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Americans, the Bible and the “Middle East” – you can still participate online!

Americans, the "Middle East" and the Bible

The Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton

The Rev. Dr.
David D. Grafton

The “Middle East,” as it is commonly known by Americans, has been a land of fascination, frustration, and fear. It has figured prominently into our national foreign policy and economic livelihood. Yet most Americans know little about the tapestry of its peoples, languages, cultures, and religions other than what they experience through American media segments. This is especially problematic in light of the violent wars in Syria, Iraq, Israel, and Palestine. American Christians have always looked to their Bibles for answers to their questions about this region of the world. Come spend five sessions as we explore the “Middle East.”

Saturday, 17 January: The “Middle East”: Our American Cultural and Political Frame of Reference

Outcomes: Participants will be able to reflect more critically on the diversity of the Middle East, and our own American assumptions about it.

Saturday, 24 January: Americans “Rediscovering” the Middle East and its People: The Bible as a Middle Eastern text

Outcomes:  Participants will be able to reflect on differently about the history and culture of the Bible, and how early American encounters impacted their and our views of the Bible and the people of the Middle East.

Saturday, 31 January: The Armageddon Factor: 1967 and its effects on the people of the Middle East

Outcomes: Participants will explore how American Christians read their Bible in light of the Six Day War, how this has impacted contemporary Christian fundamentalism, and how their own faith may be impacted.

Saturday, 7 February: “The locusts from the abyss” or “the Children of Ishmael”: American views of Islam in the Middle East

Outcomes: Participants will explore early American views of Islam and the Bible, and reflect on how this has impacted their own understanding of Islam.

Saturday, 14 February: The Promised Land or the Land of Promise: Israel/Palestine and American Christian Perspectives

Outcomes: Participants will experience Middle Eastern Christian views of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and their use of the Bible, dominant American cultural perspectives, and reflect on their own views of the current Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Your instructor

David D. Grafton is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations and the Director for Graduate Studies of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Prior to his appointment at LTSP, he served as the Coordinator of Graduate Studies at the Evangelical (Presbyterian) Theological Seminary in Cairo, Director of the Center for Middle East Christianity at the ETSC, and adjunct lecturer in Islamic studies at the Dar Comboni Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Cairo, Egypt. He has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, University of Birmingham, England. Dr. Grafton’s academic interests focus on Christian-Muslim relationships in the Middle East, including 19th and 20th century Islamic social-political thought, 19th and 20th Protestant missionary thought on Islam, and Middle East Christianity. Learn more about Prof. Grafton on his profile page.


Five consecutive Saturdays, January 17 to February 14, 2015

  • live on the LTSP campus from 10 am to noon
  • and flexible* online
  • the choice is yours!


Live on the LTSP Campus over five consecutive Saturdays, January 17 to February 14, 2015, from 10 am to noon.

  • Join Dr. Grafton live in the classroom to learn and share with class colleagues.

Online for five weeks beginning January 19.

  • View course videos, participate in discussion forums with class colleagues, and other activities.

The cost

Cost for the course is $200 for individuals enrolling for flexible classroom or online study – a single registration covers both. The cost for congregational groups of two or more is $275 per group.

Register below!

For more information contact Kathie Afflerbach, AiM, LTSP Coordinator of Non-Credit Education, at 215.248.6324 or email

Fill out my online form.

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"Centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia seeks to educate and form public leaders who are committed to developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith for engagement in the world."