World Scriptures 3: the Mediterranean

Instructor:  Arlin Larson

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Required Text

Three of the world’s great religions originated in the Middle East. Each is based on a sacred book that traces itself to a man named Abraham from the 2nd millennium BCE. The sacred books – Tanakh, New Testament, Qur’an* – are closely intertwined. Christians incorporated the Hebrew Scriptures in their entirety. The New Testament was written in constant conversation with the Tanakh. Likewise, Islamic scripture carries on a similar dialogue with both the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament.

We will examine core passages in these core scriptures. For the Tanakh, it will be the story of the Exodus – Israel’s escape from slavery in Egypt. In the New Testament, we will look at the Gospel of Mark, the first telling of the story of Jesus. In the Qur’an, we will look at passages illustrating Muhammad’s call for submission to Allah and his complicated relationship to Judaism and Christianity.

Required Texts: All three scriptures are available online. For those wanting printed versions, there are many choices. JPS TANAKH: The New JPS Translation according to the Traditional Hebrew Text, by Jewish Publication Society. New Testament – New Revised Version of the Bible by National Council of Churches. *The Qur’an (Oxford World’s Classics) by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem.

The Rev. Dr. Arlin T. Larson has taught Senior College courses on a variety of topics in philosophy and religion. He received his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. He is now retired after a career in parish ministry, college chaplaincy, and college teaching, most recently serving First Congregational Church of Searsport, ME.