The Chautauqua Institution's Department of Religion observes Abrahamic week by focusing on the most iconic of sacred spaces -- considered by the three Abrahamic Faiths as the most holy of sacred places -- Jerusalem.
Invited from Jerusalem to participate in the conversation are members of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths who can impart both their understandings of how this penultimate sacred space came to be so regarded, as well as their visions of how it might be shared in peace.
Dr. Ori Z. Soltes
Ori Z. Soltes is Goldman Professorial Lecturer in Theology and Fine Arts at Georgetown University, and the former Director and Curator of the B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington, DC, where he curated over 80 exhibitions. He has taught and lectured in 23 other universities and museums throughout the country, on subjects ranging from the Arab-Israeli conflict to "The Body in Ancient Art." Both before and since his years as a museum director, he has guest-curated exhibitions across the United States and overseas that have focused on diverse aspects of both Western art throughout the ages and art beyond the West from across the world.
Professor Soltes was educated in Classics and Philosophy at Haverford College, in Classics at Princeton University and The Johns Hopkins University, and in Interdisciplinary Studies at Union University. He is the author of over 180 articles, exhibition catalogues, essays and books on a wide range of topics, and the writer, director, and narrator of over thirty documentary videos. His most recent books include Our Sacred Signs: How Christian, Jewish and Muslim Art Draw from the Same Source (Westview Press 2005), The Ashen Rainbow: Essays on the Arts and the Holocaust (Bartleby Press 2006), and Mysticism in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Searching for Oneness (Rowman and Littlefield 2008). Two current book projects include Untangling the Web: Why the Middle East is a Mess and Always Has Been and Famous Jewish Trials: From Jesus to Jonathan Pollard (both forthcoming, Bartleby Press, spring-summer, 2010).
Dr. Soltes has varying degrees of working knowledge in some two dozen languages, and has lectured or taught throughout the United States, in various parts of the former Soviet Union, in Israel, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and Austria. He has led study tours from Scandinavia to Ethiopia, covering a wide range of archaeological, art historical, theological, and literary topics from the Ancient to the Modern eras.