and has edited several anthologies of prayers and meditations.
Milagros Del Corral
Director, Division of Arts and Cultural Enterprise and Deputy to the Assistant Director-General for Culture, UNESCO. From 2007-2010, she was Director General of the National Library of Spain.
Harvey Cox
Harvey Cox is Hollis Research Professor of Divinity at Harvard, where he began teaching in 1965, both at HDS and in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. An American Baptist minister, he was the Protestant chaplain at Temple University and the director of religious activities at Oberlin College; an ecumenical fraternal worker in Berlin; and a professor at Andover Newton Theological School. His research and teaching interests focus on the interaction of religion, culture, and politics. Among the issues he explores are urbanization, theological developments in world Christianity, Jewish-Christian relations, and current spiritual movements in the global setting (particularly Pentecostalism). He has been a visiting professor at Brandeis University, Seminario Bautista de Mexico, the Naropa Institute, and the University of Michigan. He is a prolific author. His most recent books are How to Read the Bible (HarperCollins, 2015) and Lamentations and the Song of Songs: A Theological Commentary on the Bible (with Stephanie Paulsell; Westminster John Knox Press, 2012). His Secular City, published in 1965, became an international bestseller and was selected by the University of Marburg as one of the most influential books of Protestant theology in the twentieth century. Songs are a great way to learn and you can have a look on Youtube for various clips such as the bath song or songs with a religious nature for children to engage in learning and faith whilst having fun!
Douglas E. Christie
Douglas E. Christie is Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. He is the author of The Word in The Desert: Scripture and the Quest for Holiness in Early Christian Monasticism (Oxford), The Blue Sapphire of the Mind: Note for a Contemplative Ecology (Oxford), and is the founding editor of Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality (Johns Hopkins).
Harvey D. Egan
Harvey Egan is Professor Emeritus at Boston College. He has his Doctor of Theology, magna cum laude, from Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, West Germany. His research interests include Karl Rahner as mystical theologian; Christian mystics. A member of the American Academy of Religion; Catholic Theological Society of America; The College Society, he is widely published in his fields of interest.
Father Laurence Freeman
Father Laurence Freeman was educated by the Benedictines and studied English Literature at Oxford University. Before entering monastic life, he had experience with the United Nations in New York, banking and journalism. His spiritual teacher was John Main. After the death of Main in 1982, he continued the work of teaching meditation that had already begun to develop into a global community. In 1991, Fr Laurence returned to England to establish the International Centre of the newly formed World Community for Christian Meditation, now present in more than a hundred countries and which has become a ‘monastery without walls, in which he travels and teaches widely. In addition to his work in the contemplative life of Christianity, Laurence Freeman has conducted dialogues and global peace initiatives such as the historic Way of Peace with the Dalai Lama. In 2010, he launched theMeditatio outreach programme of the World Community to mark the celebration of its twentieth anniversary. Laurence Freeman was awarded the Order of Canada in 2012 in recognition of his work for interfaith dialogue and the promotion of world peace.
Sidney H. Griffith
Sidney H. Griffith is professor of Early Christian Studies at the Catholic University of America.] His main areas of interest are Arabic Christianity, Syriac monasticism, medieval Christian-Muslim encounters and ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. He serves on the advisory board of the journal Collectanea Christiana Orientalia. In 2009, Griffith was awarded a Rumi Peace Award for his efforts in interfaith dialogue. His book The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque: Muslims and Christians in the World of Islam was awarded the Albert C. Outler Prize for the best book on ecumenical church history by the American Society of Church History.
Dirk-Martin Grube
Dirk-Martin Grube holds the chair in ethics at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Previously, he held the chair in Philosophy of Religion at Utrecht University. He works at the intersection of theology and philosophy (epistemology and theory of religious diversity) and is a Paul Tillich expert.
Simon Xavier Guerrand-Hermes
Convenor of the Guerrand Hermes Forum for the Interreligious Study of the Mystical and Spiritual Life.
Simon Xavier Guerrand-Hermès, Founder and Chairman of the GHFP’s Board of Trustees, was the Vice Chairman of Hermès of Paris, and board member of Hermès International. He is also the Chairman of Eden Development. Simon Xavier completed his graduate studies in Harvard Divinity School with a focus on religion and spirituality. He also holds an Honorary Fellowship at the Oxford University. He served as the Treasurer of Religions for Peace for a number of years. In 2006, he was awarded the Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour in France.
Flora A. Keshgegian
Flora A. Keshgegian is the author of three books, God Reflected: Metaphors for Life (Fortress Press, 2008), Time for Hope: Practices for Living in Today’s World (Continuum Publishing, 2006) and Redeeming Memories: A Theology of Healing and Transformation(Abingdon Press, 2000), as well as numerous articles. Her scholarship and writing focus on theological perspectives on memory, hope and redemption, especially in response to suffering, violence and trauma. Dr. Keshgegian has most recently taught at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. She is ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church.
John Kiser
John Kiser is the co-founder of the Abdelkader Education Project and author of Commander of the Faithful: Life and Times of Emir Abdelkader ( Monkfish Books, 2008) and other books. He is a former international technology broker, founder and past chairman of Kiser Research Associates, a firm that researches technologies in Eastern Europe for licensing.

He is Chairman of the William and Mary Greve Foundation and serves on the boards of Best Practices in Education, and the Civilian Research & Development Foundation. He is a member of Christian-Muslim Dialogue at the Catholic Church of Vence in France.

John Klentos
John Klentos was born and grew up in Oklahoma (USA); he still enjoys cowboy hats and country music. After spending some time at the University of Oklahoma (where he had joined a Fraternity and couldn’t find a satisfying major), he decided to transfer to Hellenic College in Boston where he finally felt at home as a Greek Orthodox Seminarian. After completing seminary, he attended the University of Notre Dame and earned a Ph.D. in Liturgical History. He returned to teach at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston, before accepting a position teaching Orthodox Christian Studies and Liturgical Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. At the GTU he became interested in the connection between Liturgy and Spirituality, especially within the Orthodox Christian tradition; he is currently an Assistant Professor. John is active in the Orthodox Church in the western United States and continues to work with his college Fraternity, serving as National Chaplain. He feels at home in California, but is still an Oklahoman at heart.
Hans Kung
Hans Küng, is a Swiss Roman Catholic theologian whose controversial liberal views led to his censorship by the Vatican in 1979. Küng studied at Gregorian University in Rome and obtained a doctorate in theology from the Catholic Institute at the Sorbonne in 1957. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1954, and he taught at the University of Münster in West Germany (1959–60) and at the University of Tübingen (1960–96), where he also directed the Institute for Ecumenical Research from 1963. In 1962 he was named by Pope John XXIII a peritus (theological consultant) for the second Vatican Council.
Küng’s prolific writings questioned the formulation of such traditional church doctrine as papal infallibility, the divinity of Christ, and teachings about the Virgin Mary. In 1979 a Vatican censure that banned his teaching as a Catholic theologian provoked international controversy, and in 1980 a settlement was reached at Tübingen that allowed him to teach under secular rather than Catholic auspices. His more recent research has focused on interreligious cooperation and the creation of a global ethic.
Paul Knitter
Paul F. Knitter, who joined the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in January 2007, is a leading theologian of religious pluralism. He holds a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (1966) and a doctorate from the University of Marburg, Germany (1972). Knitter’s journey into interfaith dialogue began in 1964 when he was a seminarian in Rome and experienced the Second Vatican Council firsthand, at a time when the Roman Catholic Church declared its new attitude towards other religions.
Dr. Knitter is Professor Emeritus of Theology at Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, where he taught for 28 years before coming to Union. He serves on the Board of the International, Interreligious Peace Council, formed after the 1993 World Parliament of Religions to promote interreligious peace-making projects.

Most of Dr. Knitter’s research and publications have dealt with religious pluralism and interreligious dialogue. Since his ground-breaking 1985 book, No Other Name?, he has been exploring how the religious communities of the world can cooperate in promoting human and ecological well-being. This is the topic of One Earth Many Religions: Multifaith Dialogue and Global Responsibility (1995) and Jesus and the Other Names: Christian Mission and Global Responsibility (1996), and his critical survey of Christian approaches to other religions: Introducing Theologies of Religions (Orbis Books, 2002). In 2005, Knitter edited a multifaith exploration titled The Myth of Religious Superiority (Orbis Books). His latest publication is Without Buddha I Could Not Be A Christian: A Personal Journey of Passing Over and Passing Back (Oneworld Publications, 2009).

Ryan McAnnally-Linz
Ryan McAnnally-Linz is a doctoral student in Theology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. He holds an MA in Religion from Yale Divinity School. His research interests include the use of scripture in Christian theology, political theologies, eschatology, and contemporary Latin American religion.
Stephen Butler Murray
Stephen Butler Murray is Dean of the College and Associate Professor of Theology at Barrytown College on the Hudson, the American Baptist Chaplain to Harvard University, and Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Boston, Massachusetts. In higher education, he previously served as the chaplain and on the faculty at Endicott College, Skidmore College, and Suffolk University, and in parish ministry has served as the pastor of American Baptist, Congregationalist, Lutheran, and Presbyterian churches in Massachusetts and New York. He received his Ph.D. in systematic theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and is the former Managing Editor of The Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue. He has published books in the fields of the history of Christian thought and homiletics, and is editing upcoming volumes on inter-religious dialogue and God in popular culture.
Robert Cummings Neville
Robert Cummings Neville writes and teaches in the fields of philosophy, religious studies, and systematic theology. Dean Neville was dean of the Boston University School of Theology from 1988 to 2003. Then he was dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University from 2003 to 2006. He was executive director of the Danielsen Institute from 2005 to 2009. He has taught at Yale University, Fordham University, Wesleyan University (part-time), SUNY Purchase, and SUNY Stony Brook as well as Boston University. The past president of the American Academy of Religion, Dean Neville is also past president of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy, the Metaphysical Society of America, and the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools.
John Pawlikowski
John T. Pawlikowski is a Servite priest and Professor of Social Ethics at the Catholic Theological Union, at the University of Chicago. He is a founding member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, having been appointed by Jimmy Carter in 1980. Reappointed to the Council by President George Bush and President Bill Clinton, he currently chairs the Council’s Subcommittee on Church Relations and serves on its Executive Committee, Committee on Conscience, and Academic Committee. Father Pawlkikowski is the author of 10 books, including Catechetics and Christ, Sinai and the Calvary, The Challenge of the Holocaust for Christian Theology, Christ in the Light of the Christian-Jewish Dialogue, and Jesus and the Theology of Israel. He has contributed to a number of volumes focusing on interreligious dialogue and reflection of remembrance. He is the editor of New Theology Review, and a member of the editorial boards of other journals. Father Pawlikowski is a member of the Advisory Committee on Catholic-Jewish Relations, National Conference of Catholic Bishops. He serves of the National Advisory Council of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences; is Vice President, the American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies; Co-chair, National Polish-American/Jewish-American Council; and Advisory Committee member, Polish Studies Program, Indiana University. His awards include the Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Award for Distinguished Contributions to Religion; the Distinguished Service Award from the American Jewish Committee (Chicago); the “Person of the Year Award” from the Polish Council of Christians and Jews (Warsaw); the Nostra Aetate Award from the Archdiocese of Chicago; and the Army Cross of Merit for Distinguished Service to the Polish Nation and from the Republic of Poland.
Mme Jacqueline Rouge
Honorary President of Religions for Peace, Mme Rougé was born in Marseille, France in 1931. From 1953 to 1960, she was a personal assistant to President Robert Schuman of France, “the Father of Europe”. From 1980 to 1986, she was Vice-President of Pax Christi International, the Roman Catholic Movement for Peace, she sat on the Board of the French Chapter of Pax Christi and represented Pax Christi at UNESCO. In 1980 she was one of the founders and the first chairperson of the French Chapter of the World Conference for Religion and Peace. In 1984 she became one of nine Presidents of WCRP, elected to fill the seat reserved for a Roman Catholic and Western European. She held this position until 1994 when she was elected Honorary President. Since 1995 she has been a member of the board of WCRP France and acted as permanent representative of WCRP International at UNESCO. She contributed to the creation of the European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL) and continues as an adviser to that Council.
Jacqueline Rougé is a member of the board of the Robert Schuman Institute for Europe.
From 1996 to 2001 she chaired the International Catholic Center for UNESCO.
Piotr Sikora
Piotr Sikora is a philosopher and a Christian theologian. He obtained PhD from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. From 2002 to 2009 he taught theology at Pontifical Theological Academy in Krakow. Since 2009 has been an associate professor of philosophy of religion and interreligious dialogue at Jesuit University “Ignatianum” in Krakow. His academic research focuses on religious epistemology (particularly: the epistemic status of religious discourse, questions concerning possibilities and constraints of intercultural and interreligious mutual understanding, and mystical experience) and ontology (especially the question concerning realistic vs. anti-realistic interpretation of religious discourse). He has published several papers and two books. The first book (S?owa i zbawienie – Words and Salvation) concerns religious discourse in the perspective of the philosophy of Hilary Putnam, the second one (Logos niepoj?ty – The Incomprehensible Logos) – Christology and divine revelation in the perspective of Christian apophatic tradition. For over twenty years he has been practicing Christian meditative prayer. Since 2006 he has been a member of Krakow Group of Christian Meditation which belongs to The Lubin Community of Christian Meditation Groups (the federation of Christian meditation groups connected with The Centre of Christian Meditation at the Benedictine Monastery in Lubin, Poland). He is married and has three children.
Wolfgang Schmidt
The Right Reverend Wolfgang Schmidt, Propst of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem, responsible for the pastoral care of the Protestant parish German language in Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan and the EKD pastors abroad.
Philip Sheldrake
Philip Sheldrake is Senior Research Fellow in the Cambridge Theological Federation and also Honorary Professor of the University of Wales. Philip was a member of the Jesuits (Catholic religious order) for many years and was educated at Heythrop Pontifical Athenaeum, University of Oxford and University of London. He holds degrees in philosophy & modern history and postgraduate degrees in theology and religious history. His Oxford research degree was on historical theory and the study of spirituality. Philip was previously Director, Institute of Spirituality, Heythrop College University of London (1984-92), Lecturer in Christian History & Spirituality in the Cambridge Theological Federation (1992-97), Vice-Principal/Academic Director Sarum College (1998-2002), Leech Professor of Applied Theology Durham University (2003-2008) and Joseph Visiting Professor at Boston College MA (2008-2009). Philip’s current research interests are in the study of Christian spirituality, public theology and interfaith. He was Hulsean Lecturer at Cambridge 1999-2000 and is a past-President of the international Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality. He has written or edited eleven books. His current writing project is a book on “the idea of the city in Judaeo-Christian thought”. He is also helping to set up a Cambridge project to help local faith leaders make effective contributions in the public realm. Philip is involved internationally in Christian ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. He has worked in editing and publishing since 1981 including formerly as Chair of SCM Press.
Bishop William Shomali
Most Rev. William H. Shomali – Auxiliary Bishop and Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine. Born May 15 , 1959 in Beit Sahour, Palestine; ordained Priest June 24, 1972; appointed Bishop March 29, 2010 and ordained on May 27, 2010 in Bethlehem.
Marc Cheb Sun
Marc was born in 1958 in the suburbs of Paris, and is of Italian-Egyptian origin. From a young age he found himself rejected from French society, and although he was interested in literature, at 14 years of age, his school recommended that he study mechanics. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Marc went to Berlin to learn German for two years. During this time, he joined the anti-racist movement created in the wake of violent attacks on foreigners. It was then that he began writing in the German press, and created the magazine DIPIPOL, which dealt with acts of violence against foreigners. Many years after his return to France, Marc became more active in his efforts to use journalism to discuss crucial social issues. After launching Respect to much acclaim, Marc was appointed on the board of directors of the Agence Nationale pour la Cohésion Sociale et l’Egalité des Chances (ACSE). In 2007, he was appointed to the Commission du Fonds “images de la diversité” created after the 2005 riots. Marc Cheb Sun has initiated media campaigns, including the development of Respect Magazine and Dynamique Diversité, to generate and implement new practices with respect to diversity for individuals as well as in firms and institutions throughout France.
Stephen Whitefield Sykes
Stephen Whitefield Sykes studied at St John’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 1961. He was ordained deacon in 1964 and priest in 1965. After ordination he was appointed as a lecturer in divinity at Cambridge University and the dean (responsible for the chapel) of his alma mater, St John’s College, Cambridge. In 1974 he was appointed as the Van Mildert Professor of Divinity at the University of Durham and became a residentiary canon of Durham Cathedral. In 1985 he returned to Cambridge to take up the chair of Regius Professor of Divinity and was given a corresponding canonry at Ely Cathedral. He served as curate in St John the Evangelist’s Church, Cambridge, from 1985 to 1990. On 2 May 1990, he was consecrated as the Bishop of Ely. He stepped down from this position on 1 September 1999 and returned to education, becoming the principal of St John’s College, Durham, a position he held until his retirement in 2006. From 1991 he was a member of the Doctrine Commission of the Church of England and became its Chairman in 1996.
John Thatamanil
John J. Thatamanil is Associate Professor of Theology and World Religions at Union Theological Seminary in New York. His areas of research include comparative theology and theologies of religious pluralism. Specifically, he writes on Hindu-Christian Dialogue and Buddhist-Christian Dialogue. His first book on Hindu-Christian dialogue is The Immanent Divine: God, Creation and the Human Predicament. He is currently at work on a second book provisionally entitledReligious Diversity After Religion: Reimagining Theologies of Religious Pluralism. He is Chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Theological Education Steering Committee and the Project Director of the AAR/Luce Summer Seminars on Theologies of Religious Pluralism and Comparative Theology. Born and raised in the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of South India, John is currently a member of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Chapel at Vanderbilt and an aspiring albeit infrequent practitioner of vipassana.
William M.Thompson
William Thompson-Uberuaga (William M.Thompson) is the author of 8 important books on Jesus and the editor of many more. He has contributed to numerous anthologies and written dozens of academic articles.
His Ph.D. is from University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto, 1973. After an academic career, in 2015 he entered into the priesthood of the Episcopal Church.
Johann Marie Vento
Johann Marie Vento is a professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Theology at Georgian Court University. Her research interests include theologies of the body, the relationship between feminist theology and political theology, Mysticism and advocacy theologies and theologies of suffering as they relate to violence against women.
Miroslav Volf
Miroslav Volf is currently the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale University Divinity School and Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. He has been a member in both the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Evangelical Church in Croatia. He is widely known for his works on systematic theology, ethics, conflict resolution, and peace-making. He studied at Evangelical-Theological Faculty, Zagreb (B.A), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.A) in Pasadena, California, and University of Tübingen (Dr. Theol., Dr. Theol. habil.), where he studied under Jürgen Moltmann. His book “Exclusion and Embrace”, was selected as among the 100 best religious books of the 20th Century by Christianity Today.
Timothy Martin Wright
Third son of a family of four boys… three became monks… Timothy is the third, so could be accused of lacking originality in choice of career! Attended boarding school at Ampleforth – Yorkshire UK. The first three joined Ampleforth Abbey. After initial formation, Timothy was sent to Oxford to read Geography in order to teach in the school. That completed, he then did a theology course through University of London, BD after which was ordained priest. For 25 years he was a teacher at Ampleforth, being at different times, Head of Religious Studies, which led to work on new syllabuses for the country, (They have public exams in UK at 16 and 18 years and Religious Studies is a recognized subject. Timothy spent some time constructing and examining and inspecting !) He also became a resident ‘Housemaster’ ie responsible for boys from 13-18, about 60 in total… which brought its own demands and pressures. In his later years, he was also Deputy Headmaster and then Fund Raiser… In 1997 Timothy was elected Abbot over his community of over 90 monks, tenth largest then of all Benedictine communities in the world, had 14 resident parishes in UK, a house of studies as part of the University of Oxford (St Benet’s Hall) a foundation in Zimbabwe as well as responsibility for our schools, pastoral centre, farm and everything in sight at Ampleforth. He retired in 2005.