Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad HUM 3553, section 1; 3 credits FALL 2010 MWF 10:30-11:20 AM, CL1 320

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1 Instructor: Todd Brenneman, Ph.D. Office: PSY 229 Office Hours: MWF 1-2 and by appointment Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad HUM 3553, section 1; 3 credits FALL 2010 MWF 10:30-11:20 AM, CL1 320 Course Materials: The Bible (a good version is the New Oxford Annotated Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version; 4 th edition, (Oxford University Press, 2010) ISBN but a specific translation is not required) Majid Fakhry, trans., The Quran: A Modern English Version (Garnet, 1997) ISBN Bruce Feiler, America s Prophet: Moses and the American Story (William Morrow, 2009) ISBN Stephen Prothero, American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2004) ISBN Omid Safi, Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters (HarperOne, 2009) ISBN Students also need access to their Knights account and should check it regularly. All communication outside of class periods will be to your Knights . According to the university s best practices and FERPA guidelines, I will not correspond with students through another address. If you do not know how to set up your Knights , please let me know. Other important information will be available on the site available through the myucf portal. Course Description: This course deals with the main themes of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as found in the teachings of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. This course introduces students to the three major Western religious traditions through an examining three important figures in Judaism (Moses), Christianity (Jesus), and Islam (Muhammad). By examining how practitioners in these religions have understood and interpreted these individuals, we will trace the historical development of scriptures, institutional structures, and religious practices. We will also pay attention to how subsequent religious traditions have reinterpreted the founders of the previous religions (i.e., how Christians interpret Moses and how Muslims interpret Moses and Jesus). We will also pay special attention to the contributions these religions have made to Western, especially American, civilization. 1

2 Prerequisites: Student must have taken REL 2300, World Religions, or HUM 2230, Humanistic Tradition II, or have the permission of the instructor This course can fulfill part of the Traditions requirement toward a degree in Religious Studies or the Traditions and Applications component of a concentration in Classical or Multicultural Humanities. Course Objectives: This course seeks to encourage critical thinking about the development and practice of Western religious traditions. After taking this course, students should be able to: Describe the history, beliefs, and practices of the three major Western religious traditions Provide examples of major events within the lives of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, according to the written sources of their traditions Discuss the ways practitioners have understood and interpreted Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad throughout the history of these movements Explain the impact of Western religious traditions to Western, especially American, civilization Identify important persons, texts, practices, metaphysics, and movements among the religions studied. Illustrate the complex relationships between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and how each religion has influenced the others Demonstrate critical reading and writing skills Course Policies: Conduct: When you enter the classroom, you are entering a scholarly atmosphere. We are gathering to academically examine important material. It is important that both the instructor and the students respect each other s time and work. Distractions like using cell phones to text, answering cell phones during class, using computers to surf the internet or chat (or tweet or get on facebook), conversing with fellow students about things unrelated to the class, copying notes from missed classes, passing notes, doing reading or other work for a different class destroy that atmosphere and interfere with scholarly discussion. Packing up to leave or general end-of-class noise is also disruptive. Please wait until the instructor has dismissed the class so that questions and final comments may be heard by everyone. In addition, make sure to turn off cell phones or pagers (or at least put them on vibrate). Anyone who disrupts class may be asked to leave the room. Such students will receive an unexcused absence for that class period. If there is a valid reason for engaging in any of the above behavior, please let me know in advance and make the disruption as minimal as possible. Attendance/Participation: To succeed in this class it is important to be present during class meetings to be able to explore the material. Because of this, attendance is expected at all class meetings. It is also important that you come prepared to participate. Preparation includes not only reading the assigned materials but thinking through it and coming to class with questions or readiness to answer the instructor s questions. 2

3 Attendance will be verified through the use of attendance sheets. You can miss up to three (3) classes before it affects your grade. After 3 unexcused absences, five points (5) will be deducted from your final grade for each absence over 3. Being unprepared for class may also result in a reduction of your final grade. Exception to the attendance policy: If you will be missing class to observe a religious holiday, please inform me as soon as possible in writing. You will still be responsible for material covered in your absence, but it will not count toward your three misses. Please make sure to inform me in advance and not after the fact. Essays: There will be three essays in this course: one each for America s Prophet, American Jesus and Memories of Muhammad. Each essay must be at least 750 words and will be based on questions delivered to students closer to the due dates of each assignment. I am willing to look over rough drafts or discuss ideas for your papers. America s Prophet essay: due Monday, October 4, 2010, at noon American Jesus essay: due Friday, October 29, 2010 at noon Memories of Muhammad essay: due Friday, December 3, 2010 at noon Essay Requirements: Responses must be 750 words and be double-spaced with 12-point font and left, right, top and bottom margins set at one inch. Papers must be turned in electronically as stated on the question sheets. Papers will be penalized one letter grade for each day they are late. No papers will be accepted if they are turned in more than two days (by 4:00 p.m.) after the due date unless arrangements have been made with the instructor. Again, late papers need to be ed directly to me at the address on page one. Anyone who plagiarizes will be charged with an academic violation possibly resulting in failure of the course. Grading for writing assignments: I will base your grade for your writing assignments on a variety of factors including grammar, spelling, organization, and other mechanical types of things (like meeting word count, for example). I will also base your grade on how well you introduce and conclude your essay. Part of your grade will also be determined by how well you create a thesis statement that explains to me (the reader) what you will be arguing in your essay. How well you argue that thesis will also affect your grade. A grading rubric giving a breakdown of the point totals will be provided with each assignment, but here are a few guidelines. An A paper will demonstrate excellent skills in writing, communication and argumentation. It will have a clear thesis that lays out the argument for the paper. The argument will demonstrate originality and insightfulness. Obviously such a paper contains few, if any, grammatical or spelling mistakes and follows the assignment. A B paper is one where the thesis is not as clear but is able to be determined with minimal difficulty (meaning by the end of the first paragraph I have a fairly good idea what you will be arguing). The argument may not be particularly insightful, but it is easy 3

4 to follow and is organized in a clear manner. Grammar and spelling mistakes are at a minimum as well. A C paper contains a thesis that is only evident after the paper is read. This is one where the argument is muddled but identifiable. C papers usually suffer from being unclear, unorganized, and containing numerous grammatical and spelling errors. A D paper does not contain an identifiable thesis nor does it follow the assignment. There is no argument but a summary of the book or question to be addressed. It is replete with grammatical errors. HUM 3553 is Gordon Rule course. Gordon Rule courses are writing intensive requiring the students to write four assignments (the three book essays and the final exam essays for this course) for which their writing skills are assessed. The writing assignments are therefore mandatory and you will not receive a writing credit unless you receive at a least a C- average on your writing assignments. In order to receive the credit you must have a C- for the course. In order to get at least a C- minus for the course you have to do the assignments! Exams: There will be three exams for each of the major Western traditions. These exams will consist of multiple choice questions, short answer identifications and an essay portion. Each of the three main exams will follow this format. There will also be a comprehensive final exam portion that will be taken with the third exam. It will consist of two essay questions. The three exams will be out of 200 points. The final will be out of 100 points. Make-up exams will only be permitted if arrangements are made with the instructor prior to the day of the test. In order to make up a test, you must be able to verify that you are unable to take the exam as scheduled. Acceptable verifications include (but are not limited to) funeral programs or death certificates (for close family members only), doctors notes, jury duty notices or subpoenas, memos from an advisor or coordinator (for individuals involved in University sponsored events: sports, conferences, etc.). Travel arrangements are not acceptable as an excuse for missing an exam. Contact the instructor as soon as possible if you must miss an exam. You will need to get bluebooks for all exams. It is your responsibility to acquire these booklets. The instructor will not provide one for you. Grading breakdown (total of 1000 points possible): Test Test Test 3+Final ( ) 300 America s Prophet Paper 200 American Jesus Paper 200 Memories of Muhammad Paper 200 Grading scale: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, 599-below F. 4

5 Grading Disputes: In order to ensure that each student s work is graded in accordance with standards that apply to the entire class, if you have a question regarding a grade, you must meet with me within two weeks after the work in question is graded. No exceptions will be made to this policy. If the exam or assignment is re-scored, the entire exam or project will be graded again. This means that your score may increase or decrease. Note about grade reporting: All grades will be available through the myucf portal under myucf grades. I will not send grades through because of FERPA guidelines. Academic Honesty: As reflected in the UCF creed, integrity and scholarship are core values that should guide our conduct and decisions as members of the UCF community. Plagiarism and cheating contradict these values, and so are very serious academic offenses. Penalties can include a failing grade in an assignment or in the course, or suspension or expulsion from the university. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with and follow the University s Rules of Conduct (see Americans with Disabilities Act: The University of Central Florida is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all persons with disabilities. This syllabus is available in alternate formats upon request. Students with disabilities who need accommodations in this course must contact the professor at the beginning of the semester to discuss needed accommodations. No accommodations will be provided until the student has met with the professor to request accommodations. Students who need accommodations must be registered with Student Disability Services, Student Resource Center Room 132, phone (407) , TTY/TDD only phone (407) , before requesting accommodations from the professor. The Academic Study of Religion: The academic study of religion is not meant to inspire faith or to destroy faith. In this class we will be exploring a variety of religious movements and ideas, not with the intention of discovering any Truth, but instead to observe how religion functions within the United States and the world. Class is not the place for either the instructor or students to attempt to proselytize others. Please be respectful to others and their beliefs. If you have any questions or concerns about this policy and what it applies to, feel free to ask me. Course Outline (Readings should be done before attending the class they are listed with): If class is canceled because of bad weather or for some other reason, assume that the following class day will be conducted according to the regular class schedule described in the Course Outline. You should be prepared with the regularly scheduled material when class resumes. If class is canceled on a day that an exam is scheduled, plan to take the exam on the first day that class resumes. Week of August 23 rd Suggested Reading: Feiler, chapters 1 & 2 M: Introduction to the course W: The Moses of the Bible: Life and Exodus Reading: Bible Exodus, chapters 1-20 F: The Moses of the Bible: Deuteronomy 5

6 Reading: Bible Numbers 20:1-13, 27:12-23; Deuteronomy, chapters 1-16; Week of August 30 th Suggested Reading: Feiler, chapters 3 & 4 M: Interpreting Moses: Deuteronomistic history Reading: Bible Joshua, chapters 1-6 and 23-24; 1 Samuel chapter 12; 1 Kings chapter 8; 2 Kings chapter 17 and chapters W: Interpreting Moses: The Prophets Reading: Bible 1 Kings, chapters 17-18, Jeremiah 7, Amos 3-9 F: Interpreting Moses: Exile and Second Temple Judaism Reading: Bible Ezra, chapters 1, 3-7, and 9-10; Nehemiah, chapters 1, 8-9, and 13 Week of September 6 th Suggested Reading: Feiler, chapters 5 & 6 M: No class-labor Day W: Interpreting Moses: The Rise of the Rabbis F: Moses in the Modern Era: The Rise of Reformed Judaism Week of September 13 th Suggested Reading: Feiler, chapters 7 &8 M: Moses in the Modern Era: Orthodox Judaism W: Moses in the Modern Era: The Creation of Conservative Judaism F: American Moses: Let My People Go Week of September 20 th Suggested Reading: Feiler, chapters 9 & 10 M: American Moses: The Ten Commandments and American Theocracy W: Ritualizing Moses: Judaic Practice F: Moses in Popular Culture Week of September 27 th Suggested Reading: Prothero, Introduction, chapters 1 & 2 M: In-class exam #1 W: The Historical Jesus? F: The Biblical Jesus: Jesus in the Gospels Reading: Bible Gospel of Mark Week of October 4 th (Essay on Feiler due October 4, at noon) Suggested Reading: Prothero, chapters 3 & 4 M: The Biblical Jesus: The Theology of Paul Reading: Bible Romans, Galatians W: Spiritualizing Jesus: Gnosticism F: Divine Jesus: Christological Controversy in Antiquity Week of October 11 th Suggested Reading: Prothero, chapters 5 & 6 6

7 M: The Vicar of Christ: The Rise of the Catholic Church W: Picturing Jesus: Icons and Orthodox Christianity F: Return to Jesus: The Protestant Reformation Week of October 18 th Suggested Reading: Prothero, chapters 7 & 8, Conclusion M: American Jesus W: American Jesus F: Jesus in Popular Culture Week of October 25 th (essay on Prothero due October 29 th, noon) M: Jesus in Popular Culture W: Jesus and Moses: How Christians Interpret Jewish Leaders Reading: Bible Hebrews F: No class AAR meeting Week of November 1 st Suggested Reading: Safi, Introduction, chapter 1 M: In-class exam #2 W: Muhammad: Prophet of God Reading: Qur an, sura 4:1-90; 8:55-77; 33; 47; and 48 F: Muhammad and the Qur an Week of November 8 th Suggested Reading: Safi, chapters 2 & 3 M: Comparative Scriptures: The Bible and the Qur an (Bring both to class!) Readings: 1) Qur an 3:30-60; Bible Luke 1 2) Qur an 7: ; Bible Exodus 7 and Exodus 32 3) Qur an 11:25-50; Bible Genesis 6-9 W: Successor to the Messenger of God: The Voice of the Ummah/Sunni Islam F: Successor to the Messenger of God: The Prophet s Family/Shi a Islam Week of November 15 th Suggested Reading: Safi, chapters 4 & 5 M: The Example of Muhammad: The Five Pillars, Sunnah, Hadith, and Shari a W: Muhammad Conquers: The Spread of Islam F: Returning to Muhammad: Islamic Fundamentalism Week of November 22 nd Suggested Reading: Safi, chapter 6, Conclusion M: Muhammad in America: Global Islam in the United States W: Video Presentation F: No class Thanksgiving Break 7

8 Week of November 29 th (essay on Safi due December 3, at noon) M: Muhammad in America: Racial Islam in the United States W: Muhammad (and Muslims) in Popular Culture F: Muhammad, Jesus, and Moses: How Muslims Integrate Judaism and Christianity Reading: Qur an sura 2; 3; 4: Week of December 6 th M: Review for exam FINAL EXAM: Monday, December 13, 2010, at 10 AM SYLLABUS CHANGE POLICY: This syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advanced notice. Changes to the syllabus will be communicated in class and through . Some of the language in this syllabus is based on official policies of the University or suggestions by the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning. 8

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