Abraham Center (AC)


David Star
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Abraham Center


The Abraham Center is a unique place of study for service among the Abrahamic communities of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Faculty in the Abraham Center bring a wealth of scholarly expertise and field experience to its academic programs.

Programs   |   Courses   |   Faculty

 

The mission of the Abraham Center is to provide training and research opportunities for students so that they can pursue scholarly, professional, and intercultural activities in Abrahamic faith communities.  At the Abraham Center students gain:

  • Preparation for scholarly, professional, or intercultural service in Abrahamic communities
  • Language essentials for the study of the Abrahamic traditions
  • Working knowledge of the Abrahamic faith traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and their interrelations
  • Ability to discern points of commonality and ways of bridging differences between the Abrahamic traditions

The Abraham Center at GIAL may be
the place for you!

  • Visit our campus
  • Attend a class
  • Talk with professors one-on-one

Call us at 214.442.8657 to schedule a visit!

You can also view the latest newsletter from the Abraham Center here.

Degrees & Programs


MA with Major in Abrahamic Studies

The MA with a major in Abrahamic Studies prepares students to serve cross-culturally in and with the Abrahamic communities of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Concentrations: Islamic Worldviews or Abrahamic Worldviews (student crafted)

Concentration in Islamic Worldviews (in the MA with a major in Language & Culture Studies)

The MA with a major in Language & Culture Studies prepares students to work as specialists in their field across language and culture boundaries.  With the concentration in Islamic Worldviews, our graduates focus on Islamic cultures and their social, political, and religious worldview.  This degree is offered in partnership with GIAL’s Applied Anthropology department.

Concentration in Arts & Islam (in the MA with a major in World Arts)

The Abraham Center teams up with the Center for Excellence in World arts to provide a World Arts major with a concentration in Arts & Islam.  This degree program combines these topics for students interested in both Islamic studies and World Arts.

Graduate Certificate in Islamic Studies

This 15 credit certificate program prepares students to comprehend 21st century Islamic thought and practices by providing a basic understanding of Islamic cultures, history, and religion.

Courses


Featured Abraham Center courses are listed below. Visit GIAL’s courses page for complete offerings.  While most courses are offered at the Graduate level, we do offer some undergraduate courses in partnership with the College of International Studies at GIAL.

AC5310 Core Components of Islam (On-campus/Online/Synchronous Learning)

This course examines key elements which must be understood in relating to Muslims: beliefs, values, assumptions, allegiances, and cultural, social, communal, and religious dynamics. Attention is given to both traditional and critical approaches to the study of Islam’s history and the development of diverse, contemporary social, political and religious expressions. Particular emphasis is given to areas calling for sensitive or creative communication and lifestyle in order to overcome relational obstacles in working toward individual and community transformation.

AC5312 Islam in the 21st Century

This course explores practical and ideological variations within Islam’s current social, anthropological, political and economic concepts and structures, noting struggles with contemporary development needs, modernization, and relations with the West, in general. Insights that can facilitate understanding, communications, and relationship building between East and West will be noted and emphasized.

AC5314 Modern Islamic Religious and Political Movements

This course focuses on contemporary Islamic reform and revitalization movements, their rise and development, current status, and implications for Muslim self-understanding. Particular attention is given to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Gulen Movement, and to the secularists who emerged from the Arab Spring. Along with brief background information on Islam, this course lays the foundation of current trends, examines the issues behind the militant movement, suggests some possible responses, and looks at the competing ideological struggle between modernity and fundamentalism. Special attention will be given to understanding and constructively responding to the historical Middle East conflict.

AC5315 Abrahamic Monotheism: Abrahamic faiths, their origins and interactions

This course explores the origins and characteristics of monotheism including ways that religious cultures with no prior history of this concept have adopted it.  The course considers “Abrahamic” and “non-Abrahamic” forms of monotheism within cultural life, individual identity and cross-cultural encounter.

AC5316 Contextualization Issues Among Muslim Peoples (Online)

This course seeks to explore the nature of culturally sensitive service (contextualization) as it applies to Islamic settings, noting the history, challenges, limitations, chief components, successes and failures of such activities.  Attention is given to the widespread presence of animistic practices among Muslim peoples, the nature of those expressions and the special challenges they present to culturally relevant service.  Appropriate guidelines for effective service will be explored.

AC5318 Understanding the Qur'an (On-campus/Synchronous Learning)

This study of the Qur’an examines its organization, history of compilation, variant manuscript readings, and major themes. Students will become familiar with the major approaches to its interpretation, historical subtext in the Qur’an, and how this affects interpretation of key texts in light of the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Practical issues of etiquette, characteristics of various English translations, and how to read the Qur’an will also be studied.

GIAL Abraham Center Faculty


Mark_Harlan2

Mark Harlan, Associate Professor

Abraham Center, Chair
PhD, Fuller School of Intercultural Studies, 2005; ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1984; BS, United States Air Force Academy, 1974.
Field work: Egypt, Jordan, Sudan
Languages spoken: Arabic

Jeffrey_Feinberg

Jeffrey Feinberg, Assistant Professor

Abraham Center
PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1988; MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1985; BA, University of California at Berkeley, 1972.
Field work: Peru, Israel, American Messianic Jewish community
Languages spoken: Greek, French, and Spanish

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Kurt Anders Richardson, Associate Professor

Abraham Center
DTh, University of Basel, 1993; MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1983; BA, Los Angeles Baptist College, 1979.
Field work: Eurasia, Asia, Canada
Languages spoken: German




pat_feinberg_profile

Pat Feinberg, Associate Instructor

Applied Anthropology, Abraham Center
MA, Stanford University, 1980; MST, University of Chicago, 1976; BA, Stanford University, 1975
Field work: Peru, Israel, American Messianic Jewish community
Languages spoken: Spanish