"Armstrong would never pass a graduate seminar at Weston or Harvard Div...."
-- from a reader
Really? What if these were her seminars:
1. Feminism and Islam: The Search for Common Ground (Prof. Leila Ahmed)
2. Beyond the Church, Beyond the Synagogue: America and the Pluralism Project (Prof. Diana Eck)
3. Sufism as Ritual, Sufism as Worship (Prof. William A. Graham)
4. Islam For A New World (Prof. Tariq Ramadan, Visiting Professor of European Islam Studies)
5. Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira (not given in 2006-2010; may possibly be given in 2011, if budget permits)
6. What the Occupation Does to the Soul of Israel (Bishop Thomas Shaw) -- cross-registration with the Weston School of Theology
I suspect Karen Armstrong would do quite well in seminars #1, 2, 3, 4, and especially 6. About #5, I doubt that it will ever be on offer. But if those budgetary constraints ever loosen , and seminar #6 ever materializes, don't expect the teacher or the students to focus on the Qur'anic passages, and Hadith stories, and details of Muhammad's life, that are helping make news headlines, and disrupting entire societies in the lands of the Infidels, all around this giddy globe. No, such a course will either be taught by a Muslim apologist who is a Muslim, or a non-Muslim apologist such as Esposito or, if one really must have a non-Muslim teaching the course, it will be someone who will offer only the narrowest, most forbidding, most Germanic, most philological, least lively and relevant of approaches, and the course will attract a total enrollment of three ((two of them Muslim and native speakers of Arabic, the third an enthusiastic Japanese exchange-student for whom the course might as well be taught in Sorbian or Mayalam), save for the year when Karen Armstrong, that enthusiast, signs up -- not a moment too soon -- to find out what this Qur'an that one hears so much about really contains.