Critical Postures

Each answer should be no less than 300 words and no more than 400 words

  • understanding the question properly and answering it according to the readings.
  • moving beyond description and critically analyzing the sources (this is where you show your original thinking)
  • polished writing
  • 1)Studying Islam in the Contemporary Political Moment:

Carl Ernst’s Following Muhammad first situates the study of Islam in multiple contexts: the historical context of Islam itself, the contemporary political context, and the long history of relations between Muslims and Euro-Americans. Discuss the various ethical and critical postures that he models for understanding Islam in each of these contexts.

2) Historicizing Religion:

Ernst also historicizes religion and identifies various methodological postures that are needed to critically examine “religion.” How does his deconstruction of religion help you to think about Religion in a Global Context? Please comment on colonialism and the need to be self-conscious about the limitations of our representational frames.

3)Studying Religious Difference and Sameness:

First, describe the differences and similarities between the Abrahamic religions; second, come up with a metaphor or analogy or theoretical model that best describes their inter-relationships. In your answer, make sure you draw insights from J.Z. Smith’s theory of difference and otherness.

4) Muhammad the Prophet:

What is the Qur’anic conception of prophethood? Please answer this question by drawing from both Ibn Ishaq’s biography of the Prophet (as included in A Reader) and the handout from Marilyn Waldman. Optional: you may also relate this to what Ernst says about the Muhammad of Authority, the Muhammad of Faith, and the Muhammad of Grace.

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