Celebrating the Diversity of Tradition

Judaism Islam and Christianity: Encountering God and Each Other in Sacred Texts

There is something powerful about witnessing and participating in a traditional ceremony from a different culture or religion. You receive a sense of wonder and curiosity that lends itself to a desire for more knowledge and understanding. On Thursday, Nov. 17 St. Mary’s University held its latest speaker series: Judaism, Islam and Christianity: Encountering God and Each Other in Sacred Texts, where a powerful message of inclusivity helped generate understanding and appreciation for three religions that may at first seem different, but at the root are all very similar.


This interactive evening of sight, sound and perhaps most importantly conversation, was such a unique way to trace each traditions’ origins that are enshrined in their respective sacred texts.

“We are all bonded together by the covenant that God made with Abraham,” said St. Mary’s Professor of Religious Studies & Theology, Dr. Michael Duggan. “Jews, Christians and Muslims belong to the same family. We need to learn from one another and we do this by understanding our sacred texts.”

“As we listen to one another we gain greater insight into our own tradition but also we identify the connections we have with each other and in today’s world the dialogue between Judaism, Islam and Christianity is central to world peace.”


Attendees of the event were able to view handwritten scrolls of the Torah and Sefer Haftarah, where are central to Judaism; the intricacies of the calligraphy within the Qur’an, at the heart of Islam and the writing and illuminations contained with the Saint John’s Bible, which presents the divine Word to Christians.

St. Mary’s continues to be a place of encounter for peoples of all religious traditions and interfaith events such as this one are key to St. Mary’s identity according to Dr. Duggan.

“When we understand our identity, St. Mary’s has the vocation and the mandate to welcome people of all tradition and no tradition to have conversations about how we can build community and better society as a whole through our collaboration with each other.”