This course studies the three major branches on the Abrahamic religious tree: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. By the end of the course the attentive student will understand and be able to (1) compare the core teachings, rituals, and behavioral codes of the three faiths; (2) trace the course of history by which each of them came to win adherents far removed geographically, culturally, and socially from the sites of their birth; (3) explain the different, often rival, schools of thought and practice that have emerged within each tradition; and (4) analyze the principal responses these religions have shown to the challenges of modernity. Along the way, students will be asked to reflect on the elements that the three traditions truly share which make them a recognizable ‘family’ among world religions, as well as the key points where they diverge, and why.
Field WorkCountry: Morocco
Date: October 16, 2019
The Field Class for this course will entail guided visits to a site of worship for each of the three Abrahamic religions: the Hassan II Mosques, Temple Beth-El, and Notre Dame de Lourdes Catholic Church. We will compare the architectural design and worship practices of each place with the others’, and consider how their relatively new construction relates to each religion’s presence in the history and development of Morocco.
Students will come to better understand:
1. the major symbols, art, and architecture associated with the three Abrahamic traditions and how these connect with worship practices.
2. the historical development of the three traditions in Morocco and the Maghrib more generally.
3. the ways that the practices and expressions of the three traditions have been shaped by that history and the local cultural environment.