2019 - 22nd Annual Steven Galovich Memorial Student Symposium

Presentation Title

Recontextualizing Religion through Reading: Islam and Paradise Lost

Student Presenter(s) and Advisor

Kristin A. Rawlings, Lake Forest CollegeFollow

Department or Major

English and Religion

Location

Lillard 132

Abstract

As centuries of scholarship and academic curriculum indicate, John Milton’s Paradise Lost is arguably one of the most important and influential works in both the English literary canon and the Christian tradition. Interestingly, there is no comparable theologically based work of literature in Islam. What may come as a surprise is that Paradise Lost was incredibly popular among an Islamic readership. As early as the end of the nineteenth century, Muslim scholars have drawn comparisons between Paradise Lost and important works in the Islamic philosophical and literary traditions and have argued for Milton’s possible exposure to specific works, which would suggest a direct influence on his writing of Paradise Lost. This cultural convergence is especially interesting in light of the longstanding relationship of conflict between Islam and Christianity. This talk is a comparative study of Islam and Christianity through the lens of a book that holds special meaning to both of them.

Presentation Type

Individual Presentation

Start Date

4-9-2019 2:30 PM

End Date

4-9-2019 3:45 PM

Panel

Reframing Conflict in Global Contexts

Panel Moderator

Jim Marquardt

Field of Study for Presentation

English, Religion

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Apr 9th, 2:30 PM Apr 9th, 3:45 PM

Recontextualizing Religion through Reading: Islam and Paradise Lost

Lillard 132

As centuries of scholarship and academic curriculum indicate, John Milton’s Paradise Lost is arguably one of the most important and influential works in both the English literary canon and the Christian tradition. Interestingly, there is no comparable theologically based work of literature in Islam. What may come as a surprise is that Paradise Lost was incredibly popular among an Islamic readership. As early as the end of the nineteenth century, Muslim scholars have drawn comparisons between Paradise Lost and important works in the Islamic philosophical and literary traditions and have argued for Milton’s possible exposure to specific works, which would suggest a direct influence on his writing of Paradise Lost. This cultural convergence is especially interesting in light of the longstanding relationship of conflict between Islam and Christianity. This talk is a comparative study of Islam and Christianity through the lens of a book that holds special meaning to both of them.