Religion Courses

CAS RN 104 – Religions of the World: Western Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in historical and cultural context, origins to the present. Examines diversity of practices, belief systems, and social structures within these religions. Also addresses debates within and between communities as well as contemporary concerns.Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.

CAS RN 214 – Islam
The rise and spread of Islam from the seventh century to the present; introduction to its central beliefs, institutions, and practices, and its impact on the religious and cultural history of Asia and Africa. Continuity and change in the modern period.

CAS RN 220- The Holy City: Jerusalem in Time, Space, & Imagination
A survey of major trends in Islamic jurisprudence from the seventh century to the present; the structure of Islamic law, its regulative principles, its place in Islamic society, and the mechanisms by which it is elaborated and applied.Jerusalem as a holy city: its importance in historical experience and theological understanding of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

CAS RN 316 – Modern Islam

Focuses on key thinkers and intellectual movements since the nineteenth century, emphasizing Egypt. How have modernists (Afghani, Abduh, Rida), Islamists (Qutb, Mawdudi), feminists (Sha’rawi, Bint al-Shati), and contemporary scholars (Abu Zayd, Arkoun, Soroush) negotiated the encounter between tradition and modernity?

CAS RN 338/638 – Mysticism and Philosophy: Medieval Jewish Perspective
Taught Spring 2013 by Diana Lobel
The majority of the course focuses on thinkers writing in Judeo-Arabic within the context of Muslim civilization, including al-Ghazali, Ibn Tufayl, Judah Halevi, Ibn Gabirol, Ibn Sina, and Maimonides, among others. We discuss the influence of Sufi thought as well as Islamic philosophy on Jewish poetry, philosophy, and mysticism. I think the course could be attractive to students interested in Muslim civilizations.

CAS RN 340 – The Qu’ran
Taught Fall 2010 by Kecia Ali
The emergence of the Quran as a major religious text, its structure and literary features, and its principal themes and places within the religious and intellectual life of the Muslim community.

CAS RN 341 – Islamic Mysticism: Sufism
Rise and development of the mystical movement in early Islam; analysis of the thought of leading Sufi brotherhoods, their organization, liturgy, and religious life; the impact of Sufism on classical and postclassical Islam.

CAS RN 343 – Islam in Global Perspective
A Historical and comparative study of Islam’s spread from the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century into the major cultural zones of Asia, Africa and the West; reasons for Islam’s expansion; its ability to adapt itself to regional cultures and to function simultaneously as a catalyst for religious and cultural change.

CAS RN 344 – Islam and the West
Examination of religious and intellectual interaction of Islam and the West during the Middle Ages: philosophy, theology, jurisprudence, mystical thought, and ethical theory. Literary and scientific influences also considered.

CAS RN 345 – Islamic Law
A survey of major trends in Islamic jurisprudence from the seventh century to the present; the structure of Islamic law, its regulative principles, its place in Islamic society, and the mechanisms by which it is elaborated and applied. (Also taught as GRS RN 645 and STH TX 845).

CAS RN 346- History and Religion: North African Issues
Explores how the colonial experience shaped North African culture and society, and how the North African postcolonial state negotiated the legacy of colonialism and responded to the dynamics underpinning global politics. (Rabat Program)

CAS RN 347 – Islamic Theology and Philosophy
An introduction to the most important philosophers and theologians in Islamic intellectual history, with a focus on the concepts they articulated and the movements they engendered.

CAS RN 375 – Culture, Society, and Religion in South Asia
Ethnographic and historical introduction to the Indian subcontinent with a focus on the impact of religion on cultural practices and social institutions.

CAS RN 425 – Topics in S. Asian Religions
Specific aspects of South Asian religions within a historical or comparative/ phenomenological framework.  Topic varies per semester (as does relevancy with this proposed minor).

CAS RN 434 – Representations of Muhammad
Explores Muslim and non-Muslim representations of Muhammad over the centuries in prose biographies, poetry, and film. Pays attention to differences of genre across time and space. Focuses on shifting ideas about holiness, sex, violence, and revelation.

CAS RN 435 – Women, Gender, and Islam
Investigates the way Muslim religious discourse, norms, and practices create and sustain gender and hierarchy in religious, social, and familial life. Looks at historical and contemporary challenges posed to these structures.

CAS RN 470 – Christian, Muslim, and Jew: Religion, Community, and Culture in Medieval Spain Interactions between Muslims, Christians, and Jews in medieval Europe’s most religiously diverse region – from the establishment of an Islamic al-Andalus in 711 CE to the final Christian “reconquest” of the peninsula and expulsion of the Jews in 1492 CE.

CAS RN 563 (AH 539 / AN 539 / HI 596 ) – Muslim Societies: An Interdisciplinary History
Introduces students interested in Muslim Societies to the main themes, states, empires, faiths, and ideologies of the Muslim world, while taking advantage of the wealth of resources Boston University has to offer across its many departments. The areas included within the course range from North and West Africa, through the Middle East, to Turkey, Iran, and then to Central, South and Southeast Asia.