I-CORE - Israeli Centers Of Research Excellence I-CORE - Israeli Centers Of Research Excellence I-CORE - Israeli Centers Of Research Excellence Israeli Centers Of Research Excellence

I-CORE Second Wave

Abrahamic Religions

Abrahamic Religions

Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters


Participating Researchers and Institutions:

The group selected to establish this I-CORE is a group under the scientific management of Prof. Harvey Hames of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, consisting of researchers from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Bar-Ilan University, the Hebrew University, the Open University and Haifa University.


Scientific Director:

  • Prof. Harvey Hames, General History, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


Administrator: Ms. Bat-El Gozlan


Scientific Management Members:

  • Prof. Harvey Hames, General History, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  • Dr. Ram Ben-Shalom, Jewish History, Hebrew University
  • Dr. Ephraim Shoham-Steiner, Jewish History, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  • Dr. Claude Stuczynski, General History, Bar-Ilan University


Additional I-CORE Members:

  • Dr. Nimrod Hurvitz, Middle Eastern Studies, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  • Prof. Daniel J. Lasker, Jewish Thought, Ben-Gurion University
  • Prof. Ora Limor, History, Philosophy and Judaic studies, the Open University
  • Prof. Yair Neuman, Education, Ben-Gurion University
  • Dr. Avraham-Rami Reiner, Jewish Thought, Ben-Gurion University


New Faculty:


  • Dr. Uriel Simonsohn, Haifa University, Returned from Leiden University 


  • Dr. Uri Shachar, Ben-Gurion University, Returned from University of Chicago


Research Focus:


Conversion from one religion to another is a significant moment, not only for the person converting, but also for the religious community abandoned and the one adopted. Historical materials contain records of thousands of inter-religious conversions (individual as well as mass conversions), which can shed light on religious, social, political and legal phenomena relevant for understanding how religious communities function, how they deal with questions of identity and how and why they erect boundaries. Conversion can also illuminate the internal politics and structures of a religious community, how they interact with those perceived as “others”, as well as the dynamics of minority-majority cultures living side by side. This I-CORE will provide an analytical framework for examining political, social, religious and legal issues, communal and religious boundaries, the transfer of knowledge, and the ability to compare the process of conversion over long periods of time and between different geographical settings. The questions raised will also shed light on the role of religion in the modern world as well as the interplay of belief systems and legal and social structures in an era of hybrid identities and multi-cultural societies.
The I-CORE works on the creation of a database which will attempt to record every known record of conversion from one religion to another. The data collected by members of the Center with the active cooperation of an international group of scholars will be digitalized and translated into English so that the database will be available for anyone interested. The accumulated data will provide the raw materials for further research which will allow scholars to compare and relate to a wide range of issues dealing with conversion over a large geographical area and time period and present new interpretative outcomes.


For the I-CORE's website, press here


For more information please contact: hirik@bgu.ac.il