Chaim Hames

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Chaim Hames

Chaim (Harvey) J. Hames (Hebrew: חיים היימס; born 8 July 1966) is a professor of history at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU),[1] in Beer-Sheva, Israel, and the incumbent of the David Berg and Family Chair in European History. On August 1, 2018, he assumed office as Rector of BGU.[2] Hames' research focuses on medieval history, with a particular interest in inter-religious encounters, particularly between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. He also works on religious conversion, inter-religious polemics, mysticism, philosophy, apocalypticism, and magic.

Early life and education[edit]

Chaim Hames was born in England in 1966 and immigrated with his parents to Israel in 1978 when he was 12. He grew up in a Religious Orthodox-Zionist household in Petah-Tikva and attended Midrashiat Noam,[3] a Yeshiva High-School in Pardes Hanna.

Following three years of military service, Hames completed a B.A. in history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Hames received an M.Phil (Queens’ College) in 1992 and Ph.D (Sidney Sussex College) in Medieval History from the University of Cambridge in England in 1996  where his supervisor was Professor David Abulafia (Gonville and Caius College).


Hames joined the Department of History at BGU in October 1995.

In 2000, Hames spent six months as a fellow at the Center for Judaic Studies in Philadelphia. He is a Life Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge where he was on sabbatical in 2002-2003. In 2009, he spent a sabbatical year at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona where he worked with an ERC funded research group on medieval Hebrew translations of Latin texts.[4] Together with Alexander Fidora (PI), he was also part of the ERC Consolidation Grant working on the Latin Talmud.[5]

Hames served as Chair of the Department of History from 2011 to 2015. In 2013, he established the Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters as part of the I-CORE initiative.[6][7] He was Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences from 2016 to 2018. He became Rector of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on 1 August 2018.[1] He was elected a fellow of the Academy of Europe (Academia Europaea) in 2019[2].

Hames has published[8] over 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals and collected volumes, as well as a number of books: The Art of Conversion: Christianity and Kabbalah in the Thirteenth Century (Brill 2000),[9] a book about Ramon Llull (1232-1316), a Christian mystic, philosopher and missionary from the Balearic Islands who developed a method for converting Jews and Muslims utilizing Kabbalistic ideas; Like Angels on Jacob’s Ladder: Abraham Abulafia, the Franciscans and Joachimism (SUNY Press, 2007),[10] which describes the encounter between Jewish mystic Abulafia and Christian followers, particularly Franciscans, of the teachings of Joachim of Fiore; and Ha-Melacha ha-Ketzara: Ramon Llull's Ars brevis in Hebrew (Brepols 2012),[11] which presents a critical edition and translation into English of Ramon Llull’s Ars brevis which was translated into Hebrew in 15th century Italy and was considered by its Jewish readers as a book “small in quantity, but great in quality.

He was guest editor of two volumes of the Mediterranean Historical Review entitled Mediterranean Reflections: Studies in Honour of David Abulafia (2010-2011)[12] and of Jews, Muslims and Christians in and around the Medieval Crown of Aragon: Studies in Honour of Elena Lourie (Brill 2004).[13] Together with Alexander Fidora and Yossef Schwartz, he edited a volume entitled Latin into Hebrew: Vol. II: Texts in Contexts (Brill 2013)[14] and was the editor of The Brighter Side of Medieval Inter-Religious Encounters which appeared as a special number of the journal Medieval Encounters (2016).[15]

He has also written a book for general audiences in Hebrew dealing with Judaism in contemporary Israel entitled, I (do not) Believe: Judaism and Israel, Past, Present, Future (Tel Aviv: Ktav Publishing House 2011).[16]

Non-professional public and personal activities[edit]

In 2008, Hames joined Beer-Sheva Mayor Ruvik Danilovich's party and was a candidate for the City Council.[17] He served on the town’s Education Committee, and represented the mayor on the executive board of Bet Yatziv,[18] the Carasso Scientific Park and a member of the general assembly of the Beersheba Fund. In 2006, he founded Ohev, a non-profit organization that aimed to organize the purchase of the Hapoel Be'er Sheva soccer club by its fans (similar to the Barcelona model) before it was eventually purchased by Alona Barkat.[3] From 2012-2017, he was head of scout troop Nitzanei Ha-Negev in Beer-Sheva.[19] Haim took part in the 929 initiative[20] and has also composed a number of prayers,[21] one of which was used by ex-Knesset member, Ruth Calderon, in her famous maiden speech to the Knesset.[22]


  1. ^ "The Department of General History - Chaim (Harvey) Hames". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Prof. Chaim Hames elected Rector of BGU". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Midrashiat Noam - Haim's picture is the third picture, on the right side - in line 4" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Home | Latin Philosophy into Hebrew". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Home | The Latin Talmud". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  6. ^ "The Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  7. ^ "I-CORE - Israeli Centers Of Research Excellence". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Harvey (Chaim) Hames | Ben Gurion University of the Negev -". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  9. ^ Hames, Harvey (27 April 2000). The Art of Conversion: Christianity and Kabbalah in the Thirteenth Century. BRILL. ISBN 9789004117150.
  10. ^ Like Angels on Jacob's Ladder. Retrieved 1 March 2019. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)
  11. ^ "Ha-Melacha ha-Ketzara. A Hebrew Translation of Ramon Llull's Ars Brevis". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Mediterranean Historical Review: Vol 25, No 2". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  13. ^ Jews, Muslims and Christians In and Around the Crown of Aragon: Essays in Honour of Professor Elena Lourie. BRILL. 14 November 2003. ISBN 9789004129511.
  14. ^ Latin-into-Hebrew: Texts and Studies : Volume Two:Texts in Contexts. BRILL. 1 August 2013. ISBN 9789004252875.
  15. ^ "Volume 22 (2016): Issue 1-3 (May 2016): The Brighter Side of Medieval Inter-Religious Encounters". 23 May 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  16. ^ היימס־עזרא, חיים (2011). אני (לא) מאמין: ישראל והיהדות - עבר, הווה, עתיד (in Hebrew). כתב ווב. ISBN 9789657506097.
  17. ^ ארצי, ציפי. "אני (לא) מאמין: ישראל והיהדות - עבר, הווה עתיד". ציפי ארצי (in Hebrew). Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  18. ^ "חברת בית יציב ב.ש בע"מ - חברה לתועלת הציבור - דירקטוריון". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Head of the scout troop Nitzanei ha-Negev in Beer-Sheva".
  20. ^ "929 initiative". Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  21. ^ "• the Open Siddur Project". the Open Siddur Project. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  22. ^ "תפילה בכניסה לכנסת | Prayer for Entering the Knesset, by Dr. Chaim Hames-Ezra (2013) • the Open Siddur Project". the Open Siddur Project. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2019.

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