Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies & Dialogue

Sacred Texts and Human Contexts

Learn from more than 60 scholars from around the globe at this symposium sponsored by Nazareth College's Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue in Rochester, NY, USA and Department of Religious Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY, USA:

Sacred Texts and Human Contexts: Nature and Environment in World Religions

When: May 23-25, 2016

Where: Nazareth College, Rochester, NY in Otto Shults Center

Sites Tour: May 25 (afternoon) and May 26, 2016

The industrial revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries, abuse of power and human greed, and continuing population explosion in many countries have all contributed to an environmental crisis that threatens the sustainability of life on planet earth as we know it. Our reliance on fossil fuels, our creation of immense quantities of waste products, and our destruction of natural resources to fuel our consumer economies have led to global warming, a reduction in biodiversity and a serious threat to long-term environmental sustainability. This environmental catastrophe challenges religious communities to respond out of the wisdom of their traditions.

Our international conference will elaborate how world religions have viewed and interpreted their sacred texts throughout their histories with reference to nature and the environment, and how people are reconsidering their religious and spiritual teachings about nature and the environment in light of the increasing threats to the environment.

We invite your proposals for individual papers or panels on issues relating to how religions have or should respond to the environmental crisis of the 21st century. 

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

  • As the Rochester area moves from one kind of manufacturing to another, and as the educational and agricultural sectors continue to thrive in Western New York, interest in environmental preservation and the development of sustainable practices has increased.
  • The rich traditions of care and reverence for the earth of the Haudenosaunee peoples continue to affect attitudes here.
  • After long public debate, the State of New York has chosen not to pursue hydraulic fracturing technology for resource extraction, at least until there is definitive proof that our rich water resources will not be threatened.
  • The depth and long duration of interfaith activity in the Rochester area, along with our concerns for the earth, provide many local resources that will enrich the conference deliberations.
Download Sacred Text 2016 Poster