Syllabus Religion 4301, Fall 2009
Islamic Thought in the Caliphal Age
Class time: Tu/Th 3:30-4:45 Peabody 219a.
Office hour: Thursday, 2:30-3:30, 217 Peabody, phone 706-542-1486
Orientation of the Course:
We will study Islamic thought in the Caliphal Age through the lenses of what I call Religiology. Namely, we will following a specific analytical method, emphasizing the categories of inquiry and questions noted below:
1) Epistemology: What do the people in question believe the basis of valid knowledge should be? And what should they rely on to help them interpret and understand that knowledge? (i.e. the field of hermeneutics)
2) Ontology: What do they believe is really real? (a) Theology: What do people believe about God?
(b) Cosmology; What do people believe are the characteristics of the whole of existence/cosmos?
(c) Cosmogony: What do people believe about the beginning of existence?
(d) Eschatology: What do people believe about existence during the "last days", leading up to and during the hereafter?
3) Anthropology: What do they believe human nature is? Who are we as human beings? What do they believe their identities are?
4) Psychology: What do they believe human consciousness consists of?
5) Teleology: What do they believe the purpose(s) of life is?
6) Methodology: What do they believe should be the various methods of achieving the purpose(s), methods such as (a) religio-spiritual; b) legal ; c) ethical ; d) political ; e) military ; f) social methods?
Objectives of Course:
1) To learn a methodology for the scholarly study of religion and to apply it; and
2) To gain a broad knowledge of the major theological and theology-related beliefs of Muslims during the Caliphal age.
3) To learn a basic vocabulary of concepts and names that are crucial to understanding Islam and Muslims.
Junior or Senior standing or permission of the department.
Tim Winter, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
Various additional short readings as needed.
www.uga.edu/islam Dr. Godlas' Islam and Islamic Studies Resources website.
You will be expected to have read the week's chapter during the weekend prior to classroom discussion of that chapter.
Dr. Godlas will distribute a list each week of approximately 20 important words, names, and concepts. You will be tested on both these and sometimes other material during the two midterms and final.
In teams of three, pick a total of 6 key names, terms, or topics in the week's chapter, those that are not on Dr. Godlas' review lists, and construct an oral and written report for the class as follows:
After listing one key name, term, or topic note the following:
1) why it is significant
2) something brief concerning what is said about it in the chapter
3) at least a few sentences that the Encyclopedia of Islam or the Encyclopaedia of Religion says about it. This must go beyond what was said in the book.
4) At least a few sentences that the author of an online article found through JSTOR or an article found through Index Islamicus says about it; and include the bibliographical information for the article
7 pg. minimum, after a one page brief historical-contextual discussion, a religiological analyis of a book written by or about one of the authors of the Khalifal age
Additional Requirements for Graduate and Honors Option Students:
Graduate/Honors and/or option students will be required to do additional readings, submit a well-documented fifteen page analytical and research paper comparing two Caliphal age Muslim authors (chosen after consulting with Dr. Godlas), and meet periodically outside of class with Dr. Godlas, among other responsibilities.
90-100 = A, 80-89 = B, 70-79 = C, 60-69 = D, and less than = F
2% initial religiological analyses
15% group project
20% research paper
25% final exam
Week 1: August 17-20
Esposito, "10 Things Everyone Needs to Know about Islam,"
Week 2: August 24-27, CIT Introduction, pp. 1-16.
Aug 27 Religiological Analyes due
Week 3: August 31- Sept 3 CIT ch. 1
Qur'an and Hadith
Week 4 Monday Sept. 7 holiday; classes Sept. 8-10, CIT ch. 2
The Early Creed
Week 5- Sept. 14-17, CIT ch. 3
Week 6- Sept. 21-24 CIT Ch.4
The Developed Kalam Tradition
Week 7- Sept. 28-Oct. 1 Test, CIT ch.5
The Social Construction of Orthodoxy
Week 8 Oct. 5-8 CIT ch.6
God: Essence and Attributes
Week 9 – Oct. 12-15 CIT ch.7
Week 10 – Oct. 19-22 CIT ch.8
Week 11 – Oct 26-Nov. 5 CIT ch.14
Epistemology and Divine Discourse
Week 12 Nov. 9-12 CIT ch.11
Week 13 – Nov. 16- 19 Test 2 CIT ch.12
Theological Dimensions of Islamic Law
Week 14 -- Nov. 23-27 Thanksgiving Break, no class
Week 15 – Nov. 30- Dec. 3 CIT ch.13
Theology and Sufism
Week 16 - Dec. 7 Monday last day of class
Final exam: Exam: Tues., Dec. 15, 3:30 - 6:30 pm
Honesty Policy: The UGA Academic Honesty Policy will be followed. In other words, all academic work must meet the standards contained in "A Culture of Honesty." Students are responsible for informing themselves about those standards before performing any academic work. The link to more detailed information about academic honesty can be found at http://www.uga.edu/ovpi/honesty/acadhon.htm
Changes to this Syllabus: The instructor reserves the right to make any changes to this syllabus. The course syllabus is a general plan for the course; deviations announced to the class by the instructor may be necessary. Changes will be posted on WebCT.