Undergraduate Course: Jews and Muslims: Religions, Cultures, Histories (REST08022)
|School||School of Divinity
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course introduces students to two traditions which originated in the same geographical area and which share a range of concepts, but whose historical trajectories differ significantly. Students will engage with contemporary issues important to both Jews and Muslims through the study of Jewish and Islamic history, religion and cultures in various location across the globe. Various methods of study are introduced alongside in-depth engagement with key religious concepts and historical events.
The course provides an introduction to the study of Jews and Muslims from the beginning of the formation of what we today call Judaism and Islam, outlining historical developments and paying attention to contemporary diversity.
The weeks exploring Judaism address varieties of Jewish lived realities across the globe at different times. Here, the study of religion is introduced through a focus on case studies of Jewish culture and religion in specific contexts, paired with reflection on how to study these. Each case study gives rise to the consideration of methodological questions. Religious studies approaches will be presented alongside anthropological, historical, cultural and textual ways of interpreting the evidence gathered from the case studies.
These section on Islam provide an introduction to the religion of Islam from the moment of its inception through its evolution into the modern period. Through the study of the artefacts of Islamic civilization (including its scriptures, literature, art and philosophy) the course will expose students to the diversity of Islam across various historical and spatial contexts and the variety of ways in which individuals and societies expressed their understandings of Islam and their relationship to it.
The lectures are organised into three sections, one on Jews and Judaism, one on Islam and Muslims, and finally, one on inter-religious encounters. Proceeding from an engagement with early Jewish history and the formation of key texts, the course turns to a consideration of Jewish history. Via an engagement with developments of Jewish culture through case studies across the past two millennia, the focus of the lectures are Jewish experiences of and within modernity, the development of religious divisions, changing relationships of Jews to non-Jewish society and the place of Jews in society, and antisemitism. We conclude with major developments of the twentieth century, such as mass migration, genocide, and national self-determination in the State of Israel alongside life in diaspora.
The aim of the section on Islam will be to allow students to evaluate and assess the validity of claims (by Muslims and non-Muslims, experts and non-experts), about what 'Islam' has to say about politics, violence, human rights, freedom of expression, the rights of minorities, etc. by taking into account the normativity and diversity of Islam and by pointing to individuals, movements and intellectual currents within the Islamic tradition as exemplars of the same. Finally, by locating the study of Islam within the overall study of world history and the study of religion, students will be able to articulate the ways in which the study of Islam shapes their understanding of 'religion' and its relationship to other spheres of human activity.
The course concludes with a section on encounters of Jews and Muslims with Christianity and with each other, historically and today, in the region of origin of both religious traditions, and in different places across the globe.
Student learning experience information:
The course consists of a weekly suite of lectures and a tutorial. The three weekly lectures give students the opportunity to gain an initial overview of a wealth of material. Lectures will provide subject specific knowledge about the religious traditions and introduce students to the methods for studying Jewish, and Muslim religious lives and cultures. Participation in the weekly tutorial hour gives students the opportunity to debate the issues raised in lectures and apply relevant methods to carefully selected source texts and case studies. Students are expected to read specific texts for the tutorials and evidence their understanding in the tutorial assessments. In order to successfully complete the course, students are expected to engage with the materials presented in lectures by following up questions arising through the use of reference works and further reading as indicated on the course syllabus and beyond in the library. Learning outcomes are tested in researching and writing a course essay for which guidance will be given, and in a final exam.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 33,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11,
Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1,
Summative Assessment Hours 1,
Revision Session Hours 1,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Tutorial assessment (2 x 500 word mini essay) = 25%
2000 word essay = 25%
24 hour take-home exam = 50%
||Students will be invited to submit course essay plans for comments and discussion two weeks before the essay is due; this counts as the course's formative feedback/feed-forward event.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||9:00|
|Resit Exam Diet (August)||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Outline the main beliefs and practices of the religious traditions studied.
- Demonstrate an awareness of the historical development of the traditions, and their variations across different times and places.
- Make historical and contemporary connections between the traditions with sensitivity to time and place.
- Acquire competence in basic historiographical and philosophical methods in the study of religion.
- Show an understanding of the complex relationships of religion, culture, and language.
Satlow, Michael L. Creating Judaism: History, Tradition, Practice. Columbia University Press, 2006.
Scheindlin, Raymond P. A Short History of the Jewish People: From Legendary Times to Modern Statehood. Oxford University Press, 2000.
Efron, John M.; Weitzman, Steven,; Lehmann, Matthias B. Second edition. The Jews: A History. Pearson, 2014.
Solomon, Norman. Judaism: A Very Short Introduction. Second Edition. Oxford, 2014.
Leaman, Oliver. Judaism: An Introduction. I. B. Tauris, 2011.
Trepp, Leo. A History of the Jewish Experience. Behrman House, 2006.
Segal, Eliezer. Introducing Judaism. Routledge, 2008.
de Lange, Nicolas. An Introduction to Judaism. Cambridge, 2000.
Neusner, Jacob. The Way of Torah: An Introduction to Judaism. Seventh Edition. Wadsworth, 2004.
Fishbane, Michael. Judaism: Revelation and Traditions. HarperOne, 1987.
Mansoor, Menahem. Jewish History and Thought: An Introduction. KTAV, 1991.
Holtz, Barry. Back to the Sources. Simon & Schuster, 1986
Wright, Melanie. Studying Judaism: The Critical Issues. Bloomsbury, 2012.
Alexander, Philip S., ed. Textual Sources for the Study of Judaism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984.
Chazan, Robert, ed. Church, State, and Jew in the Middle Ages. West Orange, NJ: Behrman House, 1980.
Hallo, William W., David Ruderman, and Michael Stanislawski, eds. Heritage: Civilization and the Jews Source Reader. New York: Praeger, 1984.
Kecia Ali, Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur┐an, Hadith and Jurisprudence, (Oxford: Oneworld, 2006).
Daniel Brown, A New Introduction to Islam (Wiley Blackwell, 2018).
Jonathan Brown, Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction, (Oxford: OUP, 2011).
Frederick Denny, Introduction to Islam
Carl Ernst, Following Muhammad
Roxanne Euben, Enemy in the Mirror: Islamic Fundamentalism and the Limits of Modern Rationalism, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999).
Saba Mahmood, ┐Religious Reason and Secular Affect: An Incommensurable Divide?┐ in Talal Asad et al (eds.), Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury and Free Speech, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009).
Ingrid Mattson, The Story of the Quran, (Oxford: Blackwell, 2013),
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islamic Art and Spirituality, (Albany : State University of New York Press. 1987).
Ibn Rushd (Averroes), The Book of the Decisive Treatise Determining the Connection between the Law and Wisdom & Epistle Dedicatory (tr. Charles Butterworth) (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 2001
Michael Sells, Approaching the Qur┐┐n, (Ashland: White Cloud Press, 2007).
Amina Wadud, Qur┐an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred text from a Woman┐s Perspective, (Oxford: OUP, 1999)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||- Collect and synthesise evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources applicable to the study of religion;
- Evaluate and critique the work of scholars who have studied religions, both in the contemporary period and in the history of the discipline;
- Formulate questions emerging from the study of religions and structure an argument to express resolutions to the questions critically and analytically.
- Read and interpret a range of different sources for the study of religions within their historical, social and theoretical contexts and be able to differentiate primary from secondary sources.
- Formulate, investigate and discuss questions informed by Religious Studies methodologies (these include anthropology, cognitive studies, cultural history, ethnography, post-colonial studies and sociology);
- Engage and draw on an understanding of religious traditions and cultures to inform the approach taken when dealing with views different from one's own;
- Analyse and explain how cultural assumptions impact on the interpretation of religions;
- Express clearly ideas and arguments, both orally and in writing and in electronic media;
- Develop oral presentation and participation skills during seminars and group-work, and in written form through essays.
- Collaborate efficiently and productively with others in the process of learning and presenting conclusions - this includes those with a range of backgrounds and knowledge bases about religion, such as fellow-students, tutors and supervisors;
- Organise their own learning, manage workload and work to a timetable;
- Effectively plan, and possess the confidence to undertake and to present scholarly work that demonstrates an understanding of the aims, methods and theoretical considerations relevant to Religious Studies; and
- Work independently on the creation of essays using the standards current in the academic field of Religious Studies.
|Course organiser||Dr Hannah Holtschneider
Tel: (0131 6)50 8933
|Course secretary||Mr Jamie Smith
Tel: (0131 6)50 8913