University's Nonviolence Presentation to Focus on Israel and Palestine

9/6/10 ASHLAND, OH -- "The Israeli - Palestinian Conflict: A Struggle for a Homeland" will be the focus of a presentation by Dr. John Byron, associate professor of New Testament and Greek at the Ashland Theology Seminary.

The presentation will be held in the Ronk Lecture Hall in the Schar College of Education on Wed., Sept. 15, at 7:30 p.m. Dr. Byron's talk is sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence and is free and open to the public.

Dr. Byron will provide an historical framework for understanding the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The conflict is often presented as a struggle between competing ideologies and religions. While religion and ideology both play a significant part in this ongoing conflict, a more fundamental element is at work. Both hold aspirations for a homeland where they can live in peace. Israelis and Palestinians represent two groups who live in a land that has experienced some form of occupation for more than 2,000 years.

The talk focuses on the fact that this is a very complex situation that has evolved over the last 100 years rather than on the validity of each group's claim.

Byron, who has been at Ashland Theological Seminary for seven years, received his Ph.D. from the University of Durham. He is the author of "Slavery Metaphors in Early Judaism and Pauline Christianity" (2003), "Recent Research on Paul and Slavery" (2008), as well as a number of scholarly articles. His more recent work has focused on Jewish and Christian interpretations of the Cain and Abel story (Brill, 2011).

In addition to teaching and research, Byron is an active participant in the Tel-Gezer excavation project. His interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a result of his living and traveling in the region since 1995.

This is the first of three programs on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence at Ashland University and the Department of Religion.

The other programs include a new documentary film on nonviolent peacemakers in Israeli and Palestinian, "Little Town of Bethlehem," which will be shown Sept. 22 at 7 and 9 p.m. in the Ronk Lecture Hall in the Schar College of Education; and a speech by Dr. Elizabeth Phillips, visiting scholar in the Department of Religion at Ashland University, on the role of Christian Zionism in supporting and expanding settlements in the Occupied Territories on Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium.

The Ashland Center for Nonviolence is a group of citizens committed to exploring and promoting alternatives to violence in ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world. It does this through programming and training that foster discussion and consideration of issues, both historical and contemporary, related to nonviolence. It serves as a resource center for people exploring nonviolence. It links people to information about nonviolence and to activities exploring and promoting nonviolence.

Additional information about the center is available at any of its programs, at its website,<,> by calling 419-289-5313 and leaving a message, or by e-mail at<>.

Ashland University (<>) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.