History of the Academy

The Academy of Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies was established in the 1980s by the Reverend Dr. George Grose, a Presbyterian minister.  The Academy is based on his conviction that once Islam came onto the scene, the three Western religions continually interacted with each other.  Therefore, to promote dialogues between two of the three partners without the third is historically inaccurate and morally wrong.  Dr. Grose instead sought to create “trialogues” that could explore the commonalities as well as the differences among the three and promote an environment of understanding and respect for their adherents.  In addition, he saw a practical advantage in representatives of the three religions talking together – if any two of them have an issue with each other, the third may be able to resolve it.

Dr. Grose’s conviction became the basis for a course taught jointly by himself, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi and Rabbi David Gordis at CSU Fullerton, a series of trialogues at various houses of worship, and a book that they co-wrote, The Abraham Connection.  At the invitation of the Director of the Center for Religion at UCLA, the Academy moved to that institution in 1994, where Dr. Grose continued to teach the course with lectures by Dr. Siddiqi and Rabbi Dr. Elliot Dorff on Islam and Judaism, respectively, and with a trialogue at the end of each course on a given topic.  When Dr. Grose retired, Dr. Reinhard Krauss took over the course, maintaining the involvement of Dr. Siddiqi and Rabbi Dr. Dorff and continuing the tradition of the trialogue on a given subject involving representatives of the three religions at the end of each course.  In addition, the Academy has sponsored trialogues on specific subjects at several houses of worship and at Loyola Marymount University.  Lectures have also been given at the Vatican, World Council of Churches, major American universities, the University of Haran in Ur, the birthplace of Abraham, and in the cities of Cairo, Egypt, Jerusalem, Israel, and Istanbul, Turkey.