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Major Themes of the Bible and the Qur’ān*
This course will study in depth the worldviews of the Hebrew Bible, 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 study the three major themes of Revelation, Creation and Salvation. Within this framework, we shall pay special attention to such major themes as mercy, love and justice, atonement, sin and forgiveness, and the theology of creation, redemption and eschatology.
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., beginning January 24
Through comparative reading of the Hebrew, Christian, and Islamic scriptures, students will acquire a vision of how the Abrahamic religions treat some of the most seminal theological issues of their communities, such as monotheism, creation, the love of God, God’s acts in history, revelation, mysticism, prophecy, covenant, repentance and mercy, sin and punishment, forgiveness, redemption, atonement, final judgment and salvation.
While there will be occasional in-class presentations by the professor, students will be expected to read, reflect upon, and discuss written materials that have been composed by members of the three Abrahamic faiths in their own examination of the themes of their respective scriptures. One student will be the “point-person” for each unit; accordingly, during “your” week you may wish to take copious notes for each unit in order to assist in leading the discussion. Those sessions labeled as “led by the Professor” will include a short lecture on the topic at hand.
Required Books (on Reserve):
The Scriptures: Jewish Publication Society’s Tanakh, the New Revised Standard Version of The New Testament, and an English interpretation (Asad, Fakhry, Yusuf `Ali, Picktall, inter alia) of the Qur’an.
Be sure to bring to each class a Bible and a Qur’an.
Scriptural Commentaries (in Reference and/or online): JPS Commentaries on Hebrew scripture; New Interpreter’s Bible; various Tafsir as found at www.altafsir.com, The Qur’an and Its Interpreters (Ayoub), The Qur’an and Its Exegesis (Gatje), etc.
Non-scriptural materials (on Reserve):
Ayoub, Mahmoud. A Muslim View of Christianity.
Ayoub, Mahmoud. Redemptive Suffering in Islam.
Cantwell Smith, Wilfred. What is Scripture? A Comparative Approach.
Cragg, Kenneth. The Privilege of Man: a Theme in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
Davis and Hays, eds. The Art of Reading Scripture.
Ernst, Carl. How to Read the Qur’an.
Etzioni & Carney, eds. Repentence.
Firestone, Reuven. “Merit, Mimesis, and Martyrdom,” JAAR 66,1 (Spr 1998) 93-116.
Gillman, Neil. Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew.
Grose & Hubbard, eds. The Abraham Connection.
Gunton, Colin E. Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine.
Heschel, Abraham J. Between God and Man.
Hinze & Omar, eds. Heirs of Abraham.
Hubbard, Benjamin. The Abraham Connection.
Kaltner. Ishmael Instructs Abraham.
Kerr, David A. “He Walked in the Path of the Prophets,” in Haddad & Haddad, Christian Muslim Encounters.
McGrath, Alister E., ed. The Christian Theology Reader.
Reeves. Bible and Qur’an.
Rahman, Fazlur. Major Themes of the Qur’an.
Soulen, R. Kendall. “The Sign of Jonah,” Theology Today 65 (2008) 331-343.
Bin Talal, Ghazi. Love in the Holy Quran.
ter Borg, Marlies. Sharing Mary: Bible and Qur’an Side by Side.
Volf, Miroslav. “God is Love” in Christian Century (Nov 2 2010) 29-34.
Winter, Tim, ed. Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology.
There is a written assignment consisting of a term paper, 16-20 pages in length, on a topic chosen in consultation with the professor. This paper, which is due May 4, can be used as the basis of each student’s formal presentation in class at the end of the term.
Timely attendance at all classes is required. Absence over nine classroom hours or more may result in a Failing grade. There is no mid-term and no final exam. The final grade for the term will be weighted as follows:
|Attendance / Participation||25%|
|Final Student Presentation||25%|
* * *
While every attempt will be made to adhere to the following schedule, adjustments may have to be made during the course of the term.
WEEK I - 1/24 – 1/26: Reading Scripture (led by the Professor)
Cantwell Smith: 1-20, 65-91
Davis & Hays: 1-5, 27-37, 38-53
WEEK II - 1/31 – 2/2: What is Scripture; Intertextuality
Ayoub (Qur’an / Interpreters): 7-40
Ernst: 1-15, 20-58, 62-75
Reeves: 23-42, 43-60
Exodus 24:3-7; II Timothy 3:13-17, II Peter 1:19-21; Qur’an 6:55-59, 27:1-6
WEEK III - 2/7 – 2/9: Monotheism
Deuteronomy 6:4, Romans 3:29-30, I Corinthians 8:5-6, Qur’an 2:133, 163; 112:1-4
WEEK IV - 2/14 – 2/16: Creation
Ter Borg: 59-82
Genesis 1, Genesis 2, Psalm 8, Proverbs 8:22-31; John 1:1-5; Qur’an 2:29, 2:116-117, 23:12-13, 41:10-12, 76:37-39, 20:115-123
WEEK V - 2/21 – 2/23: Revelation, God’s Acts in History
Exodus 19-20:1-21, 24:15-18; Qur’an 6:91-93
WEEK VI - 2/28 – 3/1: Mediation between God and Humanity (led by the Professor)
Zechariah 1:7- 20, John 3:13-21, I Timothy 2:3-6, Qur’an 4:64, 33:40
WEEK VII - 3/6 – 3/8: Prophecy and Prophethood
Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 18:15-22; John 4:5-19; Qur’an 4:163, 10:47, 57:25-26
WEEK VIII - 3/13 – 3/15: Ethics
Heschel: 79-87, 181-186
Amos 5:11-24; Matthew 5:21-48; Qur’an 23:1-11
WEEK IX - 3/20 – 3/22: Sin, Punishment
McGrath: 404-406, 411-419
Ter Borg: 231-237, 279-289
Leviticus 20:1-21; Romans 5:12-21, 6:20-23; Qur’an 7:8-25
WEEK X - 3/27 – 3/29: Repentance, Mercy, Forgiveness
Etzioni & Carney 21-30, 60-75, 96-121
Deuteronomy 4:29-31, Psalm 34:14-18; Luke 13:1-5, Acts 2:38, 1 John 1:9, Hebrews 10:17-18; Qur’an 2:286, 3:135-136, 147, 159, 193; 4:17-18; 5:9; 24:22; 25:68-70; 33:35; 53:32
4/3 – 4/5: No Classes at Hartford Seminary
WEEK XI - 4/10 – 4/12: Love of God for Humanity
bin Talal: 37-53
Zephaniah 3:16-17; John 3:16-17, Romans 8:35-39, I John 4:7-21
WEEK XII - 4/17 – 4/19: Worship, Prayer
Psalm 100, Psalm 150; Matthew 6:7-15, John 4:20-24; Qur’an 1:1-7
WEEK XIII - 4/24 – 4/26: Final Judgment
Ter Borg: 213-228
Psalm 96, Joel 3:9-16; Matthew 25:31-46, Revelation 20; Qur’an 2:30-39, 39:75, 101:1-11
WEEK XIV - 5/1 – 5/3: Atonement and Salvation
Ayoub (Muslim View): 90-97
Gunton: 189-206, 226-244
Ter Borg: 239-246
Exodus 14:13-14, Psalm 21, Psalm 27, Micah 4:1-4; I Corinthians 15, Revelation 21:1-4, 22:1-5; Qur’an 7:7-25
WEEK XV - 5/8 – 5/10: Student Presentations
Topics may be selected from the following; however, other topics may be chosen with the approval of the Professor:
Conflict (spiritual and worldly)
Gratitude / Belief and Disbelief
Vice-regency (khilafa) / Stewardship
Yusuf (great grandson of Ibrahim / Abraham)
Moses / Musa
Job / Ayyub
David / Dawud
Solomon / Suleiman
John the Baptist / Yahya
Jesus / `Isa
Required Books (on Reserve):
The Scriptures:Jewish Publication Society's Tanakh, the New Revised Standard Version of The New Testament, and an English interpretation (Asad, Fakhry, Yusuf `Ali, Picktall, inter alia) of the Qur'an. Buy now
Scriptural Commentaries (in Reference and/or online): JPS Commentaries on Hebrew scripture; New Interpreter's Bible; various Tafsir as found at www.altafsir.com, The Qur'an and Its Interpreters (Ayoub), The Qur'an and Its Exegesis (Gatje), etc.
Gillman, Neil. Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew. Jewish Publication Society, 1990. Buy now
Fazlur Rahman, Major Themes of the Qur'an. University of Chicago Press, 2009. Buy now
Gunton, Colin E. Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine. Cambridge University Press, 1997. Buy now
Recommended Texts Include, but are Not Limited, to:
Cragg, Kenneth. The Privilege of Man: a Theme in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Athlone Press, 1968. Buy now
Hubbard, Benjamin. The Abraham Connection. Crossroad Publishing Company, 1905. Buy now
Davis and Richards, eds. The Art of Reading Scripture. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003. Buy now
Samuelson, Norbert. Judaism and the Doctrine of Creation. Cambridge University Press, 2007. Buy now