Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Interrelated Religious Traditions is an upper-division seminar designed to introduce students from a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, as well as cultural and religious backgrounds, to an analysis of the complex interrelatedness of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It seeks to present Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as living traditions whose historical origins, current interactions, and future development will continue to shape the spiritual, cultural, political, and economic aspects of human civilization.
The course encourages critical thinking, cross-cultural engagement, and the ability to discern recurring patterns in diverse contextual settings. The goal is for the students to examine each religious tradition objectively and with academic rigor through a curriculum that includes the study of sacred texts, the critical examination of historical evidence, the analysis of key religious teachings and their political, sociological, and cultural impact both past and present. A key characteristic of Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Interrelated Religious Traditions is a comparative religious studies approach complemented by experiential learning opportunities, such as field trips to places of worship as well as the participation of guest speakers who are renowned scholars and recognized leaders within the three respective traditions. This approach enables the students to acquire a solid grasp of the internal ethos of each of the three traditions.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Interrelated Religious Traditions is an exceptionally popular course at UCLA that is fully enrolled with a waiting list several weeks before the term starts. On a 0-9 point scale, the average student evaluations of the course are in the 8-9 range. The course also inspires students to take other courses in comparative religion. So, for example, about 25% of the students in the Fall, 2013 course enrolled in a subsequent course on The Bible and the Qur’an.