Prayer and Poetry in the Jewish and Islamic Traditions
This course examines elements of traditional Jewish and Muslim prayers and worship side by side with poems that draw on those classical sources. Class readings introduce students to the language and practice of prayer for Muslims and Jews and include texts by poets who appropriate and rethink matters of faith, the language of religion, and the role of tradition in contemporary life. While all readings will be in English, students will read a wide range of poets from Europe, the Americas, Israel and the Islamic world. The course presents a comparative approach to the language of worship in the Islamic and Jewish traditions with poetry as a site for cross- and interfaith dialogue. Topics to be covered include: parallels and divergences in rituals surrounding prayer, blessings, collective prayer services, holiday prayers, fasting, prayers of mourning and debate over gender and prayer.
No prerequisites. All assignments in English.
Quarter taught: Winter