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March 24-25th, 1993 - Symposium on the Divine Promises to the Patriarchs

Prof. Alexander Rofé giving his lecture on the rabbinical thought.


The symposium was held in Jerusalem, at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center on March 24-25th, 1993. It was intended to further a research and discussion on sources of faith and tradition in the three monotheistic religions. The common subject was: the promises made by God to Abraham, the father of all believers. Scholars of the three faiths were invited to pre-sent their points of view and partici-pate in a common discussion.
It was a meeting at an academic level although on very small and unpretentious scale. The first day was devoted to four lectures on the Old Testament, Rabbinical literature, the New Testament, and Islam, respectively. Since we were aware of the fact that other Catholic institutions in Jerusalem addressed the issue of the relationships of the three monotheistic religions on different levels such as ecumenical and pastoral, we invited their representatives to act as respondents in the second day of the symposium, which was devoted to the discussion. As is well understandable, the discussion could not remain on a strictly academic level.
The idea of organizing a symposium for the three religions arose out of several facts. First, the political and social situation of the day was very tense. Second, as a Franciscan academic center in Jerusalem we wished to contribute in our own way to create some kind of mutual understanding. Third, Rev. Enzo Cortese, as visiting professor at the SBF, gave two lectures on Biblical genealogies and on the divine promises for all the children of Abraham at the SBF in 1992. These lectures constituted the direct stimulus for the symposium.

Dr. Yassir al-Mallah speaks about the Divine Promises and Prophecies in Islamic Tradition.


Preamble: E. Cortese, Patriarchal Genealogies: Literary, Historical and Theologico-Political Criticism - E. Cortese, Promises and Blessings for Jews and Arabs in the Pentateuch.

Lectures: A. Rofé, Promise and Covenant: The Promises to the Patriarchs in Late Biblical Literature - A. Goshen-Gottstein. The Promise to the Patriarchs in Rabbinic Literature - R.J. Karris, Luke 13:10-17 and God’s Promises to Israel - Y. Al-Mallah, Divine Promises and Prophecies in Islamic Tradition.

Discussion: Respondents: J. Loza, E. Cortese T. Stransky, M. Gillbert, M. Lowe, H. Noujaim, R. Khoury, F. Bouwen.

Opening remarks by A. Niccacci, and F. Manns - Conclusion words by G. Nazzaro, Custos of the Holy Land.

Publication: A. Niccacci, ed., Divine Promises to the Fathers in the Three Monotheistic Religions. Proceedings of a Symposium held in Jerusalem, March 24-25th, 1993 (SBF Analecta 40). Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1995. 220 pp.


E. Cortese, Promises and Blessings for Jews and Arabs in the Pentateuch (pdf format: 184 Kb)

J. Loza's response to Rofé's lecture (pdf format: 72 Kb)

Fr. Robert J. Karris analises Luke 13:10-17 and God’s Promises to Israel.

 SBF main, Dialogue




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