Advice on writing your essay

1.  Carefully analyse the questions that you need to address, and say what these are in your introduction.  

2.  Don't forget that every issue has a historical and theological background as well as a contemporary dimension.

3.  Identify your primary sources.  For example, if you are writing about history, your primary sources maybe sources from the period and your secondary sources may be scholarly articles and books.   BUT, if you are writing about Muslim and Christian views of a historical event, your primary sources may be current writing or interviews, and your secondary sources maybe scholarly reports on oral history. 

3.  Look at all sides of every argument.  You can think of writing an essay as being like putting an idea on trial.   You are the judge (and the prosecutor and the defence lawyer) and your readers are the jury.   The judge begins by explaining what the case is about (the introduction).  Then we hear the cases for the prosecution and the defence (the body of the essay):  the most important parts of those cases are listening to the witnesses (your sources), and each witness is going to be examined by both the prosecution and the defence.  Finally, the judge sums up the case (the conclusion).   Sometimes, the judge gives the jury clear direction on what they should conclude, but, more often, the jury has to come to their own verdict.

4.  Know what your sources are.  As the witnesses in court have to say who they are, and as the lawyers ask them about their qualifications for speaking, you should find out as much as you can about who wrote a given source and from what perspective they are writing.   

5.  DO NOT PLAGIARISE.   If you want to know more about that, there is a very useful page on the HBU website:   Plagiarism - Library Research and Study Skills - LibGuides at Houston Baptist University   

There is also a page which links you to guides on essay-writing.  

6.  Write in your own words.   Do not use quotations unless you have a good reason for doing so!

News and notices

March 12th

We congratulate Imam Munawar Hussain on his appointment by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as the new High Sheriff of Oxfordshire.

Here is an interesting discussion of Martin Whittingham's book on History of Muslim Views of the Bible

March 1st

Note that there is now more material for both core and supplementary reading on 'Jesus'.

All recordings and Power Point presentations are posted BOTH on the Program page AND under the relevant topic in the Class Material.

February 22nd

If you appreciated Dr Georgina Jardim's comments from South Africa, you might wish to read this paper:

Georgina Jardim, 'Muslim women against apartheid: Muslim women for universal values', in The Journal of Scriptural Reasoning, Vol 14 No 2, 2015.

This is the classroom for the Contemporary Issues in Muslim & Christian Dialogue course, Feb-April 2021

 

On this site, you will find:

Details of the class program - what is happening in each class.

The Zoom links for the main online classes are posted on this page.

'Class material', where you will find reading and other material for the classes.   Any recordings of lectures and class sessions will also be available here.  

 

'Members chat' (bottom right of every page), where you can 'chat' with others in the class.  You can also set up group chats.

'Share Space' where you can share ideas and set up group discussions.

'File Share', where you can upload your assignments.

'Useful links' - FREELY AVAILABLE online data bases, study resources etc.

Building Respect, Seeking Truth

An important part of the ethos of CMCS Houston is summed up in the phrase, 'Building Respect, Seeking Truth'.  We expect all course participants to respect other people and to speak truth and seek truth.

Of course, not everyone will agree with everyone else, and there is a great deal at stake in our beliefs.  But we are all here to learn, and we all need to respect each other even when we disagree with each other.

Learning

This is an academic course.  You will study a series of theological and practical issues which are the subjects of many discussions between Muslims and Christians in today's world.  Please note that you are expected to do 2-4 hours private study per week during this course.

 

In the first part of the course, the Monday and Wednesday lecture classes will feature Muslim and Christian speakers taking historical and scriptural approaches to theological topics.   You will be expected to do set reading, to take part in class discussions and to write a weekly reflection.  

 

The second part of the course will consider practical issues, many of which will be presented through student presentations.   Each student will be part of an 'Issue Group' which will meet at least 3 times to study the issue together and to prepare their allocated presentation.  You will be expected to submit a written assignment on an aspect of your chosen issue at the end of the course.

Library access

Students will be given an email and password that will give them access to the online resources of Houston Baptist University's library. You will need to log into the library in order to access some of the recommended course reading.  You are also free to access any other of the available resources during the course, and for four weeks after the completion of the course.    

PLEASE NOTE THAT ACCESS IS FOR YOU ALONE.  DO NOT GIVE THE EMAIL OR PASSWORD TO ANYONE ELSE, OR FUTURE STUDENTS MAY BE DEPRIVED OF THIS PRIVILEGE.

They have a 'Library Guides' page.  Students who are new to online library research should look at the 'Library Research' section on that page.

The 'Philosophy and Religion' tab on the Data Bases page gives links to places where you can search journals and access e-books.

The Course Leaders

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Motaz Al-Thaher

Motaz is currently a visiting scholar in the Philosophy Department at Baylor University, Waco, Texas.  He is working on a Ph.D. in the philosophy of Islamic law from the International Islamic University of Malaysia.
He is a mechanical engineer, entrepreneur, co-founder of SOLVillion, which is a startup, specialized in water solutions in Jordan, and A Business Development Manager of Fatabyyano fact-checking platform in the MENA region. Recently he joined the Maqasid Institute as the Manager of the  “Maqasid Scholars Training Program “.

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Dr Ida Glaser

Dr Glaser is the Director of CMCS Houston and one of the Founding Fellows of the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies, Oxford, where she  directs the 'Reading the Bible in the Context of Islam' research project.  She holds an M.Phil in Theoretical Physics from Imperial College, London and a Ph.D. in comparative theology from the University of Durham.   Her publications include The Bible and Other Faiths (2005), Thinking Biblically about Islam (2016), and Reading the Bible in Islamic Context (2018).