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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Spring 2010


Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Adherents of Islam make up nearly one-fourth of the world's population. For Muslims, the ultimate source of divine guidance is the Qur’an, which has infused not only religious practice but also Muslim law, etiquette, literature, and the arts. To the beginner, however, the Qur’an can be a daunting text. In this introductory lecture course, students will be guided through Islam's sacred text. To this end, we will read extensively from the Qur’an itself (in translation), as well as from other texts. In our studies, we will focus on Qur'anic cosmology (eg, God, human nature, satan, and the afterlife), ethical principles, ritual prescriptions, and legal injunctions. We will also examine some of the prominent symbols, images and rhetorical structures of the Qur’an. Students will have the opportunity to compare Qur’anic and Biblical accounts of the major prophets shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam, such as Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. The syllabus also includes an inquiry into role of the Qur’an in Muslim devotion and as a medium for artistic expression (for example, in calligraphy). Finally, we will discuss those themes and verses of the Qur’an that engender the most controversy in the world today, ie those surrounding politics, warfare and gender.


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