HST2042: Religion in an Age of Terror: Ancient Texts and the Making of Modern Israel

20 credits (semester 1)

Module Leader: Dr Mark Finney



Pass in at least two of the Level One modules History Units HST112-121.


Module Summary

It is often said that that religious texts provoke and sanction violence, and even that religion itself is inherently violent. Even a cursory glance at world affairs would show that religion is at the heart of today’s ongoing struggle between nations and ideology. Religion may be a motivator and catalyst in rallying popular support for waging war, and in fact may play a significant role in nurturing communal strife among various faith groups. This module is designed to acquaint students with the analytical study of religion, identity, conflict & violence on the world stage. By design, the course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of historical sources covering areas in religion (theology/philosophy), sociology (ethno-religious & identity conflicts), ethics and politics. The course will help students comprehend the global resurgence of religion in intra-state and international affairs, and will focus on a specific area in the world where religion is the primary issue: the modern Middle East. We will address the role religion plays in the early years (1947-67) of the Arab Israeli conflict, and offer possible resolutions. Through reading assignments and personal reflection students will begin to address the role religion plays in the conflicts, the determination of whether religion is the basis of the given conflict, and possible resolutions to the conflict


Teaching and Assessment

The lectures-seminars will be interactive, allowing you to gain vital background information about points of influence and impact involving the critical study of religion and conflict, while also engaging in oral debate, practicing their analytical skills through close, methodologically sophisticated study of primary sources and helping you process the required reading and expand your understanding by building upon it.

The resource materials will introduce you to new ideas and issues, challenge you to examine a range of proposed solution, and encourage you to reach an informed critical perspective of your own in independent study. The focus on the application of information gained from such materials and independent study to selected case-studies will further encourage critical assessment of religion and violence in historic and contemporary perspectives.

Students are assessed through three five-hundred-word source responses on which they will receive written feedback (33%). Group presentations and class participation contribute toward an overall oral mark worth 17%. An unseen examination testing awareness and command of the source material and wider scholarly literature provides the summative assessment (50%).

Information on assessment can be found at: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/history/current_students/undergraduate/assessment/level2


Selected Reading

To follow


Intended Learning Outcomes
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