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Dr Karel van der Toorn (1956) has been appointed Professor of Religion and Society at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). In his teaching and research, he will focus on devising a programme entitled ‘Religious minorities and the rules of modern democracy'.

Dr Karel van der Toorn (1956) has been appointed Professor of Religion and Society at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). In his teaching and research, he will focus on devising a programme entitled ‘Religious minorities and the rules of modern democracy'. Van der Toorn resigned from his position as president of the Executive Board of the UvA and the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of Applied Sciences (HvA) on 4 July 2011.

Van der Toorn began his academic career as a religious studies scholar at the VU University Amsterdam, where he obtained his doctorate in 1985. He subsequently became Professor of Ancient Religions at the University of Utrecht and Leiden University, and director of the Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions. In 1998, Van der Toorn was appointed Professor of Religions of Antiquity and dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the UvA. From 2006 to 2011, he served as president of the Executive Board of the UvA and the HvA.

In 2007, Van der Toorn’s book Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible was published by Harvard University Press, in which he describes the position of professional writers in the oral culture of the early Middle East and their role in the creation of the Bible.