Great World Religions: Islam : The Great Courses: Comparative & World Religion

  • by The Great Courses, John L. Esposito
  • Narrated by Professor John L. Esposito
  • Series: The Great Courses: Comparative & World Religion
  • 6 hrs and 8 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

How familiar are you with the world's second-largest and fastest-growing religion? In these 12 lectures, Professor Esposito guides you through the facts and myths surrounding Islam and its more than 1.2 billion adherents. Many in the West know little about the faith and are familiar only with the actions of a minority of radical extremists, but this lecture series will help you better understand Islam's role as both a religion and a way of life, and its deep impact on world affairs both historically and today.
What does the future hold for Islam and the West in the new century? How will it change under the influence of conservatives, reformers, and extremists? Moving from Muhammad to the present, from the 7th to the 21st centuries, you'll explore Muslim beliefs, practices, and history in the context of its significance and impact on Muslim life and society through the ages, as well as world events today. Topics you'll cover include the life and legacy of the prophet Muhammad; the nature and true meaning of jihad; the Muslim beliefs about other faiths such as Judaism and Christianity; Islamic contributions to mathematics, science, and art; the intricate relationship between Islam, modernization, capitalism, and democracy; and much more.
Professor Esposito takes a closer look at the historical development of two great Islamic institutions: Islamic law and Islamic mysticism. And he examines the worldwide "struggle for the soul of Islam" occurring today between conservatives and reformers, mainstream Muslims and extremists.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good Info, Less than I Wanted, AWFUL LECTURER

The information was good and respectful, and was presented well. I did learn stuff about Islam.

I'd been hoping for a LOT more detail, but that's largely my own fault for failing to notice that it was only a 6h course, as opposed to the 21h course I'd last purchased. Lesson learned!

But he was SO HARD to listen to! So many long random pauses! I listened to most of the course on 1.5x, and all was much improved, but there was still the occasional odd too-long pause. Even at 2x his speech patterns were distracting!

If I were to do this again, I'd look for the same lecturer's book on Audible, which looks to contain much of the same content, but is narrated by someone else.
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- Claire

Introduction with depth and without bias

I was cautious at first, given that a shallow, slanted view trends to sell better than a more nuanced look; especially given the current political climate.

I was quickly, pleasantly surprised by the quality of these lectures. Mr. Esposito provides a wonderful introduction to Islam, customs, and mainstream thought while giving historical and comparative analysis. Mr. Esposito also addresses extremism, it's relation/separation to the mainstream and gives context for verses (taken out of context) commonly used to justify extremism. Mr. Esposito them goes even further to explain how extremists are actually in violation of Islam.

Throughout, Mr. Esposito gives references and points to exact instances to support the material. Thus, he avoids the all too common trap of, "trust me, I have a title. "

I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about Islam, whether they were new to the topic or well versed. Mr. Esposito uses an academic approach, so if you are expecting proscletizing you will be disappointed. But, if you have a genuine curiosity, you will not be disappointed.
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- Richard C.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses