Messianic Movements in Muslim History
- Course Code:
- Unit value:
- Year of study:
- Year 2 or Year 3
- Taught in:
- Term 1
Students taking this course are expected to have at least basic knowledge of Islam from a non-faith-based perspective; preferably also in the history and religious particularities of the Shiʿi denominations.
This course is taught in seminar style, i.e. there will not be any formal division in lecture and tutorial, but a reading-based classroom discussion with the occasional elucidation by the course tutor.
Objectives and learning outcomes of the course
At the end of the course, a student should be able to:
- apply sociological categories that were developed for the explanation of religious millenarianism in general to specific phenomena in an Islamic context;
- assess the interdependence of religious and political authority both in general and in specific relation to Islamic traditions;
- assess the relationship of messianism with religious orthodoxy in the Islamic tradition;
- identify the denominational variant understandings of the concept of “mahdī”, its soteriological role and possible non-Islamic origins;
- general undergraduate skills, e.g. in writing, critical thinking and argument, necessary for the academic study of a religion within a Study-of-Religions framework.
Method of assessment
One 3 000 words essay (worth 50%), one 3 000 words book review (worth 50%).
- Blichefeldt, J-O. (1985) Early Mahdism: politics and religion in the formative period of Islam, Leiden.
- Sachedina, A. A. (1981) Islamic Messianism: The Idea of the Mahdi in Twelver Shiism, Albany.
- Halm, H. (1996) The Empire of the Mahdi: the Rise of the Fatimids, Leiden.