History, Religious studies

Course date

12 July - 23 July, 2004
Application deadline:
15 February, 2004
Course Director(s): 

Mark Cohen

Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies, Princeton, United States of America
Course Faculty: 

Gyongyi Hegedus

University of Toronto, Jewish Studies, Toronto, ON, Canada

Tzvi Langermann

Bar-Ilan University, Department of Jewis History, Ramat-Gan, Israel

Gideon Libson

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Law, Jerusalem, Israel

Sarah Stroumsa

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jewish Thought, Jerusalem, Israel

Raymond Scheindlin

Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, United States of America

Nasr Hamid Abu-Zayd

Leiden University, Faculty of Arts, Leiden, Netherlands
This interdisciplinary course will survey the history, religion, and culture of the Jews living in the world of medieval Islam, from the rise of Islam to roughly the thirteenth century. Consisting of lectures and workshops, it will consist of seven units.
Professor Abu Zayd will lecture on the Qur'an and Islam, describing the religious milieu in which the Jews lived. The historical context will be established in the classes taught by Professor Cohen. His approach is comparative, so he will also discuss the situation of Jews living in the Christian world. Professor Stroumsa’s topics will cover the encounter between Judaism and other religions, including comparison with Jewish-Christian polemics. Dr. Hegedus’s classes will deal with the large question of the emergence and development of Jewish rationalism in the medieval Islamic world.
Professor Langermann will carry the class into the fascinating realm of Jewish science and medicine, which arose and flourished in the Arabic milieu, as both Jews and Muslims shared the fruits of Greek science and medicine after these texts were translated into Arabic in the early Islamic period. With Professor Libson, the class will explore something on the face of it more internal and diachronic in Jewish culture, Jewish law. But, as his pioneering research has shown, even the inner sanctum of halakha was penetrated by Arabic and Islamic influences. Professor Scheindlin will explore literary culture, ranging beyond the usual topics such as poetry (though that will constitute a central concern) to Islamic pietism and mysticism.