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Robert L. Cohn, the Philip and Muriel Berman Professor of Jewish Studies and head of the department of religion at Lafayette, has been named to the board of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC).

Cohn has been a member of the Lafayette faculty since 1987. In May 2000 he received the College’s Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Award for superior teaching and scholarly contribution to his discipline.

Among the courses he has taught are Judaism, Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), Jewish Responses to the Holocaust, The Art of Biblical Narrative, and Introduction to Religion.

Cohn’s areas of interest and expertise include biblical studies, the history and literature of Judaism, Jewish-Christian relations, and comparative religion.

He is author of 2 Kings, published in 2000 by Liturgical Press in the series Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry; “1 Samuel,” Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper and Row, 1988); and The Shape of Sacred Space: Four Biblical Studies (Scholars Press, 1981). He is coauthor of Exploring the Hebrew Bible (Prentice-Hall, 1988).

Cohn is coeditor of The Other in Jewish Thought and History: Constructions of Jewish Culture and Identity (New York University Press, 1994). He has also contributed to many scholarly journals and edited collections.

Jewish life in Poland is a special interest for Cohn. In 1993 he was the first American Jewish biblical scholar to teach in Roman Catholic seminaries in Poland in a pioneering program conducted by The American Jewish Committee and endorsed by Polish bishops in consultation with the Vatican to promote greater mutual understanding and respect between Catholics and Jews. For several weeks Cohn lectured on “Jewish Interpretations of the Hebrew Bible” at seminaries in Gneizno, Szczecin, Kielce, and Olsztyn.

He also lectured at German universities under the auspices the United States Information Service in cooperation with the American Jewish Committee and the U.S. Embassy in Germany.

Cohn holds master’s and doctoral degrees in religious studies and humanities from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in the history and literature of religions from Northwestern University.

The Pennsylvania Humanities Council, founded in 1973 and headquartered in Philadelphia, represents Pennsylvania in the federal-state partnership of the National Endowment for the Humanities. As a board member, Cohn will make decisions on PHC policies, review grant applications, and serve on the Program Committee.

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