Ten sessions: Feb 9, 23, Mar 1, 15, 29, Apr 5, 19, May 3, 10, 17 2016
This course is intended to provide both a general overview, and some detailed vignettes, of Jewish life under Islamic rule during the Middle Ages and Modern times. Analyzing the complex relationship between Jews and Muslims in medieval Islamic societies, in particular, constitutes a fascinating intellectual and spiritual adventure in itself. However, studying the medieval period also turns out to be crucial for gaining a full understanding of relationships between Jews and Muslims in our times today.
The course aims to answer the following questions:
1. What was it like to be a Jew living under Islam in the medieval period? How did the experiences of Jews living in different eras and in different locations vary? In what ways was this experience different for Jewish men and for Jewish women? What was the range of Muslim attitudes toward Jews, and the range of Jewish attitudes toward Muslims?
2. How did the history of Islam, its theologies, its religious laws, and its social and political institutions shape the overall context within which Jews found themselves? How did Jews adapt to this context?
3. What are some of the enduring consequences and questions that Jews and Muslims have inherited from this fateful period of coexistence? How did this period of shared life shape the present and how does it continue to do so?
In trying to answer these questions, we will be looking at many different sources. For the medieval period these will include: the historical growth of Islam and the development of its sacred scriptures and theology; specific Islamic laws and practices concerning the Jews; the experiences of Jewish women in the medieval Islamic world; some of the many different kinds of formal interaction between Jews and Muslims (financial, religious, intellectual, political, and so on); Jewish intellectual and religious achievements in this period, including Hebrew poetry (religious and romantic), and advances in religious thought, law, philosophy, and science, and the records we have concerning personal and quotidian encounters between Jews and Muslims. For the modern period we will examine more recent documents including letters, official statements of religious bodies, theological texts, governmental policy statements, the works of historians, organizational manifestoes, political proclamations, and literature.
Event Location: Kerem Shalom
659 Elm St., Concord, Massachusetts, 01742
Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm