Academic Programs 
      

Major Themes of the Bible and the Qur’an* (SC-634)
Fall 2009

This course will be conducted as a graduate seminar. It will engage the Scriptures of the three monotheistic traditions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) through carefully selected primary-text and secondary readings and active class discussions. Lectures will be given as the need arises, but greater emphasis will be placed on student participation and class presentations.

We shall study in depth the worldviews of the Hebrew Bible [Old Testament], the New Testament and the Qur’an. This will be done through an examination of common and divergent themes in the three Scriptures. More specifically, we shall approach the subject under the three rubrics of Revelation, Creation and Salvation. Within this framework, we shall pay special attention to such major themes as mercy and punishment, love and justice, redemption and atonement and sin and forgiveness. We shall examine the concept of covenant, and the theology of creation, salvation and eschatology. We shall also look at major figures common to the three traditions, such as Abraham and his family, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses. Finally, we shall investigate the sacred events of the three traditions, such as the Exodus, Good Friday and Easter and the Hijrah.

 

 

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 9:20 p.m., beginning Sept. 15

 

Mahmoud Ayoub   
Faculty Associate in Shi‘ite Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

Contact Information:
phone: 
(860) 570-6905
email: mayoub@hartsem.edu



 

Course Syllabus





Course DESCRIPTION

This course will be conducted as a graduate seminar. It will engage the Scriptures of the three monotheistic traditions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) through carefully selected primary-text and secondary readings and active class discussions. Lectures will be given as the need arises, but greater emphasis will be placed on student participation and class presentations.

We shall study in depth the worldviews of the Hebrew Bible [Old Testament], the New Testament and the Qur’an. This will be done through an examination of common and divergent themes in the three Scriptures. More specifically, we shall approach the subject under the three rubrics of Revelation, Creation and Salvation. Within this framework, we shall pay special attention to such major themes as mercy and punishment, love and justice, redemption and atonement and sin and forgiveness. We shall examine the concept of covenant, and the theology of creation, salvation and eschatology. We shall also look at major figures common to the three traditions, such as Abraham and his family, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses. Finally, we shall investigate the sacred events of the three traditions, such as the Exodus, Good Friday and Easter and the Hijrah.

Attendance Policy

Attendance and on-time arrival is expected at all class sessions. If you are unable to attend a class session please inform the instructor in advance so arrangements for make-up work can be made. Since attendance and participation constitute 10% of your grade, excessive tardiness or absence will lower your grade. Students who miss more than three classes will not be able to successfully pass the course.

Course Schedule and weekly readings

Students are expected to bring to class a translation of the Bible, as needed and an acceptable translation of the Qur’an. The Harper Collins Study Bible, New Revised Version (NRSV) of the Bible [paper] and Majid Fakhry’s translation of the Qur’an [also paper] are recommended, but other versions are also acceptable. Readings noted as “on-line” can be found on SONISWEB and are to be printed out and carefully read by the students.

Week 1 – Introducing the course and syllabus

Reading:

Week 2 – What is scripture? The Bible

Reading:

  1. Davis and Hays, “Nine Theses on the Interpretation of Scripture” in The Art of Reading Scripture, p. 1-5(on-line)
  2. Jenson, “Scripture’s Authority in the Church” in The Art of Reading Scripture, p.27-37(on-line)
  3. Bauckham, “Scripture as a Coherent Story” in The Art of Reading Scripture, p.38-53(on-line)
  4. Heschel, Ch. 39 “Understanding the Bible” in Between God and Man, p. 241-249(on-line)

Week 3 – What is scripture? The Qur’an

Reading:

  1. Ayoub, “Introduction” in The Qur'an and Its Interpreters p.7-40(on-line)
  2. Rahman, “Introduction” in Major Themes of the Qur’an p.xi-xvi
  3. Smith, Ch. 1 “Introduction: Presenting the Issues” in What is Scripture? p.1-20
    (on-l ine)

Week 4 – Intertextuality

Reading:

  1. Robins and Newby, “A Prolegomenon to the Relation of the Qur’an and the Bible” in Bible and Qur’an: Essays in Scriptural Intertextuality p.23-42(on-line)
  2. Reeves, “Some Explorations of the Intertwining of the Bible and Qur’an” in Bible and Qur’an: Essays in Scriptural Intertextuality p. 43-60(on-line)

Week 5 – Three rubrics: Creation

Reading:

  1. Gunton, Ch. 8 “The Doctrine of Creation” in The C.C. to Christian Doctrine p.141-157
  2. Burrell, Ch.7 “Creation” in The C.C. to Classical Islamic Theology p141-157

    Scripture:
    Genesis 1 & 2; Psalm 8; skim Job 38-40; Quran 2:29; 23:12-14; 41:10-12; 76:37-39

Week 6 – Three rubrics: Revelation

Reading:

  1. Heschel, Ch.11 “Revelation” in Between God and Man p. 72-79(on-line)
  2. Gillman, Ch. 1 “Revelation, what really happened?” in Sacred Fragments p.1-34
  3. Tanner, Ch. 13 “Jesus Christ” in The C.C. to Christian Doctrine p.245-272
  4. McGrath, (Revelation) Ch. 2.41 Barth and 2.42 Brunner in The Christian Theology Reader p.146-149 (on-line)

    Scripture:
    Exodus 19 – 20:1-21; 24:15-18; John 1:1-17

Week 7 – Three rubrics: Revelation

Reading:

  1. Michot, Ch. 9 “Revelation” in The C.C. to Classical Islamic Theology p. 180-195
  2. Rahman, Ch. 5 “Prophethood and Revelation” in Major Themes of the Qur’an p.80-105

    Scripture:
    Quran 2:97; 33:40; 42:52; 53:6-18; 56:77-80; 85:21-22; 96:1-5

Week 8 – Repentance

Reading

  1. Cox, Ch. 1 “Repentance and Forgiveness: Christian Perspective” in Repentance: A Comparative Perspective p. 21-30(on-line)
  2. Neusner, Ch.4 “Repentance in Judaism” in Repentance: A Comparative Perspective p.60-75(on-line)
  3. Ayoub, Ch. 6 “Repentance in the Islamic Tradition in Repentance: A Comparative Perspective p.96-121(on-line)

    Scripture:
    Leviticus 20:40-42; Deuteronomy 4:28-31; Psalm 34:14-18; Luke 13:1-5; Acts 2:38; 1 John 1:9; Qur’an 4:17-18; 4:48; 6:54; 7:156; 25:68-70; 39:53; 40:7; 46:15; 66:8

Week 9 –Three rubrics: Salvation

Reading:

  1. Hart, Ch. 10 “Redemption and Fall” in The C.C. to Christian Doctrine p. 189-206
  2. Fergusson, Ch 12 “Eschatology” in The C.C. to Christian Doctrine p. 226-244
  3. Gillman, Ch. 10 “The End of Days, what will be?” in Sacred Fragments p.247-272

    Scripture:
    1 Corinthians 15; Luke 22-25; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 21:1-8; 25:11-15

Week 10 – Three rubrics: Salvation

Reading

  1. Ayoub, Ch 8. “The Idea of Redemption in Christianity and Islam” in A Muslim View of Christianity p.90-97 (on-line)
  2. Hermansen, Ch. 15 “Eschatology” in The C.C. to Classical Islamic Theology p308-322
  3. Rahman, Ch. 6 “Eschatology” in Major Themes of the Qur’an p.106-120
  4. Ayoub, Ch 6. “At the Pool of al-Kawthar” in Redemptive Suffering in Islam p.197-229

    Scripture:
    Qur’an 2:30-39; 7:7-25; 20:115-123; 101

Week 11 – Major Figures in the three scriptures (Abraham)

Reading:

  1. Ayoub, “Abraham and his children: a Muslim perspective” in Heirs of Abraham : the future of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian relations (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2005) p 94-111 (on-line)
  2. Firestone, Reuven. “Merit, Mimesis, and Martyrdom : Aspects of Shi'ite Meta-historical Exegesis on Abraham's Sacrifice in Light of Jewish, Christian, and Sunni Muslim Tradition.” in Journal of the American Academy of Religion 66 no 1 Spr 1998, p 93-116.(on-line)
  3. Davis, “Vulnerability, the condition of Covenant” in The Art of Reading Scripture p.277-208

    Scripture:
    Abraham: Genesis 12:1-20; 15:1-18; 21:2-5,10-14; 22:1-19; Romans 4:1-3, 12-22; Galatians 3:6-18, 25-29; Hebrews 11:8-10,17-19; Qur’an 2:124-140; 3:67; 19:41-49

Week 12 – Major Figures in the three scriptures continued (Moses and Jonah)
Reading:

  1. Soulen, “The Sign of Jonah” in Theology Today 65 no 3 Oct 2008, p. 331-343 (on-line)
  2. TBD
  3. TBD

Scripture:
Moses: Exodus 2:1-10; 3-4:1-17; 11-12; Qur’an 2:49-61, 7:103-162; 10:75-93; 20:9-97: 79:14-25
Jonah: Jonah (skim the whole book); Qur’an 37:139-148

Week 13 – Completing class presentations and concluding the course

Course Requirements

All students are expected to read and discuss the weekly reading assignments including the scripture assignments. Every week students are expected to submit a one-page summary/reflection on the reading for that week. Each student will be responsible for leading at least one if not two of the class discussion on the weekly readings. In addition, every student will prepare a major term paper, 15-20 pages in length with proper footnotes or endnotes and bibliography. Students will share their research in brief class presentations scheduled for that purpose.

Grading

Grades will be computed as follows:

Class participation and discussion 25%
Class assignments 25%
Major term paper 50%.

Bibliography

Required Books

Gillman, Neil. Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew. (Philadelphia:
Jewish Publication Society, 1992)

Gunton, Colin E (ed). The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine. (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1997)

Rahman, Fazlur. Major Themes of the Qur’an. 2nd Edition (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 2009)

Winter, Tim (ed). The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology. (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Recommended

Ayoub, Mahmoud. Redemptive Suffering in Islam. (New York: Mouton, 1978)

Cragg, Kenneth. The privilege of man: A theme in Judaism, Islam and Christianity (Jordan
lectures in comparative religion. (London: Athlone, 1968)

Davis, Ellen and Hays, Richard (eds). The Art of Reading Scripture. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,
2003)

Graham, William. Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of
Religion.
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)

Izutsu, Toshihiko. God and Man in the Koran. (Salem: Ayer Company, 1987)

Samuelson, Norbert. Judaism and the Doctrine of Creation. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)

Commentaries (there numerous, here a just a few places to start)

The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries

Word Biblical Commentary Series

Ayoub, Mahmoud. The Qur’an and Its Interpreters. (volumes 1 and 2)

Helmet, Gatje The Qur'an and Its Exegesis: Selected Texts with Classical and Modern Muslim Interpretations

Tafsir.com

 

 

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