Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Ekstrom Library, Chao Auditorium 2215 S. 3rd Street , Louisville, Kentucky 40208
In the book, Spellberg reveals a little-known but crucial dimension of American religious freedom. In 1765, Jefferson bought a Qur'an, sparking a lifelong interest in Islam. For instance, he took extensive notes on how Islam related to English common law. Spellberg recounts how a handful of Founders, including Jefferson, drew upon Englightenment ideas about the toleration of Muslims (so-called outsiders of Western society) to fashion a debate on whether Muslims should be considered in talks and policy on religious pluralism. Jefferson's consideration of Muslims became decisive in the judgment to not establish a Protestant nation, as was being considered.
Spellberg is an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin where she teaches on Islam in American and European history, medieval Islamic history, religion and gender.
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