The Qur'an and the Bible

Course InstructorDr. David Penchansky, professor at the University of St. Thomas, has taught at the university since 1989.  He has recently published Understanding Wisdom Literature (Eerdmans, 2012), which is an introduction to the books of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ben Sira and the Wisdom of Solomon.  He is currently studying Arabic and writing about the Qur'an.  he is married to Hend Al-Mansour, Saudi Arabian artist.  He has previously taught "Wisdom Literature" for the Selim Center.

Course Information:  Wednesdays, September 12-October 24, 2012, 10:00 a.m.-Noon, University of St. Thomas Minneapolis Campus, Terrence Murphy Hall, Room 260 (Thornton Auditorium)

Course Description:  Few in the Christian West know that many characters and incidents that appear in the Bible inhabit the pages of the Islamic sacred book as well.  All these are mentioned in the Qur'an as well as the Bible:  Adam, Abraham, Joseph, Moses (mentioned more than any other figure in the Qur'an), Mary (the only woman mentioned by name in the Qur'an), and of course, Jesus (whom the Qur'an calls "messiah" and "word of God").  Events such as the parting of the sea, and the virgin birth occur in both books.  This course will examine points of contact between the Bible and the Qur'an, and examine ways they are different.

Registration fee for the series:  $70.00 per person

Link to registration formFall 2012 Registration Form

Link to campus map:  ‎Minneapolis Campus Map

Detailed Course Syllabus (subject to change):

September 12

Introduction to the Qur'an

Many in our society know little or nothing about the Qur'an, the sacred book for over a billion people.  We will examine the origin of the Qur'an, the life of the prophet Muhammad, the beginning of Islam, and some of the traditions of interpretation of the Qur'an.

September 19

Creation in the Bible and the Qur'an

We will examine accounts of the creation of the world in the first three chapters of Genesis and with selections from the Qur'an.  We will pay particular attention to the story of the first humans and their temptation in the Garden.

September 26 No Class
October 3

The Stories of Noah and Joseph

Noah in the Bible says very little, while in the Qur'an he never shuts up.  The account of Joseph is the longest continuous story in the Bible.  Even so, the Qur'an has some new twists on this compelling story.  We will cover these two Genesis narratives.

October 10

 Abraham, the hanif of God

The three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) all regard Abraham as their founding ancestor.  We will examine in particular the announcement of the birth of his son, when Sarah laughed, and when God commanded him to offer his son as a sacrifice.

October 17

 Moses and the Deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian Slavery

This defining moment in Israelite history takes on a new perspective when told in the Qur'an.

October 24

 Mary and Her Son Jesus

The Qur'an teaches that it is impossible for God to have a son.  And in yet both Bible and Qur'an, Mary gives birth to Jesus without benefit of human father.  The Bible never addresses Mary labor pains or moment of birth.  The Qur'an speaks of these things.