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Prof. Dr. Eric Ormsby


The Institute of Ismaili Studies

Eric Ormsby received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies, with specialties in Islamic theology and philosophy, at Princeton University. He has taught at Princeton, The Catholic University of America, McGill University and the Institute of Ismaili Studies, as well as previously in Intellectural Encounters of the Islamicate World. He is the author of Theodicy in Islamic Thought (Princeton, 1984) among other scholarly books and articles on the subject of Islamic theology.

Course Title: Introduction to Islamic Theology

Course Description:

An Introduction to Islamic Theology will trace the history of Islamic theology from its origins to the present day; beginning with selected interpretations of key Qur’anic passages, it will cover the earliest theological movements with attention to specific issues, such as free will, diviine attributes, the nature of the Qur’an and the creation of the world. Both Sunni and Shi’i systems of thought will be discussed. Readings of classical Arabic theological texts will be included. The course will follow theological developments up to the modern period with consideration of some contemporary reform theologians and their predecessors.

Introductory Readings:

  • van Ess, Josef. The Flowering of Muslim Theology (Harvard, 2006), chapter 1
  • Gardet, Louis. “'Ilm al-Kalām” in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, second edition.
  • Ormsby, Eric. “Islamic Theology” in The Oxford Handbook of World Theology, ed Jay L. Garfield (Oxford, 2011), pp. 426-440.