Required Reading: ‘Christianity and Islam, Europe and the East’
Required Reading
Jul 10, 2024

Required Reading: ‘Christianity and Islam, Europe and the East’

A core course will explore the central tenets of Christianity and Islam.

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"Christianity and Islam, Europe and the East," a required course for all undergraduates, introduces Christianity and Islam and explores their place in Western civilization. What is Christianity? What is Islam? How do both interpret their biblical predecessors and incorporate classical thought? Can Christianity find common ground with Islam? How do these religions relate to the European identity? What is revealed about Christians, Muslims, and Asiatic peoples through their encounters? These questions will be addressed through careful reading and discussion, supplemented by common Intellectual Foundations lectures.

Required Texts:

Augustine, Confessions

Gabriel Said Reynolds, The Emergence of Islam

Rémi Brague, Eccentric Culture: A Theory of Western Civilization

Marco Polo, The Travels

With selections from the Gospel of John, Paul's Letters to the Romans, Paul Berman, Robyn Creswell, Bernard Haykel, Al-Farabi, and Ibn Battuta.

Course Outcomes and Objectives:

Identify the basic teachings, divergences, and common ground of the Christian and Islamic traditions.

Students will be able to:

  • Articulate the central teachings of Christianity and Islam
  • Identify important ways in which Christian and Muslim thinkers incorporate the classical tradition
  • Reflect critically on the relationship of Christianity and Islam to each other and to the European identity

Reflections: Once each week, students should select a short passage from the day’s reading—less than 100 words—that grabs their interest, and unpack it in roughly 300-500 words. Students should quote the passage at the beginning of the reflection. Some questions one might ponder: What is noteworthy, strange, or surprising about the chosen passage? How does it illuminate or connect with other parts of the text? What questions or issues worthy of discussion in class are prompted by the passage? These assignments will help students to read carefully and think deeply about the text.

Electronics: Students may not use laptops, iPads, cellphones, or any other electronic devices during class.

Our core course sequence, Intellectual Foundations, consists of 15 required seminar classes guiding students in modeling and solving problems, identifying the necessary conditions of human flourishing, and critically understanding modern society and Western civilization. 

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