REL 236
Reading the Qur'an Spring 2018 Division II; Writing-Intensive; Exploring Diversity Initiative; Cross-listed as ARAB236 / REL236 / COMP213 / GBST236
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In the nearly 1500 years of Islamic history, the Qur’an has been a central source of spiritual insight, ethical and legal guidance, sacred stories, and theological principles. Considered the divine word of God, the Qur’an is central to devotional life. This course will explore the Qur’an as a text that is always in a state of production. We will focus significantly on close readings of the text of the Qur’an, in addition to pre-modern and modern Qur’anic exegesis. The course will begin with a historical account of the revelation and collection of the Qur’an, placing the form and content of the text in the context of 7th century Arab society and the life of the Prophet. We will then study Qur’anic commentaries to discuss how Muslims have drawn theological, legal, philosophical, and mystical meaning from the Qur’an. We will pose some of the following questions: What do the different exegetical methods tell us about the intertextual nature of the Qur’an? How have these shifting notions affected the meaning made from Qur’anic verses and passages? What role do interpretive communities play in determining what the Qur’an says? Lastly, through an exploration of the art of Qur’an recitation, calligraphy, and Qur’an manuscripts, we will explore the ways in which the Qur’an is also an object of devotion in Muslim life.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 3304
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, weekly reading responses, 3- to 4-page midterm paper, and a final project with a media component and a 4- to 6-page analytical essay
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Religion and Arabic Studies majors
Distributions: Division II; Writing-Intensive; Exploring Diversity Initiative;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under REL or GBST; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ARAB or COMP

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