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Judaism & Islam – History, Theology, and Politics

The Arab-Israeli conflict is one of the most important factors in the modern Jewish political condition.  Yet one cannot properly understand it without first studying the thirteen hundred years of Jewish-Muslim engagement.  These seminars will provide the student with a basic introduction to the intricate history of this encounter with an eye toward its contemporary cultural and geo-political implications. We’ll examine the complex ways in which the Western world and Islam have viewed each other and discuss the possibility of a common understanding between a secular world and one that still defines itself in terms of religious faith.  We’ll then explore how Jews and Muslims perceived each other throughout the generations and the different ways in which these models impact on Jewish-Muslim coexistence.  In our final session, we’ll discuss contemporary controversies over the Temple Mount and explore their impact on interfaith dialogue, Muslim anti-Semitism, and Israeli-Palestinian peace initiatives.