Folklore | Middle East Worldview & Religions
F307 | 26079 | El-Shamy


Meets with FOLK-F 617.  This course deals with folk and popular
religious ideologies, practices, and related manifestations in
Middle Eastern societies. Emphasis, however, is placed on Arab and
Moslem groups.

	I. Historical backgrounds to contemporary religious
ideologies and worldviews. Religious belief systems in the ancient
Middle East (Nile Valley--Egypt, Mesopotamia, Assyria). The
emergence of monotheism. Modes of expression associated with these
systems. Do earlier forms exist at the present time and to what
extent?

	II. Semitic monotheism: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. An
historical background. Islam as a sacred ideology and a charter for
living. The development of sects and religio political movements.
The impact of these movements on art, literature, lore, and
worldviews.

	III. In depth study of the belief practice systems of
selected groups: Cosmology, God, supernatural beings, the soul. The
cults of healing and exorcism. Prophecy and sainthood. Sufi and
similar organizations and their role in contemporary social and
political life. Movements of revitalization, reinterpretation and
syncretism, revivalism (fundamentalism). Expressive forms associated
with folk and popular religious ideologies. (madÓh, zikr, "epic
sÓrah," the religious ballad, masrah at-tacziyah (miracle play) etc.
Festivals and festive occasions.

	IV. Folk traditional components in contemporary East-West
conflicts

	V. The structure and composition of the belief-practice
spectrum as cognitive-affective system.


Exams: Two, take home
Term paper: One