Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another Class Begins

Greetings again from Cairo. We have just started another class in the Fall term. In the first picture you see Dr. Jan Opsal, a professor from the School of Mission and Theology, in Stavanger, Norway, who will be the instructor, and some of the students participating in the class. It is titled: "Sharing the Same Prophets - Men in the Muslim and Christian Scriptures". Dr. Jan is in the blue shirt, and a second student from Norway, Kate, is on the left, with some students you have met before.

The course will review the stories of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus as they are portrayed in the Qur'an and Hadith (traditions) of Islam, and the Old and the New Testament of Christians. It will use the same format as the course Dr. Jan taught on "Women in the Muslim and Christian Scriptures" last January. This combined course signals a growing partnership between his institution and the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. It is hoped that in the future some ETSC students will travel to Stavanger for a semester or two as part of their studies program.
Because of Dr. Jan's tight schedule the class will meet for only four weeks (til mid December) and for a longer period of time each Tuesday and Wednesday.

We are pleased that this relationship between our two schools is continuing. Dr Jan will also teach two of our Scholar's Seminars on Tusday afternoons while he is here. These are open to all faculty, other students who speak English, and guests from the wider academic community in Cairo

To the left is the syllabus for the class and a book which I want to recommend which follows the same plan as Dr. Jan's class. Let me quote a few sentencs from the introduction to the book to give you some idea of how this works. Under the subtitle: "Joseph Meets Joseph" the author Dr. John Kaltner writes:
A comparative analysis of the Joseph story in the Qur'an and the
Bible that is informed by narrative criticism allows us to come to a
fuller understanding of the rhetorical dimension of the two texts.
{The Bible and the Qur'an are} put in conversation with each other
in a prolonged and detailed way. (p. xix + xx)
He goes on to say that we can "listen in" on that encounter (between Joseph and Joseph) as though we were sitting in a circle with the two different story tellers, each intent on telling the story in such a way as to convey what that person wishes to say.
Worth looking into. The book should be available in the United States. Its full title is: "Inquiring of Joseph, Getting to Know a Biblical Character through the Qur'an", from a series called "interfaces", Barbara Green, Editor. It is published by the Liturgical Press out of Collegeville, Minnesota.
Last week I presented the prospectus for my January course on "Biblical Hermeneutics in the Modern World" at a Scholar's Seminar. One definition of "Hermeneutics" is the study and the methods we employ to get the most out of the Biblical texts. This is what I will try to do in my class. That is what Dr. Jan is doing in his class. If you would like a copy of the text I used in my presentation, you can write me at my e-mail address: rogerrab39@yahoo.com.
Hope you are well. Roger

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