Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies & Dialogue

Sacred Texts and Human Contexts

The first Sacred Texts and Human Contexts conference took place at Nazareth in 2013 and focused on sacred texts in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in uniting and dividing humanity. Selected papers from the conference were published in December of the following year. The second conference was held in Istanbul in May of 2014, centering around poverty and wealth in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Selected papers were published by Palgrave MacMillan in June of 2016. The 2016 conference was on nature and the environment in religions, and selected papers are currently being prepared for publication. It has been proposed that the 2017 conference be on women and gender relations in religions and the 2018 conference be about theology of violence and counter theologies in religions.

These conferences bring together  scholars not only from the United States and Canada but from around the globe to share their research on contemporary issues in religion and social sciences. We welcome you to join us.

Sacred Texts and Human Contexts: Women and Gender Relations in World Religions

When: July 30- August 1, 2017

Where: Nazareth College, Rochester, New York

This international symposium on women and gender relations will elaborate on how religions have viewed and interpreted their sacred texts throughout their histories with reference to women and gender relations. It will also reveal how experts in religious studies and social studies are reconsidering their religious and spiritual teachings about this very important topic.

Some of the issues that presenters will consider exploring are:

  • Sacred texts and religious rights and obligations, especially in leading worship services and holding key positions in religious hierarchy

  • Sacred texts and reproductive rights like birth control, abortion,  and access to health services

  • Sacred texts and equal opportunities like equal employment, equal pay, and social security irrespective of color and race  

  • Sacred texts and marriage including women’s consent to marriage, divorce, custody of children, and inheritance

  • Sacred texts and social relations like family dispute, conflict resolution, and other interrelated factors                       

  • Sacred texts and sexual orientation including issues around rights of the LGBTQ community

  • Sacred texts and constitutional rights like equal political and social opportunities

  • Sacred texts and equal educational opportunities at all levels

Please share with us your thoughts on these topics or other topics. We welcome your ideas.

More details will be posted after our upcoming Conference Committee meeting.

Conference Information

Sacred Texts book
Submitting Proposals
Foundational Questions
Conference Registration, Meals, and Housing
Tentative Conference Schedule
Sightseeing Visits and Attractions

Administration and Planning

Event Partners
Planning Committee
sacred texts conferece

Radio interview

How does faith guide our approach to climate change? Is environmentalism a religious value? Listen to WXXI public radio's half-hour interview with Thomas Donlin-Smith, professor of religious studies at Nazareth College; Nathan Kollar, co-founder of the Hickey Center; and others.


Why Rochester, New York

  • Rochester, NY is the seed of the Women’s Rights Movement.  It is the place where Susan B. Anthony lived and worked tirelessly for the Suffrage Movement.  It is where the Women’s Rights Convention of 1848 took place, and it is the home and the final resting place for Ms.  Anthony.  Her burial spot and her home are historic landmarks in the city of Rochester.  Her legacy as a reformer and advocate not only for Women’s Rights, but for the abolition of slavery, is part of the fabric of the historical city of Rochester.  Just as the 19th Amendment changed the landscape for Women’s Rights, so too has the election of the first female President of the United States.  To this end, it is only fitting that as the conference committee launches their third international gathering, Sacred Texts: Women and Gender in Religion, that it takes place in Rochester, NY.  This location will allow presenters and attendees to build on the work that Ms. Anthony started nearly two-hundred years ago.  Additionally, it will allow participants to visit the historic landmarks that define the Women’s Rights Movement
Download Sacred Text 2016 Poster