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RLT3470 - The Religious Quest: Judaism, Christianity and Islam

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Constant Mews


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)


Judaism, Christianity and Islam each claim to present a vision of the "people of God." This unit will examine critically the nature, evolution and interaction of these three monothiestic traditions as they have developed from late antiquity to the modern period. It will investigate their common heritage from the borders of the Mediterranean world - belief in one God, the idea of prophetic inspiration and the notion of sacred scripture - and ask why each of these traditions has evolved in ways that have often been mutually exclusive.


Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to demonstrate:

  1. Familiarity with the major texts which constitute sources for the historical study of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
  2. Knowledge of some of the problems of interpretation identified and debated by historians of religion.
  3. Skill in using reference materials available as sources for the study, engaging in as extensive a reading program as possible.
  4. Knowledge of the answers given by the religions concerned to perennial questions about such matters as the existence of God or gods, the sequel to death, the problem of suffering, and the ultimate authority for moral statements.
  5. Well-developed skills in writing research essays in greater depth, with thorough documentation derived from extensive use of primary sources and thorough examination of the research literature, including journal articles.


Tutorial exercises and long essay (total 2500 words): 65%
Examination (1.5 hours): 35%

Contact hours

2.5 hours (1 x 1.5 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial) per week