Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies & Dialogue

Sacred Texts and Human Contexts

Co-sponsored by Nazareth College Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies & Dialogue, Nazareth's Center for International Education, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges

These conferences bring together scholars from the United States, Canada, and around the globe to share research on contemporary issues in religion and social sciences. 

To register: See the Conference Information section below.

Sacred Texts and Human Contexts: Religions and the (De)Legitimization of Violence

When: July 29 - 31, 2018

Where: Otto A. Shults Community Center, Nazareth College, Rochester, New York, 4245 East Ave., Rochester, NY 14618

In today's world, it seems that religious violence has become unfortunately common. But is religion actually the major cause of violence? What is the relationship between religion and other factors such as political, ethnic, racial, economic, or other social disparities and injustices? 

This international symposium will elaborate on how religions have viewed and interpreted their sacred texts throughout their histories with reference to (de)legitimization of violence. The symposium is multidisciplinary and we encourage submissions from social scientists, historians, as well as scholars in theology and religious studies. We are particularly focused on the subject of religion, violence and peacemaking in its historical and contemporary contexts. As always in our conferences, we encourage presentations that are both scholarly and broadly accessible to general audiences. 

Some of the broader areas that presenters will explore are:

  • Religions, violence, and peacemaking (examining religious motivation in social violence)
  • Investigating the roots of different types of violence in their historical and religious contexts
  • Multidisciplinary interpretations of the causes of war and the role of religion among these causes
  • Patterns, examples, and methods of peacemaking and conflict resolution from religious and secular sources
  • Empirical, anthropological, or scientific approaches to religion and violence
  • Religious and non-religious approaches to pacifism, non-violent resistance, and peace-building 
  • Images of the divine and (de)legitimization of violence  


Conference Information

Conference Schedule
Conference Registration & Meals
Submitting Proposals
Foundational Questions

Administration and Planning

Event Partners
Planning Committee

Conference History

2013: Focused on the role of sacred texts, in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, in uniting and dividing humanity. Selected papers from the conference were published in December 2014: Sacred Texts & Human Contexts: A North American Response to A Common Word between Us and You

2014: Held in Istanbul. Focused on poverty and wealth in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Selected papers were published by Palgrave MacMillan in June 2016: Poverty and Wealth in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

2016: Focused on nature and the environment in religions. Selected papers were published in January 2018: Nature and the Environment in Contemporary Religious Contexts. A WXXI public radio half-hour interview with Thomas Donlin-Smith, professor of religious studies at Nazareth College; Nathan Kollar, Hickey Center co-founder; and others explored how faith influences the environment. Fall 2017 publication by Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Nature and Environment in Contemporary Religious Contexts.

2017: Focused on women and gender in religions. Selected papers will be sent to four publishers, two have sent their consent for publication and an agreement will be signed soon with one of them, under the title: Making Gender in the Intersection of the Human and the Divine.

2018: Sacred Text and Human Context international conference is on Religions and (De)Legitimization of Violence on July 29-31, 2018 at Nazareth College. More than 50 scholarly papers are expected to be presented on the topic.

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