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

Published July 13, 2018

In today's world, religious violence has become unfortunately common. Nazareth College’s Hickey Center of Interfaith Studies and Dialogue (CISD) will host international scholars for the the Sacred Texts and Human Contexts Symposium where they will look at whether religion is actually the major cause of violence while examining the relationship between religion and other factors such as political, ethnic, racial, economic, or other social disparities and injustices.

The Sacred Texts and Human Contexts Symposium takes place from Sunday, July 29 - Tuesday, July 31, in the Nazareth College Otto A Shults Community Center, 4245 East Avenue, Rochester, NY, 14618.  

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.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Bruce Hoffman, professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, author of Inside Terrorism, will be speaking on "Understanding the Evolving Terrorism Threat Landscape." 7/29, 4:30PM

  • Professor Charles Kimball, Presidential Professor and Director of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma, will be speaking on “When Religion Becomes Lethal: The Explosive Mix of Politics and Religion.” 7/30, 6PM

  • Kathy Kelly, has traveled to war zones and lived alongside ordinary people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Bosnia and Nicaragua. She will be speaking on "Religion, Violence, and (De)legitimatization." 7/30, 2PM

  • Sheik Ghassan Manasra, an International Executive Director, Abrahamic Reunion Peacebuilder and scholar will be speaking on “The Abrahamic Reunions Multifaith Peacebuilding: Religion as a Force for Peace.” 7/31, 12:30PM

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  

For More Information

Media: Julie Long | Chief PR Officer | 585-389-2456 or

complete schedule of the conference

Nazareth College’s academic strengths cross an unusually broad spectrum of 60 majors, including education, health and human services, management, the fine arts, music, theater, math and science, foreign languages, and the liberal arts. The coeducational, religiously independent, classic campus in a charming suburb of Rochester, N.Y., challenges and supports 2,300 undergrads and 700 graduate students. Nazareth is recognized nationally for its Fulbright global student scholars and commitment to civic engagement. Rigorous programs, an uncommon arts and sciences core, experiential learning, career skills, and a global focus prepare graduates for not just one job, but for their life’s work.