Attempting to understand religion in all its forms has forever been a source of frustration. In this course, Professor F.E. Peters defines Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as three faith communities of believers, each with its own ideology, history, traditions, and members - past and present.
Professor Peters' extensive studies of these three monotheistic religious communities allow him to offer a comprehensive series of lectures beginning with Creation and ending with the Final Judgment. The history proper of the three communities of Jews, Christians, and Muslims begins with God's Covenant with Abraham. It continues with the birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. When Saul, later called Paul, begins accepting Gentiles into the community of Jesus, the Christians are formed as a separation from the main body of the Jewish community. Once Christianity was identified as a new religion, it was no longer protected by the same laws that were extended to the Jews. Until the beginning of the fourth century, Christians were persecuted by suspicious and intolerant Romans. Force and violence are again linked with religion when Muhammad, the Muslim prophet, struck out militarily against those who rejected his claims to prophethood.
This course examines the similarities and differences between each community and traces their evolutions through history. In this course, Professor Peters leads listeners through a comprehensive study of the origins, characteristics, and primary texts of each of these fundamentally monotheistic religious communities. As Peters concludes, only by understanding their similarities and differences can we hope to make sense of the politics of religion which continue to fuel conflicts throughout the world.