Introduction to Biblical and Qur’anic Conceptions of God


Though many people think of God as something fixed and unchanging, a careful study of scripture reveals that this is not so.  Rather, it seems that the Western conception of God — and indeed the very notion that there is only a single God – has evolved over the millennia.  This course will introduce students to some of the varying conceptions of God found in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Qur’an through careful reading and discussion of primary materials in English translation.  Readings will be drawn primarily from the Torah (especially Genesis and Exodus), the Book of Job, the Gospels, and key suras (chapters) of the Qur’an — though we will begin by looking at Mesopotamian and Greek conceptions of the gods as manifested in the Epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony.  Students will be responsible for doing close, thoughtful reading of each assignment and actively participating in each class discussion.  In addition, students will be asked to write three papers (about 6 pages in length) and to make a presentation related to the themes of the course. The second essay is to be revised based on class and instructor feedback.

  • Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Hesiod, Theogony
  • Hesiod, Works and Days
  • Hebrew Bible
  • New Testament
  • Qur’an


TAUGHT: SPRING 2003, SPRING 2004, FALL 2005, FALL 2006, FALL 2007,
        FALL 2008, FALL 2009, FALL 2010, FALL 2011, FALL 2012,
        FALL 2013, FALL 2014, FALL 2015