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Signs of Peace: The Interfaith Letters of Thomas Merton

Signs of Peace: The Interfaith Letters of Thomas Merton



Merton’s letters to interfaith friends illuminate the great challenge of dialogue and communion. During the last decade of his life, Thomas Merton corresponded with numerous people around the globe about world religions and the need for interfaith understanding. Initiating contact with figures like Zen scholar D.T. Suzuki, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Rabbi Abraham Heschel, he sought not only to expand his understanding of other faiths, but to find like-minded friends who might share his dream of a global community of the spirit. Such people, whom he called living “sacraments” or signs of peace, were those “able to unite in themselves and experience in their own lives all that is best and most true in the numerous spiritual traditions.”



Publication Date



Orbis Books


Maryknoll, N.Y.


Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Description, cover image, and reviews courtesy of Orbis Books.

Subject Areas

Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968 -- Correspondence; Religions -- Relations; Christianity and other religions

Author/Editor Bio

William D. Apel is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Linfield College. He holds a Ph.D. from Northwest University, an M.Div. from Garrett Theological Seminary, and a B.A. from Muskingum College.


“Thomas Merton’s ecumenical concerns are highlighted in this timely volume. It demonstrates convincingly Merton’s continual growth in ecumenical dialogue from his first encounters with Christians of various religious persuasions to Jewish, Islamic, and non-Christian traditions of the Far East.” - Brother Patrick Hart, Abbey of Gethsemani

“No current issue is more urgent than interfaith relations today, and no writer, past or present, has given us greater insight into effecting reconciliation among representatives of the world’s religions than Thomas Merton.” - E. Glenn Hinson, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond

Signs of Peace: The Interfaith Letters of Thomas Merton