10333 Ethiopia: Christianity, Islam, Judaism 1

Credits: 6 advanced credits in History of the Middle East or in Modern History or in Modern History of the Jewish People or in Medieval History or in Medieval History of the Jewish People

Prerequisites: 36 credits, including one course in Modern History or in History of the Middle East. Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

Authors: Haggai Erlich, Steven Kaplan, Hagar Salamon

The course deals with the religious dimension and its role in the history of Ethiopia, from the beginning of the Middle Ages to the present. The first part of the course focuses on Christianity in Ethiopia as the cultural and political framework of values of the hegemonic majority who established the Ethiopian monarchy and ruled it for generations. It analyzes the development of the spiritual-theological elements of Ethiopia’s unique form of Christianity and their role in the history of the country and its foreign relations.

The second part discusses Islam in Ethiopia. Many Islamic communities formed a part of the Ethiopian fabric and currently comprise half of the population. This section deals with the structure of Ethiopian Islam and its development as the minority religion contending with the national Christian hegemony. It also follows Ethiopia’s relations with Middle Eastern countries.

The third part of the course focuses on Ethiopian Jews. This part attempts to understand the essence of this special Jewry, its customs and practices, and its development and historical place in the multi-faceted religious and social fabric of Ethiopian society.

1Students may write a seminar paper in this course, although it is not required.

This course is also offered in Russian (42301). Its description is available on the Russian-language website of the Open University (https://www-r.openu.ac.il/).

There is some overlap in the content of this and other courses. For details, see Overlapping Courses.