05/27/2006, 00.00
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Tokyo: Non believers among 2,000 participants in bible forum

The event, the first ever of its kind in the country, was organized by the Japan Bible Society. Experts on the bible came from across the world to attend.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/CW) – More than 2,000 people took part in a Bible Forum in Japan, that gathered leading biblical scholars from around the world in Tokyo at the beginning of May. The event was organized by the Japan Bible Society (JBS), to mark the recent setting up of its translations section. Twenty-nine internationally renowned experts on the Bible addressed the three-day meeting from 3 to 5 May at the New Otani Hotel. They came from Japan, Israel, Germany and the United States. For those who participated, the meeting was an "important time of deepening".  

The chairman of the forum, Jesuit Fr Chung Mo Koo, said this was the first time such an event was held in Japan: participants and speakers included people involved in diverse fields, like scripture, pastoral work, and spirituality.

"An unexpectedly large number of people, coming from different Churches, attended. And many non-Christian people who are interested in the Bible also came," said Fr Koo.

One of the speakers, Fr Adrian Schencker, a Dominican priest and professor Emeritus of Freiburg University, said he was surprised to see how well the Forum had been attended: "It is wonderful to see so many people together at this Forum. After being invited to the forum I was looking forward to meeting Japanese Christians and observing Church life and Biblical scholarship here."

One of the participants, Sr Yoshie Fujioka of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Nagasaki, who teaches at Junshin Catholic University in Nagasaki, said of the JBS forum, "Being able to listen to the foremost biblical scholars in the world brought home to me the great richness and depth of biblical expressions. I wish to convey this experience to my students. I am grateful to the Japan Bible Society for organizing this forum."

The JBS plans to publish the interventions at the Forum by July.

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