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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Fall 2008


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42460 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
UTC 1.142

Course Description

What is the nature of God? Do we have free will? Where does evil come from? How do we know the true from the false, the good from the bad? Do we rely on revelation alone, or also on reason? How are we to live in a pluralistic world? What is the relationship between philosophy and religion? Between science and religion? These are the types of questions that exercised -- and continue to exercise -- the greatest theologians of Islam. In this writing-intensive, upper-division course we will study Islamic cosmological and theological doctrines in both the medieval and the modern periods. We will learn how historical context influenced religious doctrines, and how those doctrines in turn influenced socio-political events. The tentative unit topics are as follows: cosmology, political theology, systematic theology, the relationship between theology and philosophy, mystical theosophy, and modern theological realignment. Some of the outstanding figures we will study are the following: the medieval Sufi theologian al-Ghazali, the Aristotelian philosopher and jurist Averroes (Ibn Rushd), the forefather of contemporary political Islam Ibn Taymiyya, the challenger to colonialism al-Afghani, and the contemporary public intellectual Soroush. Please note that this is not an introductory course, and that a working knowledge of Islam is expected

Grading Policy

6 essays - 10% each (total = 60%) 2 peer reviews - 6% each (total = 12%) attendance - 14% participation - 14%


Unit 1: Ian R. Netton, Allah Transcendent: Studies in the Structure and Semiotics of Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Cosmology; Unit 2: Patricia Crone, God's Rule - Government and Islam: Six Centuries of Medieval Islamic Political Thought; Unit 3: Josef van Ess, The Flowering of Muslim Theology; Unit 3: Majid Fakhry, History of Islamic Philosophy; Unit 4: John Renard, The Knowledge of God in Classical Sufism; Unit 5: Daniel Brown, Rethinking Tradition in Modern Islamic Thought.


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