Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies nm 1005: Introduction to Islamic Civilisation (Part A) Duration



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Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies


NM 1005: Introduction to Islamic Civilisation (Part A)

Duration: Semester A



Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment: 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: The module will begin with a historical review of the rise of Islam and will also cover some aspects of the religion such as the five pillars of Islam and the sacred texts, the Qur’an and the ahadith, and their relationship to Islamic Law. There is also an emphasis on the diverse traditions within the Islamic world.

NM 1006: Introduction to Islamic Civilisation (Part B)

Duration: Semester B

Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment: 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: The students will be introduced to thematic issues including: “Islam, Arts and Architecture,” “Islam and Politics,” “Islam and Women” and “Islam and Human Rights.”

NM 1007: Introduction to Jewish Civilization from Antiquity to the Modern Period

Duration: Semester A

Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment: 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: 1: Jewish Library and Calendar

2. Sabbath and Festivals

3: Study and Prayer

4: Critical Concepts and Practices

5: Rabbinic Judaism

NM 1008: Introduction to Jewish Civilization from Antiquity to the Modern Period

Duration: Semester B

Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment: 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: 1. Nature of Judean culture in the Greek and Roman Periods

2. Judaism in Babylon: The Academies



  1. Jewish Life Under Islam

  2. Jews in Western Europe

  3. Jews in Eastern Europe

  4. Sephardic Communities

  5. Jewish life and thought in the Modern period

  6. Holocaust

9. Zionism and the State of Israel

NM 1009: Jewish and Christian Origins and the Bible

Duration: Semester A

Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment: 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: This module explores the physical environment of the world of ancient Israel and early Judaism using both literary and archaeological evidence. Particular attention is paid to the religious worldview of the ancient Israelites and their neighbours in the land of Palestine and in Babylonia, Persia, Egypt and the Hellenistic world. The literature of the Israelites (primarily the Bible and in particular the Pentateuch and the Deuteronomistic History) is examined within this wider context.

NM 1010: Jewish and Christian Origins and the Bible

Duration: Semsester B

Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment: 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: This module examines a variety of inscriptions and other material evidence from the environment of ancient Israel which may help to elucidate the world of the Biblical texts. For example, the Mesha Inscription from the ancient kingdom of Moab is examined and compared to the biblical account of wars with Moab in the book of Judges. Also explored is the importance of writing in ancient Israel and in the ancient Near Eastern world of Israel’s neighbours. How important were written records? Were the identities and self-understandings of the ancient societies more deeply rooted in oral tradition and if so how can we begin to explore their religions and cultures? The second part of the course looks at the emergence of the Jesus movement within the Jewish world of first century Palestine. Topics covered included Jesus and Jewish tradition, Jesus and Torah, Jesus and the Temple and Jesus and first century Jewish sects.

NM 2010: Introduction to Hebrew

Duration: Semester A

Contact hours p/w: 4 hours per week

Assessment : 50% continual assessment & 50% end of semester test

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: Classes on Hebrew grammar and biblical texts.

NM 2012 : Introduction to Arabic

Duration: Semester A

Contact hours p/w: 4 hours per week

Assessment : 50% continual assessment & 50% end of semester test

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: Basic Arabic: alphabet, pronunciation; basic grammar.

NM 2315: Jews in the Medieval World

Duration: Semester A

Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment : 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: The Medieval period witnessed innovation in Jewish intellectual activity in the fields of poetry, exegesis, philosophy and mysticism. This module presents an historical overview of the social, economic, communal, political and religious lives of the Jews in the Medieval world. Two historical matrices for Jewish life and thought will provide the focus for the course: Christian Europe and the Islamic empires in Baghdad, Cairo and Al-Andalus. In lectures, the students examine the diverse ways in which Judaic culture and religious thought developed in each of these contexts through reading the primary literature and modern commentators. The Medieval period witnessed innovation in Jewish intellectual activity in the fields of poetry, exegesis, philosophy and mysticism.

NM 2316: Islam in the Medieval World

Duration: Semester B

Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment : 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: This module will introduce a number of different topics under the umbrella of medieval Islam. The topics include major developments in the history of Islam, medieval Islamic literature and poetry, as well as women, religious minorities and sciences in medieval Islam. The course will also look at historical personalities, such as Omar Khayyam, to discern how their works of philosophy and poetry have endured to the present time. The final weeks of the course are focased on the history of the Crusades and the early history of Islam in Europe.

NM 2317: Response to the Empire: Judah and the Near east (9th to 3rd cent. BCE)

Duration: Semester A

Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment : A) Students present on one topic chosen from a list of topics

B) 1 x 3,000-word essay

C) 90% Attendance is required in order to pass the module

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: The module examines the way in which the concept of ‘empire’ has been applied to the ancient Near East and asks whether or not the application of our modern notion of empire is appropriate to the way in which ancient Near Eastern imperial rulers imposed rule and to the way in which subjects of this rule responded. With a revised understanding of ancient Near Eastern imperial rule, the impact of such rule on small territorial kingdoms, including Israel and Judah, is explored. The response of the subjects of empire to this rule as this can be detected in art and architecture, literature (the Bible, the Sybilline Oracles from Egypt and other Near Eastern documents) and documents from daily life form the focus of seminars.

NM 2318: Response to the Empire: Rome and the Judeans

Duration: Semester B

Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment : A) Students write one 2,000-word essay worth 50% of the total mark; there is 30% for a group wiki; 20% for presentation

B) 90% Attendance is required in order to pass the module



Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: This module examines the relationship between the Roman Empire and the Judeans, both in Judea and in the Diaspora. The course is intended to provide students with a knowledge of the main issues that come into play in this complex interaction between one Near Eastern ethnic group and Roman imperial power in need of a stable environment on the eastern boundaries of its Empire. The course will trace relations from the period of Roman involvement in Judean affairs (63 BCE) through to the revolt that ultimately led to the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.

NM 2319: Human Rights in the Middle East

Duration: Semester A

Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment : One 3,000 word essay

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: The module aims to familiarize students with major universal and regional human rights systems with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa. The theoretical perspective will both engage the international human rights system and also consider debates around the universality of rights and the relationship between Islam and human rights.

NM 2320: Intellectual Trends in early Judaism: Prophecy, Apocalyptic and Wisdom Literature

Duration: Semester B

Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment : 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: This module explores the development of intellectual trends in early Judean and Jewish literature from the monarchic to the Hellenistic period. It begins with an examination of the prophetic literature and the social function of prophetic figures in Israel and the ancient Near East. Seminars focus on the oracles in Hosea, Amos and Jeremiah. To what degree can these earlier earlier “pre-exilic” prophetic ideals be traced in later wisdom and apocalyptic trends? The social function and background of apocalyptic and wisdom literature is also explored with particular attention paid to Daniel, Enoch, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiasticus and Ecclesiastes. Finally, the module explores the Dead Sea Scrolls and asks whether or not the literature of the Dead Sea Scrolls was produced by a sect which withdrew to the desert as a response to a crisis in Jerusalem and in expectation of the eschaton. The degree to which this literature was influenced by earlier prophetic, apocalyptic and wisdom traditions is investigated.
NM 3003: Intermediate Hebrew

Duration: Semester A

Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment : 50% continuous assessment and 50% end of semester test

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: This module is intended for students who have completed an introductory course in Classical Hebrew and who already know basic grammar. The module concentrates on the reading and translation of narrative prose texts from the Hebrew bible.

NM 3004: Intermediate Arabic

Duration: Semester A

Contact hours p/w: 2 hours per week

Assessment : 50% continuous assessment and 50% end of semester test

Weighting: 5 ECTS

Description: Quranic Arabic

NM 4010: Into/Out of Egypt: Biblical Narratives and Popular Culture

Duration: Semester B

Contact hours p/w: One two-hour seminar per week

Assessment : 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 10 ECTS

Description: This course considers the use of Biblical narrative in the cinema and popular novels, examining how the presentation of the Biblical material differs in each case and how that presentation reflects the time-period, religious and political views of the films and novels directors and authors. It focuses on the representation of the narrative material on Israel in Egypt and the Exodus examining such issues as differing constructions of ethnicity, gender and sexuality; the use of Egypt as a political symbol and the effect of genre on the presentation of the base narrative. This modules allows the students to recognise the importance of Biblical material in Western popular culture and to see how the popular presentation of Biblical narratives reflects back on a reader's understanding of the material found in the Bible. Each week, one or more films/novels are discussed in student led-seminars and then group discussions supplemented by short lectures.

NM 4011: The Jews of Egypt

Duration: Semester A

Contact hours p/w: One 2-hour seminar per week

Assessment: 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 10 ECTS

Description: This module begins with an examination of the earliest traditions about Egypt in the Hebrew Bible and continues to examine Judean-Egyptian political relations in the neo-Assyrian, neo-Babylonian, Persian and Ptolemaic periods. Topics include: Jewish temples in Egypt, emigration of Jews to Egypt, The presentation of Jewish residence in Egypt in the Hebrew Bible and other traditions, the translation of the Torah into Greek at Alexandria, Judean soldiers in Egypt, the Jewish politeuma and the socio-historical background of Jewish life in Egypt.

NM 4012: Holocaust Representation in Film and Literature

Duration: Semester B

Contact hours p/w: One 2-hour seminar per week

Assessment: 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 10 ECTS

Description: This module aims to take up the philosophical and ethical questions regarding literary and filmic representation of the destruction of the Jews of Europe. Students examine a variety of sources—literary, testimony, filmic and scholarly— in order to familiarize themselves with a range of genres of Holocaust representation and with the current debates regarding the possibilities and limitations of the representation of the Holocaust. There are no prerequisites and the module is optional.

NM 4013: Islam and Gender

Duration: Semester A

Contact hours p/w: One 2-hour seminar per week

Assessment: 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 10 ECTS

Description: This module addresses the concept of gender in Islam from historical, socio-political and legal perspectives. A broad range of topics including contemporary debates on identity, feminism and sexuality are covered. The areas of Islamic law pertaining to women’s legal rights will be another topic of discussion. The changing discourse regarding construction of gender identities are explored through studies of women’s movements in Muslim majority countries. This module will encourage students to challenge stereotypes surrounding women’s status in Islam by promoting lively debates and discussions. In addition to readings there will be a number of film screenings and guest lectures. Topics include: Women at the Inception of Islam: The Prophet and Women, Women, the Qur’an and the Hadith: Women in the Qur’an and the Story of Creation, Women in Islamic Law: Marriage, Women in Islamic Law: Divorce,Sexuality and Islam, Patriarchy and Honour, Discourses on the Veil: Comparative perspectives, Islamic Feminisms and Women’s Movements: Comparative Perspectives (Iran, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Indonesia), Women and the Islamic State.

NM 4014 : Jerusalem: Constructed and Contested

Duration: Semester B

Contact hours p/w: One two-hour seminar per week

Assessment: 1 x 3,000-word essay

Weighting: 10 ECTS

Description: The status of Jerusalem in the sacred texts and traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are subjected to critical historical analysis. Events and periods that have shaped claims and counter-claims for dominion over the city’s holy places as well as it’s national and religious character are examined. The module will cover from the earliest period to the present; the period of the First Temple to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans; the Christianisation from Constantine onwards; Umayyads and Muslim Jerusalem; Jerusalem and the Crusades; Ottoman Jerusalem and the Mandate period; and Jerusalem in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (1948 to the present).

NM 4015 : Advanced Arabic Text

Duration: Semester A

Contact hours p/w: One 2-hour seminar per week

Assessment: 1 end of semester test

Weighting: 10 ECTS

Description: The successful completion of modules in introductory and intermediate Arabic is a prerequisite for this module. The module aims to familiarise students with a wider range of Arabic texts including prose and poetry. Students also engage in translation of advanced-level Arabic texts.

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