Academic Programs 

Major Themes in the Bible and Qur’an (SC-634)
Winter/Spring 2004

This course will engage the scripture of Christians and Muslims (Hebrew Scriptures, New Testament and Qur’an ) through a comparative reading of common themes. Similarities and differences of interpretation will be analyzed with reference to historical and modern forms of exegesis, attention being given to the social-cultural contexts in which scriptures and commentaries exist.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Wednesdays from 4:30-6:50 p.m.

Dr. Jane SmithJane Smith
Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9532
Dr. Smith's web page


Course Syllabus

Intent of the Course:

The course is designed to give students an opportunity to trace some of the most significant theological and ethical teachings of the three Abrahamic traditions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – through the examination of passages from their respective scriptures. Biblical and Qur’anic doctrines of faith, righteousness and justice will be analyzed to illustrate the ways in which the three religions have understood the relationship between human and divine and the corresponding ethnical responsibilities of humans to one another.

Attention will also be given to the definition of scripture itself, its function in the three worshipping communities, the use of scripture in its oral as well as its written form, and the methods of scriptural interpretation.


Students are expected to bring to each class session a version of the Bible (Old and New Testaments) and/or the Qur’an. The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible and the Majid Fakhry translation (interpretation) of the Qur’an are available in the Seminary Bookstore and recommended, although other versions are generally acceptable.

Additional weekly readings (to be determined) will be required and distributed in Xerox form. Students will be charged for these materials at the rate of 5 cents/page.



Each student taking the course for credit will be responsible for:

  1. Reading and discussing in class the weekly assigned materials.
  2. Participating in the general class discussions.
  3. Providing at the end of the 5th, 8th and 12th weeks a brief (3-5 pages) response to the readings and presentations on the scriptural texts most recently considered.
  4. Writing a more lengthy (10-15 pages) essay on one of a list of topics (to be distributed).


Class Structure: [readings to be determined]

January 28            Introduction to the course (Smith)

February 4            Scripture and its interpretation (Smith)

February 11           The New Testament (Agosto)

February 18           The New Testament (Agosto)

February 25           The New Testament (Agosto)

March 3                 The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (Landau)

March 10               The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (Landau)

March 17               The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (Landau)

March 24               The Qur’an (Smith)

March 31               The Qur’an (Smith)

April 7                   READING WEEK – NO CLASS

April 14                 The Qur’an (Smith)

April 21                 Feminist “re-reading” of scripture (Smith)

April 28                 Conclusion


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