Religion and Violence


National Press Club
529 14th Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia

Event Details

The prominent place of religion in today's geopolitics raises many questions: Does religion reduce violence or cause it? Are some religions more peaceful than others? How should we understand the role of religion in contemporary conflicts? In this lecture, David Nirenberg will focus on how the Qur'an, Torah, and New Testament have been read at different moments in history—including our own—in order to explore religion's place in the politics of conflict and community.

David Nirenberg is the Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought and dean of the Division of Social Sciences. His research focuses on the ways in which Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures interrelate. His book Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages received numerous honors, including the Premio del Rey Prize and the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize from the American Historical Association and the John Nicholas Brown Prize from the Medieval Academy of America. His 2013 bookAnti-Judaism: The Western Tradition was awarded the 2014 Phi Beta Kappa Society Ralph Waldo Emerson Award.

Purchase Nirenberg's new book, Neighboring Faiths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism in the Middle Ages and Today. A limited number of copies will be available for sale at the lecture.


$20/person for general admission
$10/person for recent graduates (College alumni of the past 10 years and graduate alumni of the past five years)
Two complimentary registrations for members of the Alumni Leadership, Chicago, Harper, and Phoenix Societies

Includes program and refreshments


Register Online

Deadline: 4/21/2015


6:00 PM-7:00 PM: Registration and reception

7:00 PM-8:30 PM: Presentation and discussion

Speaker Profiles

David Nirenberg (Speaker)

David Nirenberg is Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences and the Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought and currently the Roman Family Director of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society. He holds an academic appointment in the College and five academic appointments across the Social Sciences and Humanities Divisions: in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, Department of History, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Center for Jewish Studies.

A prolific scholar, he has focused his research on the ways in which Jewish, Christian and Islamic societies have interacted with and thought about each other. He is the author of a number of books, including Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages (1996), Judaism and Christian Art: Aesthetic Anxieties from the Catacombs to Colonialism (2011), Race and Blood in the Iberian World (2012) and Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition (2013). His latest book, Neighboring Faiths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism Medieval and Modern, will be released in September of 2014. Nirenberg is currently collaborating on a book exploring the relative claims of different forms of knowledge, in the hope of discovering new ways of understanding both the powers and the limits of the sciences and the humanities. He has written extensively on other subjects including love, set theory, poetry, painting and politics. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, serves on many editorial boards and advisory panels, and is a regular contributor to publications such as The Nation, The New Republic, and the London Review of Books.

Nirenberg earned his bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1986 and his doctorate in history from Princeton University in 1992. He joined the UChicago faculty in 2006. He previously served on the faculties of Rice University and Johns Hopkins University and has developed a significant international presence as a scholar. He has held visiting professorships at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas in Madrid and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and is an Associate of Germany's Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science.


Kelly Doody