China has become a leader in the global arena, and for Israel, China may be a valuable ally. At the same time, among the Chinese there is a budding interest in Israeli R&D and the culture of the Jewish People. The Dangoor Program for Universal Monotheism at Bar Ilan University has been developing academic programs to strengthen these relations.
Asia is the sole area in the world where the dominant religions are not monotheistic. Hinduism in India, Buddhism in south-east Asia and a mix of Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, Shintuism and local traditions in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam are most prominent. Christianity and Islam came to Asia only in a relatively later period thereby their cultural and political influence is fairly secondary. In some areas of south East Asia Islam is dominant; however the prevalence of polytheism has a measurably different essence compared to doctrines which emerged in the Middle East.
This background serves as the basis for a variety of important questions, for instance: Are there unique characteristics to Monotheism in Asia? What is the influence of Monotheism on the general political structure and culture in that area of Asia today? Is there a unique model for “state-church” relations and inter-religious cooperation?
As part of our global impact, Asia will be the subject of our major focus.
One of the especially noteworthy workshops was the 2 day International Workshop on Religions in Korea. This workshop, held in the presence of the Korean Ambassador to Israel, commemorated 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and the State of Israel.
East & Southeast Asia
As part of the Dangoor Program's ongoing activities, we organize and host international conferences which are open to the public at large. One recent conference on Asian Religions was attended by more than 100 participants and featured two noted international scholars: Prof. Donald Baker of the University of British Columbia and Prof. Fenggang Yang of Purdue University.