Bringing Faiths Together

April 15, 2010

Author: Colleen Walsh

Source: The Harvard Gazette

It is fondly referred to as God’s motel.

And the two-story building on Francis Avenue, with its apartment-style residences and idyllic courtyard, has long hosted religious scholars from near and far.

This year marks the golden anniversary of Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR), which through its diverse programming, faculty appointments, visiting scholars, and research initiatives has broadened and shaped Harvard’s work in religious and spiritual traditions.

Plans for the center were cemented with a gift to HDS from a group of anonymous donors in 1957, and the building was completed in 1960. The bequest was intended to “help Harvard University maintain graduate and undergraduate courses in the religions of the world, to train teachers in this field, to give ministers a sympathetic appreciation of other religions, and to stimulate undergraduate interest in the religions of the world.”

And since then it has done just that, expanding the vision of the Harvard Divinity School from a largely Christian seminary to one that has embraced and expanded the study and exploration of religions.