RELIGION 156: Scripture: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are characterized as “scriptural religions,” “religions of the book.” Their sacred texts are foundational to the faiths they represent. In spite of shared histories, overlapping contents, and parallel perspectives, their Sacred Scriptures diverge in key points of content, interpretation, and uses by their communities. In this course, students will be introduced to the history, contours, and content of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur’an and hadith, exploring issues of scripture and authority, texts and manuscripts, translation and interpretation, performance, canonicity, ethical issues, and contemporary use.

In this course, students will explore how the idea of “scripture” functions in each of the three traditions. They will engage in critical reflection on the value accorded to sacred texts in each tradition, and in exploring commonalities as well as differences, they will enquire into the utility of the concept of “scripture.” At the end of the course, students will be able to bring their own critical, informed perspective in their answer to the question “What is Scripture?”

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