Undergraduate Course: Muslim and Christian Perspectives on Jesus (THET10073)
|School||School of Divinity
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Jesus of Nazareth figures prominently in the scriptural, theological, and narrative understandings and religious practices of both the Christian and Islamic traditions. Both the New Testament and the Qur'an include extensive narratives about his birth, life, mission, teaching, and relationship to God. Muslims and Christians refer to Jesus as the Messiah, a prophet, a Word from God, and the son of Mary. And yet, Christians and Muslims also have had fundamental disagreements about Jesus that impact their theologies, ritual practices, and religious life. This comparative course offers a critical historical, scriptural, philosophical, and theological analysis of the importance of Jesus to both Islam and Christianity and how differing understandings of Jesus have fundamentally impacted Christian-Muslim Relations.
Jesus of Nazareth figures prominently in the scriptural, theological, and narrative understandings and religious practices of both the Christian and Islamic traditions. Both the New Testament and the Qur'an include extensive narratives about his birth, life, mission, teaching, and relationship to God. Muslims and Christians refer to Jesus as the Messiah, a prophet, a Word from God, and the son of Mary. And yet, Christians and Muslims also have had fundamental disagreements about Jesus that profoundly shape their theologies, scriptural interpretation, religious practices, and rituals. This comparative course offers a critical historical, scriptural, philosophical, and theological analysis of the importance of Jesus to both Islam and Christianity and how differing understandings of Jesus have fundamentally impacted Christian-Muslim Relations. Students will consider the relationship between the Qur'anic narratives of Jesus and Late Antiquite Christianity and Judaism, explore classical polemics, apologetics, and mystical depictions of Jesus in the Islamicate world, and critically evaluate contemporary proposals for understanding Jesus' role and legacy in Christian-Muslim Relations. Throughout the course students will engage in a dialogical and comparative study
The course is divided into three major sections. The first scrutinizes the Qur'anic and Hadith material on Jesus, locating these texts and traditions within both Late Antique Christianity and early Islamic history. The course will investigate the historical, social, and religious contexts in which early Islamic depictions and understandings of Jesus emerged, giving particular critical attention to various theories of around the Jewish and Christian resonances or influences on the Qur'an. Students will study questions of history, influence, and the differing function of the New Testament and Qur'an. The second section offers a close study of classical understanding of Jesus in Christian-Muslim Relations, focusing primarily on the Islamicate contexts from approximately 800-1400 common era. Themes to be considered may include prophetology, the unity of God and divinity of Christ, ritual practices of worship and veneration, the death of Jesus, the Mahdi, and mysticism. The final section examines modern understandings of Jesus, both from Christian and Muslim perspectives, that attempt to articulate the meaning and significance of Jesus in the context of contemporary Christian-Muslim debate. Throughout students will engage in a dialogical study that considers how understandings of Jesus impact Islamic and Christian ritual practices, scriptural readings, prophetology, theologies of God, political visions, and ethics.
Student Learning Experience
The course will be delivered in the form of eleven weekly two-hour sessions. The first half of each session will be devoted to a lecture, and the second half to a discussion-based seminar focused on in-depth analysis and discussion of the assigned readings. Students are expected to complete the assigned readings for each week and to come prepared to discuss the issues, questions, and perspectives raised in the readings. Students will be assessed on their in class presentations, research essay, and exam. By mid-way through the course, the instructor will meet with students to discuss their final research essay and offer comment on their outlines. Through their class participation and assignments, students will demonstrate their achievement of the learning outcomes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students are welcome.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22,
Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1,
Summative Assessment Hours 2,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Participation and presentation = 10%)
Each student will deliver a presentation of around 5-8 minutes with a view to initiating discussion during the seminar session. If numbers are higher than feasible for individual presentations, students will be assigned into small groups.
2000 word essay = 30%
Each student will submit an essay of 2000 words on a topic selected from a list of options.
24 hour take-home exam = 60%
||Students will have the opportunity to receive feedback on an essay plan in advance of the submission of the essay.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||9:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the Qur'anic depictions of Jesus and be able to assess the Qur'anic narratives relationship to both Late Antiquity and early Islamic history.
- Critically evaluate various Muslim and Christian apologetic and polemic strategies for inter-religious debate and dialogue about Jesus.
- Compare and Contrast Islamic and Christian Christologies and demonstrate an understanding of how context, history, and politics impact theologies and practices.
- Pursue and present independent interdisciplinary research in the field of Christian-Muslims Relations
- Engage in constructive and critical debate with peers.
Abu Qurrah, Theodore. Writings. Translated by John C. Lamoreaux (Provo: BYU University Press, 2006).
Accad, Martin. Sacred Misinterpretation: Reaching Across the Christian-Muslim Divide (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018).
Akyol, Mustafa. The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims (New York: St. Martin¿s Press, 2017).
Ayoub, Mahmoud. A Muslim View of Christianity (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2009).
Donner, Fred M. Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010).
Ebied, Rifaat and David Thomas (eds.). The Polemical Works of ¿Al¿ al-¿abar¿ (Leiden: Brill, 2016).
Ebied, Rifaat and David Thomas (eds). Muslim-Christian Polemic during the Crusades: The Letter from the People of Cyprus and Ibn Abi Talib al-Dimashqi¿s Response (Leiden: Brill, 2005).
Cragg, Kenneth. Jesus and the Muslim (Oxford: OneWorld, 1999).
Khalidi, Tarif. The Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001).
Khorchide, Mouhanad and Klaus Von Stosch. Der Andere Prophet: Jesus im Koran (Freiburg im Breisgau: Verlag Herder, 2018).
Lamptey, Jerusha. Divine Words, Female Voices: Muslima Explorations in Comparative Feminist Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.
Leirvik, Oddbjørn. Images of Jesus Christ in Islam (New York: Routledge, 2010).
Madigan, Daniel. ¿People of the Word: Reading John with a Muslim.¿ Review and Expositor 104 (2007): 81-95.
McAuliffe, Jane Dammen. Qur¿anic Christians: An Analysis of Classical and Modern Exegesis (Cambridge, 1991).
Michel, Thomas. A Muslim Theologian¿s Response to Christianity. Delman: Caravan Books, 1984.
Neuwirth, Angelika. The Qur¿an and Late Antiquity: A Shared Heritage (Oxford, 2019).
Newman, N.A. (ed.). The Early Christian-Muslim Dialogue: Translations with Commentary. Hatfield: Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, 1993.
al-Qara¿fi¿, Shiha¿b al-Di¿n. Al-ajwiba l-f¿khira ¿an al-as¿ila al-f¿jira f¿ l-radd ¿al¿ l-milla l-k¿fira. ed. B.Z. Awad, Cairo, 1987.
Reynolds, Gabriel Said. The Qur¿¿n and Its Biblical Subtexts (New York: Routledge, 2010).
Reynolds, Gabriel Said. A Muslim Theologian in the Sectarian Milieu:¿Abd al-Jabba¿r and the Critique of Christian Origins (Leiden: Brill, 2004).
Siddiqui, Mona. Christians, Muslims and Jesus (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013).
Ibn Taymiyya. al-Jawa¿b al-S¿ah¿ih¿ li-man baddala di¿n al-Masi¿h. Cairo: Mat¿ba ¿at al- Madani¿, 1961-1964.
Tieszen, Charles. Cross Veneration in the Medieval Islamic World: Christian Identity and Practice under Muslim Rule (London: I.B. Tauris, 2017).
Wood, Simon A. Christian Criticisms, Islamic Proofs: Rashid Rida¿s Modernist Defense of Islam (Oxford: OneWorld, 2008).
Zahniser, A.H. Mathias. The Mission and Death of Jesus in Islam and Christianity (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2008),
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||- Ability to engage in comparative historical analysis.
- Ability to interpret primary and secondary literature in an interdisciplinary context that draws on history, religious studies, philosophy, and theology.
- Ability to think historically, systematically, and comparatively.
- Ability to pursue and present independent research.
|Course organiser||Dr Joshua Ralston
Tel: (0131 6)50 8928
|Course secretary||Miss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227