The Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass. has given its first Goldziher Prize to Rabbi Professor Mark Cohen of Princeton University.  The prize was conferred during an interfaith ceremony at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts on October 6th.  The prize honors scholarship in Jewish-Muslim relations and is named for the 19th century Islamicist Ignac Goldziher, a Hungarian Jew who revered Islam and Muslim people and validated Islamic studies in the 19th century in the European university system.

Goldziher Prize 2010 - Mark Cohen

Joe Montville Awards Goldziher Prize 2010 to Mark R. Cohen

The Center is the first interfaith academic center to expand its mission from study of Jewish-Christian Relations to include Islam and therefore to focus on the study of all three Abrahamic religions.

The Goldziher Prize was made possible by a grant from The William and Mary Greve Foundation.  During the award dinner, John Kiser, principal of the foundation, said that through the Center, Merrimack College is beginning to promote the concept of a Jewish-Christian-Muslim tradition, a groundbreaking extension of the Jewish-Christian ethos.

In accepting the prize, Cohen said that Jews and Muslims have lost sight of the similarity of their faiths, which are intertwined, and that it is important to dispel the mutual ignorance and fear presently spreading across the globe.  He said that now more than ever before there  is a need for “basic human tolerance which unites all three religions, where a dialogue becomes a trialogue.”

Cohen is the The Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East, Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University.   Essays of his on the history of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations recently appeared in the Washington Post “On Faith” Blog and in the Huffington Post online. Professor Cohen is the author of Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages.

Also honored that evening were Goldziher Finalists Reuven Firestone, Professor of Medieval Jewish and Islamic Studies, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in Los Angeles, California; and Mohamed Hawary, Professor of Hebrew Studies and Jewish Thought at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt.
For more information on Mark Cohen and the Goldziher Prize, please visit the News & Events section of our website at www.merrimack.edu/JCM.