Jerusha T. Rhodes, MA, PhD
Associate Professor of Islam & Interreligious Engagement
3041 Broadway, AD 418
New York, NY 10027
B.A., The American University, 1997
M.A., Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences, 2004
M.A., Georgetown University, 2010
Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2011
Jerusha T. Rhodes is Associate Professor of Islam & Interreligious Engagement at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Her research focuses on interreligious engagement and religious pluralism, comparative theology, and Muslima theology.
Dr. Rhodes earned a Ph.D. in Theological and Religious Studies with a focus on Religious Pluralism at Georgetown University in 2011. She also received an M.A. in Islamic Sciences at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences, and an M.A. in Theological and Religious Studies at Georgetown University. Before joining the Union faculty in July of 2012, she was Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology at Georgetown University.
Dr. Rhodes’ first book, Never Wholly Other: A Muslima Theology of Religious Pluralism (Oxford University Press, March 2014), explores the Qur’anic discourse on religious ‘otherness’. In this book, she draws upon feminist theology and semantic methodology to re-interpret the Qur’anic discourse and challenge notions of clear and static religious boundaries by distinguishing between and illuminating the complexity of multiple forms of religious difference.
Her second book, Divine Words, Female Voices: Muslima Explorations in Comparative Feminist Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018), uses the approach of comparative feminist theology to engage diverse Muslim and Christian feminist, womanist, and mujerista voices. It argues for the value of comparative feminist theological engagement and proposes constructive Muslima insights relating to Divine revelation; textual hermeneutics of the hadith and Bible; Prophet Muhammad and Mary as feminist exemplars; theological anthropology; and ritual prayer, tradition, and change.
Dr. Rhodes is currently working on two book projects. The first is a book on interreligious engagement, which introduces central questions, concerns, and strategies for effective and ethical engagement. The project underscores the necessity of an interreligious consciousness, especially for religious and ethical leaders, and explores the intersections among religious diversity, racism, sexism, and religious supremacy. The second project is focused on interreligious and multireligious engagement in Ghana, West Africa. It explores various historical and contemporary examples of engagement with the goal of uncovering recurring norms and values that are relevant to other multireligious contexts.
Dr. Rhodes’ other publications focus on religious pluralism, Muslima theology, ecumenical relations, Vatican II, and African traditional religions. They include “Beyond the Rays of Truth? Nostra Aetate, Islam, and the Value of Difference,” in Nostra Aetate & the Future of Interreligious Dialogue (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2017); “Toward a MuslimaTheology: Constructive, Theological, and Comparative Possibilities,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion Vol. 33, No. 1 (Spring 2017); “Thinking Differently about Difference: Muslima Theology and Religious Pluralism,” The Journal of Interreligious Studies, Issue 13 (Winter 2014); “Lateral and Hierarchical Religious Difference in the Qur’an,” in Understanding Religious Pluralism (Wipf & Stock, 2014); “Embracing Relationality and Theological Tensions: Muslima Theology, Religious Diversity, and Fate” in Between Heaven and Hell: Islam, Salvation, and the Fate of Others (Oxford Univ. Press, 2013); “From Sexual Difference to Religious Difference: Toward a MuslimaTheology of Religious Pluralism” in Muslima Theology: The Voices of Muslim Women Theologians (Peter Lang, 2013); “‘Mapping’ the Religious Other: The Second Vatican Council’s Approach to Protestantism,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 45:4 (Fall 2010); and “Mysticism in African Thought” in New Dictionary of the History of Ideas (Scribner & Sons, 2004).
Religions in the City: Introduction to Interreligious Engagement (Fall 2017)
Islamic Religious Thought and Practice (Fall 2017)
Islamophobia (Spring 2018)
Comparative Feminist Theology: Islam and Christianity (Spring 2018)
FALL 2020, FALL 2021
This course introduces the field of interreligious engagement through readings, site visits, spiritual practices, and self-reflection. It aims to cultivate understanding of the phenomenon of religious diversity, central questions and concerns that arise in relation to religious diversity, and prominent approaches to interreligious engagement.
This course introduces the central concerns, sources, and debates of Islamic ethics. We explore the relationship between Islamic ethics and other Islamic religious sciences-including usul ul-Qur'an (Qur'anic sciences), fiqh (law), and ibadat (ritual), and survey key classical perspectives and scholars (available in translation). The course then examines contemporary perspectives on a variety of topics, including gender and sexuality, interreligious relations, economics, environmentalism, medical ethics, and violence and pacifism. Throughout all, emphasis is placed on developing proficiency in the terminology and tools of Islamic ethical thought; on understanding the interconnections between various conceptions of the Divine, the human person, and society; and on understanding the ways in which diversity and context shape ethical perspectives.
This course examines Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate in the context of the United States. The course introduces historical, theological, cultural, legal, and institutional aspects of Islamophobia, and probes the ways in which Islamophobia intersects with anti-black racism, sexism and hegemonic feminism, and religious supremacy. The course also focuses on diverse strategies for combatting Islamophobia, and requires students to articulate their own, contextually responsive strategies.
SEPTEMBER 2020, FALL 2021
This course introduces Islamic religious thought by exploring foundational sources, religious sciences, institutions, and debates related to theology, exegesis, law, and ethics. Emphasis is on connections and distinctions among various branches of religious thought; diversity within traditions; and major theologians, exegetes, scholars, and jurists. A foundation is provided for students focused on Islam, as well as for students seeking a robust introduction to Islam.
This course aims to introduce students to the Qur'ān—the central touchstone in Islamic thought and practice— through intensive engagement with the text (in translation) and through exploration of the historical, practical and interpretative traditions surrounding the text. The course surveys historical origins and development, highlights the Qur'ān’s pervasive role in the daily lives, rituals and artistic expressions of Muslims, and examines Qur'ānic form, content, and interpretation.
This course explores the feminist theological thought in Islam and Christianity, utilizing the theoretical lens of comparative theology. It aims to cultivate an understanding of both traditions by exploring theological methods (the “hows”) and theological subjects (the “whats”). It also probes the manner in which critical comparison of the two traditions complicates and potentially enriches each tradition.