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Tom BurmanKNOXVILLE—Discussion of the Muslim book of faith, the Koran, generates a wide range of opinions. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Professor of History Tom Burman will look at many of these historical viewpoints in this week’s College of Arts and Sciences Pregame Showcase, “Christians’ Reaction to the Koran in History.”

The showcase will take place Saturday, October 29, before the Vols’ home game against South Carolina. The showcase will begin at 5:15 p.m., two hours before the game’s kickoff. Featuring a thirty-minute presentation followed by a fifteen-minute question-and-answer session, each showcase is free and open to the public and held in the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center Room 213. Light refreshments are provided, and guests have a chance to win door prizes. Guests who complete a registration form receive a 10 percent discount coupon for game day purchases from the UT Bookstore.

During the showcase, Burman will present examples of how Christians have read and reacted to the book over the course of history.

“I’ll first discuss an example of a medieval European Christian who found the Koran to be a dangerous and false holy book and reacted accordingly,” said Burman. “While we might assume that this is the only way that Christians have reacted to the Koran, the other examples will demonstrate that other, very different responses were possible, as well.

“In the late Middle Ages, for example, beautiful, expensive copies of the Koran were given to wealthy, cultured Christians as gifts that demonstrated their sophistication and exotic tastes, while the many Christians who have lived, all the way down to the present, within Islamic countries frequently borrowed Koranic language and phraseology for use in their Christian writing,” he said.

Burman’s research focuses on intellectual and religious interactions between Latin Christendom and Arab Islam, specifically in the translation and circulation of Arabic works in medieval and early-modern Europe. He has published four scholarly books and sixteen scholarly articles and has presented his research at more than forty professional conferences and invited lectures. He has received more than $200,000 in awards and fellowships for his research, including the Rockefeller Residential Research Fellowship at the Center for the Study of Islamic Societies and Civilizations at Washington University. He has also been a visiting fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

Burman teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on the Crusades, medieval Spain and the Mediterranean, Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and medieval and Renaissance intellectual history.

The rest of the showcase lineup includes:

  • November 5–Casey Sams, associate professor of theater, will present “Creating Choreography for the Clarence Brown Stage,” as she examines the role of a choreographer in theatrical production, using examples from two of this fall’s Clarence Brown Theatre productions.
  • November 19–Michael Knight, professor of English, presents “The Typist: An Author’s Translation of History Into Fiction,” talking about his inspiration for and the writing of his novel about an American soldier working as a typist in General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters in post-war Tokyo.

The Pregame Showcase is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences. Sponsorship is also provided by WUOT 91.9 FM, with support from the UT Knoxville Office of Alumni Affairs and UT Athletics. For more information, visit

C O N T A C T :

Beth Gladden (865-974-9008,