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New Course Offerings

RLST 4371: Through the Eyes of the Other - A History of Muslim-Christian Relations

Taught By: Richard McGregor & Paul Lim

Meeting Pattern: Tuesdays, 1:10 - 3:50 - Divinity School G-28

Encountering the religious, racial, cultural, or political Other has often lead to a process of self-discovery. However, there are strong impulses to resist such encounter, and instead to marginalize, and even demonize those in whom we recognize little more than basic humanity.

This is the first Vanderbilt course that looks at the complicated co-existence, acrimony, war-making, and peace-seeking between Christians and Muslims.

The course charts the relationship between Muslim and Christian communities since the inception of Islam, and offers a series of snapshots and narratives that are designed to help with a more contextualized understanding of the complex web of relationships between these two world religions and cultures. Throughout the course we will see how Muslims saw Christians, and how that vision - often distorted, sometimes correct - perpetuated certain views about Christianity in the Muslim world. The same was the case among Christians, who often willfully exaggerated the potential danger of Islam as a totalizing discourse and world dominating-system of politics.

Dr. Paul Lim (Divinity School) and Dr. Richard McGregor (A&S, Religious Studies) will bring their respective expertise and research excellence as historians of early modern Christianity and medieval Islam to bear in this Seminar. Lim and McGregor are hopeful that this course will encourage the students to look beyond the immediate horizons of their religiosity and cultural-political backgrounds to grow in appreciation of the two major religious traditions' efforts toward enhanced mutual understanding and even embrace.