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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Postgraduate Course: The Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations (THET11064)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides an introduction to the postgraduate study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations, exposing students to a number of key themes and debates in the field.
Course description Academic Description:
This course equips students with the analytical tools and conceptual frameworks to engage in the critical study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations. After reflecting on some key methodological issues - in particular the challenges of comparative analysis, including Orientalist influences - we will explore a number of categories, including scripture, theology, ritual, and politics. In each category, students will be exposed to (a) foundational knowledge and critical debates in the study of Islam and (b) how Christian-Muslim encounters (discourses/practices, dialogical/polemical engagements) have unfolded within each category. Throughout the course, we will accent the role of social context in shaping (and reshaping) both Islamic studies and Christian-Muslim relations.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
Five overarching themes will be explored, and both Islamic studies and Christian-Muslim relations will be engaged within each theme. While each bullet point does not necessarily represent a particular week / formal unit, over the duration of the course, all of these areas will be addressed.

On Methodology:
- The promises and perils of the comparative method
- Islamic Studies and the challenge of Orientalism
- Methodological approaches to Christian-Muslim relations

- Foundations: Introduction to the Qur'an, Hadith, and Islamic texts
- Qur'anic representations of Jesus and Christianity
- Muslim readings of the Bible / Christian readings of the Qur'an
- 'Traditional' approaches to Islamic texts and the impact of Biblical studies on modern Qur'anic hermeneutics

Theology and Philosophy:
- Foundations: classical debates about God's nature in Islamic theology
- Theological discourses on God's unity, christology, and prophetology
- Philosophy, translation, and exchange in Christian-Muslim relations

Authority, Ritual, and Gender:
- Foundations: Introduction to Muslim ritual and liturgy
- Case studies of syncretic, interreligious spaces of worship (eg: Christians and Muslims in Bethlehem, Palestine)
- Community and consensus in Islamic thought - classical and contemporary approaches
- Christian and Muslim debates on women, authority and leadership

Islam, Politics, and Christian-Muslim Relations:
- Foundations: 'Political Islam' or 'Muslim Politics'?
- Contemporary Islamism and its impact on Christian-Muslim relations
- Case studies of Christian-Muslim relations in modern contexts

A Note on Teaching Format:
The seminars will be in-person and all students are expected to have completed the weekly readings before the seminar. This preparation is essential because the seminars will be discussion-based, and students should be ready to engage the issues, questions, and perspectives raised in the readings. If any students need to self-isolate, the seminars will be streamed live (though not recorded). This digital option is only a last resort; unless they are sick or self-isolating, students must be present at the seminars.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  12
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( 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 171 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 20% - Participation

80% - Research Essay (4000 words)
Feedback Students will receive formative oral feedback, early in the semester, on their essay topics and the sources, questions, and debates that they intend to engage.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Acquire foundational knowledge about key Islamic texts, theological positions, rituals, and constructions of sacred authority.
  2. Understand some of the key hermeneutical issues that have shaped the study of Islam, particularly in Western contexts.
  3. Understand some of the key issues which have shaped Christian-Muslim discourse from the 8th/9th centuries to the modern period.
  4. Appreciate the impact and significance of context - political, social, gendered, and ideological - on Christian-Muslim relations.
  5. Develop oral and written skills in communicating complex ideas in clear but nuanced ways.
Reading List
Introductory Readings:
Bennett, Clinton. Understanding Christian-Muslim Relations, Continuum, 2008.

Eickelman, Dale F. and James Piscatori. Muslim Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.

Ernst, Carl W. and Richard C. Martin eds. Rethinking Islamic Studies: From Orientalism to Cosmopolitanism. Columbia, South Caroline: University of South Carolina Press, 2010.

Siddiqui, Mona ed. The Routledge Reader in Christian-Muslim Relations, 2012.

Martin, Richard C. ed. Approaches to Islam in Religious Studies. Tucson:
University of Arizona Press, 1985.

Further Readings:
Ahmad, Mumtaz, Zahid Bukhari, and Sulayman Nyang eds. Observing the Observer: The State of Islamic Studies in American Universities. Washington: The International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2012.

Ahmed, Shahab. What is Islam? The Importance of being Islamic. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016.

Asad, Talal. Geneaologies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

Berkey, Jonathan. The Transmission of Knowledge in Medieval Cairo: A Social History of Islamic Education. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992.

Brown, Daniel W. Rethinking Tradition in Modern Islamic Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Brown, Jonathan. Hadith: Muhammad's Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World. Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2009.

Goddard, Hugh. A History of Christian-Muslim Relations 2nd ed., Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020.

Guillaume, A. The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hallaq, Wael. The Impossible State: Islam, Politics, and Modernity's Moral Predicament. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.

Hodgson, Marshall. The Venture of Islam: Conscience and History in a World Civilization (3 vols). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974.

Hughes, Aaron. Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.

Leirvik, Oddbjørn. Images of Jesus Christ in Islam, 2nd ed., London: Continuum, 2010.

Lockman, Zachary. Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Mandaville, Peter. Islam and Politics (2nd ed.). London: Routledge, 2014.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein et al. The Study Qur'an: A New Translation and Commentary. New York: HarperOne, 2015.

Nasr, Sayyid Hossein. 'The Islamic View of Christianity', in Paul J. Griffiths (ed.), Christianity through non-Christian eyes, Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1990, 126-134.

Parrinder, Geoffrey. Jesus in the Qur'an, New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Pelikan, Jaroslav. Mary Through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.

Renard, John ed. Islamic Theological Themes: A Primary Source Reader. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014.

Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books, 1978.

Salomon, Noah. For the Love of the Prophet: An Ethnography of Sudan's Islamic State. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016.

Sells, Michael. Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations. Ashland, Oregon: White Cloud Press, 1999.

Siddiqui, Mona. Christians, Muslims, and Jesus. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.

Sirry, Mun'im. Scriptural Polemics: The Qur'an and Other Religions, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Taji-Farouki, Suha ed. Modern Muslim Intellectuals and the Qur'an. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Thiselton, Anthony. Hermeneutics: An Introduction. Grand Rapids, Michigan: W.B. Eerdamns Pub. Co., 2009.

Von Denffer, Ahmad. 'Ulum al-Qur'an: An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'an. Leicstershire, UK: The Islamic Foundation, 2007.

Wansbrough, John. Qur'anic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2004.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Curiosity for learning and openness to different debates and perspectives
- Willingness to think across disciplinary boundaries and to approach texts and traditions in new ways
- Finely-tuned skills of close reading and critical analysis
- Ability to communicate effectively with others, both orally and in writing
KeywordsIslam,Christian-Muslim Relations,Theology and Religious Studies,Hermeneutics
Course organiserDr Shadaab Rahemtulla
Tel: (0131 6)50 8954
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
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