Jun 18, 2024  
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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THRS 3420 - Introduction to Islam

5 credit hours
This course introduces students to Islam as a historical religion and a lived faith tradition. The course first situates the teachings of Muhammad within the broader confessional traditions of the late Antique Near East. To that end, the course will examine Muhammad’s exposure to and appropriation of Jewish and Christian teachings about monotheism, prophecy, and eschatology. Muhammad’s teaching was encapsulated in the Qur’an, which the course will study as both a historical document and a literary text. The course will examine how the Qur’an and Muhammad’s normative practice (sunna) fostered a political community that later developed into two empires, namely the Umayyads and the ‘Abbasids. The course will also survey early and medieval Islamic cultural and intellectual developments, particularly the formation of Islamic mysticism and the ‘Abbasid translation movement that incorporated ancient sciences, especially Greek philosophy, into the Arab and Persian knowledge base. Understanding the cultural context in which Muslim theology, law, and mysticism developed into distinct discourses will put students in a good position to assess the impact of modernity and European colonialism on these bodies of knowledge. The course will analyze multiple Muslim responses to modernity-from Sunni and Shi’i orthodoxy to progressive Islam-in order to understand seismic shifts of perspective and practice within modern Islam. The course concludes by examining how contemporary Muslims debate the following issues: the authority of scholarly tradition, gender roles, sexual liberation, and the use of violence. WR



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