Icons of the Abrahamic Religions


At the head of each of the “Abrahamic Religions” is an iconic founder-figure who is believed to be connected with the distinctive scripture of that faith: Moses and the Torah for Judaism, Jesus and the Gospels for Christianity and Muhammad and the Quran for Islam.  This course will examine the historical facts (insofar as they can be determined) of the lives of these founder-figures, some of the various “mythologies” that each tradition has constructed both of its own founder-figure and the other founder-figures, and the history, structure and content of the scriptures (both canonical and non-canonical) associated with each founder-figure.  Using select secondary sources as a guide, the course will center on a close reading of selections from the three scriptures and their associated literatures and culminate with a reading of Egyptian Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz’s Children of the Alley (1959).

  • Hebrew Bible
  • The Book of Jubilees
  • New Testament
  • Qur’an
  • Akenson, Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds
  • Ehrmann, Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture & the Faiths We Never Knew
  • Armstrong, Muhammad: Biography of the Prophet
  • Mahfouz, Children of the Alley