The Journey of a Lifetime – New Book Shares the Journey of Dr. Leonard Swidler

We live in the era of dialogue, an era Leonard Swidler helped birth. This is his story: the son of a Jewish Ukrainian immigrant and an Irish Catholic, a boy who set out to become an intellectual and a saint. There Must Be YOU: Leonard Swidler’s Journey to Faith and Dialogue explores how and why, out of this aspiring Norbertine priest, there emerged Professor Swidler of today: a teacher, a reformer of the church, a preeminent feminist, and one of the fathers of interreligious dialogue with an international following, who argues passionately that Dialogue is a matter more than of peace-making but of living authentically human in a fundamentally dialogical universe. Born at the start of the Great Depression, he represents by his journey the very turmoil and growth of American modernity: our search for faith, our struggle with diversity, our fight for social justice.

Written by Len’s colleague and friend, this book weaves together the narrative of his life, conversations with him, and excursions into history; the past and the present; the depth of reflection about faith and reason, Antisemitism, feminism, the meaning of being a Christian—and a sparkle of humor. The book provides the opportunity to laugh with Len, consideration of his ideas on where history is taking humanity, having lived intimately through the moments in time that are only historical accounts to some, and stirring provocative thought about one’s own questions, faith journeys, and the dialogue of life.

 “This creative, well-written, and unique biography is a spiritual gift to our times, a teaching tool, and an introduction to one of the great thinkers of the day. It is Len Swidler’s biography, but it is also a cultural history of the era, and a call to all of us to revisit our religious-intellectual roots. There can be no greater or more necessary intellectual challenge than that in this mercurial time.” said Joan Chittister, a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, PA and prominent Catholic author and lecturer.

Dr. Leonard Swidler is Founder and President of the Dialogue Institute, as well as Founding Editor of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies. He is Professor of Catholic Thought and Interreligious Dialogue in the Religion Department of Temple University, where he has taught since 1966. At Temple, and as a visiting professor at universities around the world, Prof. Swidler has mentored generations of U.S. and international scholars in the work of interreligious dialogue.

Author River Adams grew up a classically trained pianist in Soviet Russia, came to America as a Jewish refugee, and became a Christian by way of conversion. She is an alumna of Harvard Divinity School and a former Assistant Professor of Catholic Studies at Rosemont College. She writes on biblical themes and on themes of peace and justice, and she runs a blog on faith and theology

‘There Must Be YOU: Leonard Swidler’s Journey to Faith and Dialogue’ is published by Wipf and Stock and can be purchased in either print or digital format at or To learn more visit or call 215-214-7520.