Author, Professor to Speak on ‘Friends of God in Islamic Art and Literature’ April 17 St. Thomas Newsroom April 13, 2012 Author Dr. John Renard will deliver a lecture on “Friends of God in Islamic Art and Literature” on Tuesday, April 17. The event, free and open to the public, will be held from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Room 100, McNeely Hall.Dr. John RenardRenard’s presentation is a colorful illustrated introduction to the major types of “friends of God” and major themes of Islamic hagiography from the medieval to the contemporary. For at least half of the world’s Muslims, friends of God have played a role roughly analogous to the importance of saints for about half of the world’s Christians. As the “heirs of the prophets,” the friends function as exemplars of devotion and piety, and enjoy immense popularity for hundreds of millions of Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia.Renard received his doctorate in Islamic Studies from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in 1978. Since then he has been teaching courses in Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, religion and the arts, and comparative theology in the Department of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University.His most recent books are:Friends of God: Islamic Images of Piety, Commitment and Servanthood (California, 2008)Tales of God’s Friends: Islamic Hagiography in Translation (California, 2009)Islam and Christianity: Theological Themes in Comparative Perspective (California, 2011)This event is co-sponsored by the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center and the Theology Department.