DEPARTMENT OF MEDITERRANEAN AND NEAR EASTERN STUDIES

The Mediterranean world encompasses three continents: Western Asia, North Africa, and Southern Europe. The history of the Mediterranean region is the history of the interaction of the cultures and people of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea-the central superhighway throughout history of transport, trade, and cultural exchange between diverse peoples. Its history is important to understanding the origin and development of the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Canaanite, Phoenician, Hebrew, Carthaginian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian, Ottoman, Christian, and Islamic cultures, not to mention the history and culture of the Arabs. Its history and culture is important to understanding the Bible both in its context and for modern times.

The Mediterranean world is the cultural stage for civilization with both the clash and cross-fertilization of cultures. It continues as one of the world's most strategic regions and the church's greatest missional challenge. It is the birthplace of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths. Studying within the department introduces one to the rich heritage of the Middle East and Mediterranean world including Islamic sources (religion, history, culture, society, ethics, politics), and to current culture and media of the Arab world. It provides insight into these places and peoples that continue to play a major role on the world stage. It does so from a biblical, theological, and missional perspective and with the purpose of deepening the understanding of Scripture, the Great Controversy metanarrative, and the critical issues/turning points of salvation history.

The department offers one graduate degree program, one BA level concentration or minor, Arabic language instruction, and cutting-edge research/symposia via its Adventist Institute for Islamic and Arabic Studies. Additionally, and in cooperation with Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, the department expects to host a yearly summer cohort MAR in Mediterranean Studies beginning Summer of 2019.

MEU's Faculty of Philosophy and Theology is emerging as the knowledge center for the global Adventist community on Islamic, Arabic, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern culture and society. The expertise of an international faculty, relevant library holdings, culturally rich learning context, and pleasant instructional facilities provide an enriching post-graduate learning experience.

Master of Arts in Islamic Studies

As the faith of over a billion of the world's people, Islam exerts significant influence as a religion and a civilization in the culture and politics of world history, and the globalized context of the modern world. The MA degree in Islamic Studies is offered to thought leaders, administrators, educators, or professionals who seek a deeper understanding of the beliefs and values of Islam together with the needs of dominant faith communities that interact with the Christian religion in the Middle East North Africa region. Its instructional environment provides a real life context of living in an Islamic and Middle East setting dealing with the experience of Christian-Islamic coexistence. It seeks to provide knowledge, understanding, skills, and attitudes that promote respect and dialogue in the context of the Islamic religious understanding. The program provides a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to Islamic faith and practice, culture and society, language, history, and ethics, from a biblical and Seventh-day Adventist perspective.

The program is delivered largely through intensive classes that are taught on campus in either four consecutive summer sessions of 9 weeks each, or four consecutive semesters of 15 weeks each (two summers plus a fall and spring semester). Students whose mother tongue is not Arabic or who have not completed their secondary education in a school where Arabic was not used as the language of instruction are required to take two prerequisite 4-credit Arabic language courses that are not part of the MA in Islamic Studies program. These courses must be taken in order and in time sequence over two consecutive semesters.

The program will require considerable reading and study before and between sessions. Students will be supplied with relevant course outlines and textbooks at least six months prior to each session.

Program

The teaching methods will vary, including preparatory reading, lectures, class discussions, research, case studies, tutorials, field trips, and the exegetical practice of the Bible and the Qur'an. Skills will be developed in the following areas that cover the respective topics:

Language. Communication or language skills are indispensable, because without language, effective communication of the gospel is very difficult. Students will develop a working knowledge of Arabic language needed in everyday communication and basic understanding of the Qur'an. For those who need it, a proficiency in English will also be developed.

Religion of Islam. Students will develop a deeper knowledge of the Qur'an and the belief system of Islam, will know how this informs rituals and practices, and will be able to better interpret the Qur'an. They will understand the history and belief system of Islam and the factors in its development within the Middle East and as a global phenomenon.

Ethics. Students will gain a biblically informed perspective of the moral themes, values, issues of human rights, and ethics in Islamic and Arabic culture and society.

Theology. Students will study key Adventist values and teachings together with worldview in relation to Islam and compare Islamic thought with Biblical revelation. They will become skilled in the exegesis of Scripture alongside the Qur'an and know the distinctives of the Adventist faith and values in relation to Islamic thought.

Culture. Students will study the various aspects of Islamic culture, patterns of society and its organization from both a biblical and contemporary perspective

Methodology. Students will come to understand cross-cultural interaction and to learn biblically informed approaches for meeting the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs of Muslims and those either living in or originally from the Middle East North Africa region of the world.

Prerequisite courses required of students without adequate Arabic language background:

Islamic Studies Concentration/Minor for Bachelor of Arts in Theology

The Faculty of Philosophy and Theology's Department of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies provides an Islamic Studies concentration/minor as additional non-degree coursework and/or course transfer credit course work for cross-registered BA in Theology students from affiliate Adventist universities. The concentration or minor provides BA in Theology level engagement in the rich heritage of the Middle East and Arab world at large. It nurtures knowledge, understanding, skills, and attitudes that promote respect and dialogue in the context of the Islamic religious understanding (faith and practice, history, language, culture, society, ethics, politics) as well as biblically informed approaches to touching a Muslim's heart through personal service and a Christ-centered witness.

The Islamic Studies Concentration/Minor coursework is open to Junior and Senior cross-registered Theology students from affiliate Adventist universities for degree credit. A certificate of completion is provided for non-degree students.

Master of Arts in Religion (Mediterranean Studies)

This cohort program, Master of Arts in Religion with a concentration in Mediterranean Studies, will be offered on the MEU campus by Andrews University Seminary, in Berrien Springs, Michigan. It is a yearly spring cohort beginning in 2019. For further details, contact: theology@meu.edu.lb.

Arabic Language Instruction

As the major language of the Middle East and North Africa and spoken by 280 million people around the world, Arabic is the living medium of a vibrant contemporary literature and culture. Arabic is also the language of Islam, the faith of over a billion of the world's people. Instruction in Arabic provides students with the necessary tools to better connect with the Islamic worldview and culture as well as develop a basic understanding of the Qur'an. Additionally, the study of the Arabic language Bible in relation to the Qur'an and Islamic piety enables one to become acquainted with the spiritual language of the Muslim soul from a biblical perspective.

Arabic language courses offered include MA in Islamic Studies prerequisites, the closer reading of the Qur'an and Islamic religious literature (in terms of syntax, grammar, vocabulary, and exegesis/interpretation) for MA in Islamic Studies requisites, and more general Arabic language non-degree courses in the broader reading, writing, speaking, and listening matrix of Arabic language skills needed for effective personal interaction and service among Arabic speaking people.

The department's Arabic language instruction is a non-degree program. Students who are not seeking a language degree but wishing to take MEU courses for academic credit may be admitted as non-degree students if they meet the minimum requirements for MEU admission. MEU is both anfad AAA accredited institution, and one recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education in Lebanon. Therefore, degree-seeking students at other recognized institutions who wish to augment their education by enrolling for a period of time at MEU are welcome to take ALNG courses. The courses will fulfill their needs as semester-abroad and year-abroad students, along with their regular courses.

In addition to the Arabic Language courses, the department also offers a number of complementary courses in history, culture, and religion.

Islamic Studies Language Courses and Prerequisites

The department offers students in both the undergraduate concentration in Islamic Studies and the graduate programs the necessary courses to meet the degree prerequisites and requirements, based on the student's Arabic language skills.

Arabic Language and Culture Program

The Arabic Language and Culture Program runs during the academic year and is divided into two academic semesters, Fall and Spring. Students participating in the program receive instruction in the Arabic language with classes focused on conversation, grammar, vocabulary, and writing, as well as spiritual life and service in an Arabic context.

Along with the classes, students participate in cultural and service oriented outings throughout the academic year; traveling to various historic and iconic destinations within Lebanon and other nearby Middle Eastern countries. Through their participation, students gain a broader worldview as well as experience the various historical and archaeological sites visited within the context of the great controversy, the history of the church, and its continued mission today. The program provides a comprehensive orientation to the region's unique spiritual/moral needs and the opportunity for personal development towards a life of service to people hailing from these Middle Eastern and North African countries.

Tuition for the program is based on covering the expenses of the entire program including course credits, room, board, food, cultural tours, and fees. Trips outside of Lebanon include visits to the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Turkey may be visited as well depending on the program's enrollment in a given year.

The program is directly affiliated with Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA), which is managed from the offices of the North American Division (NAD). Students at Seventh-day Adventist consortium schools in North America and Australia can participate in the program while remaining enrolled at their home institutions. Prospective students not attending one of the consortium schools have the choice to apply and register through a consortium institution or apply directly to MEU for admission.

Admission requirements for students applying through ACA can be found on their website (www.aca-noborders.com). All other interested students should follow the normal admissions procedures of MEU when applying.

Adventist Institute for Islamic and Arabic Studies

The Adventist Institute for Islamic and Arabic Studies provides research and symposia opportunities together with library holdings towards both academic and workshop training/orientation in Islamic and Arabic Studies. The Institute's goal is to develop and sustain relevant biblically informed curriculum and research in Arab and Islamic Studies on the campus of Middle East University towards its becoming the knowledge center for the global Adventist community on Middle Eastern culture and society.