RLST 2600 Judaism, Christianity, and Islam


Sharon Mar Adams, Ph.D.

Email:  sharon.adams@colorado.edu


This course aims to introduce students to the three major, monotheistic religious traditions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Each religion, as we shall see, appeals to tradition and history in order to articulate its relationship with the divine.  In the process of tracing the long and rich histories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, we shall examine the beliefs and practices that became central and definitive for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. We begin with the ancient heritage of each religion (scriptures, founders, early institutions). Then, we will explore how these foundational traditions were preserved and re-invigorated in the lives of particular individuals and/or groups through social change and critical moments of political upheaval. Most significant, in this regard, is the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim encounter with their respective Holy Scriptures—as generation after generation of adherents have attempted to understand the revealed words of God, to proclaim their continual relevance for all places and all times, and to inscribe them upon their bodies and hearts through prayer, worship, and daily life.


  • To trace the history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in relation to Scripture and Tradition
  • To identify the unique elements in each tradition
  • To provide a basis for comparison and dialogue about the three traditions
  • To examine ways in which these three traditions engage the modern world


  • You will gain a broad, foundational understanding of each tradition
  • You will understand the distinctive ways each tradition thinks about the divine, its founders, its sacred texts, worship, and life in the world
  • You will become aware of challenges and promise of inter-religious dialogue
  • You will become more astute in your thinking about the role of religion in contemporary society


Grades will be calculated according to this formula:

Attendance and class participation : 10%

5 quizzes and 5 in-class writing assignments : 20%

Mid-term Exam : 20%

Final Examination : 20%

Site visits to synagogue, church or mosque + 2 writing assignments : 10%

Final reflection paper/presentation : 20%

Required Text

James Fieser and John Powers, Scriptures of the West, 2nd Edition (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2004).  Hereafter SW.

Joan Chittister, Murshid Saadi Shakur Chrishti, and Rabbi Aurthur Waskow, The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, forward by Karen Armstrong (Boston: Beacon Press, 2006).  Hereafter TA.

John Corrigan, Frederick M. Denny, Carlos M. N. Eire, and Martin S. Jaffee, Jews, Christians, MuslimsA Comparative Introduction to Monotheistic Religions, 2nd Edition (Englewood Cliffs, NJ:  Prentice Hall, 2011).  Hereafter:  JCM.

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado