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History and Mission
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The UW Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions opened in July, 2005, testimony to the vision and benefactions of Sheldon and Marianne Lubar of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Concerned about rising religious tensions worldwide and believing Jews, Christians and Muslims to be capable of prolonged and honest inquiry into both their common heritages and varying perspectives, they imagined a center that would advance mutual comprehension by mingling scholars with the general public, clergy with laity, and members of different faith communities with citizens of Wisconsin, the United States, and the world. Through encouraging people belonging to and/or interested in the Abrahamic traditions to engage each other and to find out more about both of these several traditions and their intersections, the Lubar Institute is dedicated to strengthening the values of religious pluralism so vital for sustaining American civil society and peaceful international discourse.

The Institute's mission emerges from the intimate yet often bitter connections that have existed historically among Jews, Christians, and Muslims:

  • iconThe Abrahamic traditions share common origins and values.
  • iconTheir histories and thought have been intertwined for some 1,300 years.
  • iconRelationships among their practitioners have varied from time and place but have often been characterized by mistrust and even hatred.
  • iconMuch current popular as well as scholarly thinking considers them unalterably opposed to each other.
  • iconScholarship has more often treated each tradition in isolation from each other rather than treating them in a comparative framework.
  • iconThe ongoing legacy of misunderstanding and mistrust militates against peaceful intercourse among Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

These considerations ground the Lubar Institute’s mission: to create better understanding of the Abrahamic traditions and their interrelationships by encouraging ongoing discussion of these traditions among scholars, members of those traditions, and the general public.

As a corollary, the Lubar Institute works to increase religious literacy and tolerance among all members of the UW–Madison campus.


The Institute is a unit of the College of Letters & Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Program support comes principally from the Sheldon and Marianne Lubar Fund administered by the University of Wisconsin Foundation.