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RELIGST 209: The Late Antique World of Early Islam (RELIGST 309)

The Late Antique world was host to some of the most important social, political, and intellectual transformations in human history. The centrality of scripture, the popularization of monasticism, and the increasing entanglement of religion and state created the conditions for radically new ways of thinking about how to govern society, what constitutes knowledge, and what it even means to be human. Regrettably, however, the beginning of Islam is often taken as a cut-off point for this immensely fruitful period in history. Our aim in this course will be to question this assumption and to investigate to what extent Islam can be better understood as a Late Antique religion. By closely reading primary sources like the Quran, commentaries, chronicles, and mystical tracts, as well as academic writings on the relationship between Islam and other Late Antique religions (e.g., Christian, Zoroastrianism, and Rabbinic Judaism), we will explore the ways in which Muslims continued, contested, and re more »
The Late Antique world was host to some of the most important social, political, and intellectual transformations in human history. The centrality of scripture, the popularization of monasticism, and the increasing entanglement of religion and state created the conditions for radically new ways of thinking about how to govern society, what constitutes knowledge, and what it even means to be human. Regrettably, however, the beginning of Islam is often taken as a cut-off point for this immensely fruitful period in history. Our aim in this course will be to question this assumption and to investigate to what extent Islam can be better understood as a Late Antique religion. By closely reading primary sources like the Quran, commentaries, chronicles, and mystical tracts, as well as academic writings on the relationship between Islam and other Late Antique religions (e.g., Christian, Zoroastrianism, and Rabbinic Judaism), we will explore the ways in which Muslims continued, contested, and reimagined religious trends in the Late Antique world. More specifically, we will examine issues surrounding religious authority, prophecy, sexuality, economics, and politics, each of which illustrate the important contributions of Islam to the history of religions. Undergraduates register for 200-level for 5 units. Graduate students register for 300-level for 3-5 units.
Terms: Win | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
Instructors: Abbasi, R. (PI)
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