A Forum for Student Dialogue on Themes of Islamic and Peace Studies
(Related Courses: Religion 270, 272, 275, 276, 373)


گفتگوی علمی و بین المللی دانشجویان مطالعات اسلامی و خاور میانه
This website serves students of Oberlin College in Islamic Studies. It provides a dialogue forum with focus on Art, Architecture, Friendship and Peace Studies, Literature, Civilization, the Qur'an, and Spirituality. Students taking related courses are invited to write short response papers and also receive commentaries on their perspectives from colleagues at Oberlin College and other academic institutions in U.S. and abroad. The website provides a possibility for open international, intercultural, and interdisciplinary dialogue on aspects and characteristics of Islamic religion, culture, and Civilization.
Unwise Replacements of Friendship

Unwise Replacements of Friendship

When doing extensive reading on friendship over the course of many historical periods, it becomes clear that, no matter what the attitude about it is at the time, there will always be advocates for friendship (even if it is more of a minority than we would like). Michael Mitias is one of these advocates; he(…)

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Neither Beasts nor Gods

Neither Beasts nor Gods

What are the main arguments of Michael Mitias proposing that friendship must come back to social life as a moral paradigm and given impediments he enumerates, how modern theologians-philosophers such as Wadell, Schall, Jeanrond and Deleuze can help the realization of Mitias’ proposal?   “[Whoever] is delighted in solitude is either a beast or a(…)

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Contemporary Philosophy and the Return to Friendship

Contemporary Philosophy and the Return to Friendship

In his groundbreaking book Friendship: A Central Moral Value philosopher Michael H. Mitias traces a genealogy of paradigms which has left the value of friendship noticeably absent from modern philosophy, theology, and discourse in general. Paradigms, which Mitias describes as the conceptual frameworks which fundamentally guide the behaviors and attitudes of human beings, evolve over(…)

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Justice and Freedom: Can they exist alongside friendship?

Justice and Freedom: Can they exist alongside friendship?

Rachel Wolchok Professor Mahallati RELG 274 March 16, 2019   Moral Paradigm Shifts for a more Friendship-centered World   In his book Friendship: A Central Moral Value, Michael Mitias explores the ideals crucial to societies in the Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern times in the context of friendship. This analysis illustrates the gradual shift away from(…)

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Mitias on the Modern Moral Paradigm Crisis

Mitias on the Modern Moral Paradigm Crisis

Throughout the modern time friendship was considered either sub- or super- ethics. Either way friendship became not a central issue of philosophers. While in the Hellenic and Hellenistic periods one could argue friendship was a central moral paradigm, there was a change in medieval times decentralizing it to the periphery where it remains today. One(…)

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Bringing Friendship Back to Religion and Politics

Bringing Friendship Back to Religion and Politics

Friendship: A Central Moral Value by Michael H. Mitias explains how, in Hellenic and Hellenistic times, friendship was “implied in [the] cultural paradigm” as a central way to achieve happiness and the highest good [i]. However, this focus on friendship tapered off through the Medieval Period and up to the present day. The purpose of(…)

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Friendship’s Role in Developing Morality

Friendship’s Role in Developing Morality

Ella Donnelly-Wright RELG 274 Response Paper #3 Michael Mitias’s Friendship: A Central Moral Value outlines his major outlooks on friendship as a “paradigm,” which he defines as, “A general way, or pattern, of behaving…of thinking, feeling, and acting in a domain of human experience, such as art, religion, politics, business, society, morality, education, or science”(…)

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Friendship As a Moral Paradigm

Friendship As a Moral Paradigm

  In Michael Mitias’s book, “Friendship: A Central Moral Value”, evaluates the ways in which paradigm shifts over time introduce new modes or forms of friendship, particular through Hellenic and Hellenistic time periods. Using Mitias’s work alongside works by Paul Wadell (“Friendship and Moral Life”), , and Werner G. Jeanrond (“Theological Truth from the Perspective(…)

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Morality Through Friendship

Morality Through Friendship

Gillian Chanko Jafar Mahallati Friendship: Perspectives from Religion, Politics, Economics & Art 15 March, 2019 Morality Through Friendship Although many people will argue that everyone needs quality and meaningful friendships in their life, there are differing perspectives regarding the morality of human beings. Because the majority of human beings have both friends and a moral(…)

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Friendship in Religious Philosophy

Friendship in Religious Philosophy

Ella Donnelly-Wright RELG 274 3/4/19 Friendship in political philosophy is most commonly discussed in the framework of determining whether it is a utility or a virtue. In religious philosophy this is also a common debate, with the addition of analyzing friendship and how it plays into one’s role in the spiritual world. Some religions frame(…)

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Finding commonalities between six different traditions

Finding commonalities between six different traditions

In any collection of six philosophies on friendship — or any subject, for that matter — there are sure to be varying ideas. There is even dissent within each perspective. Take Confucianism, for example: The three major texts (Mengzi, Xunzi, and Kongzi) disagree on the fundamental characteristics of human nature. However, ancient cultures often borrowed(…)

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Common/Uncommon Ground in Friendship

Common/Uncommon Ground in Friendship

Daniel Weintraub   While it may take over a lifetime to define friendship, there are certain tenets that friendship scholars tend to hold on to. Is friendship about being together? Finding oneself? Finding one another? Well, yes and no, depending on where one draws their sources from. I will argue that Confucian, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Roman,(…)

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The Importance of Virtue

The Importance of Virtue

Friendship is something that transcends people’s labels and conceptions of identity in ways that many relationships are not able to do. This can be attributed, in part, to the similar ways in which friendship has been theorized by philosophers of various cultural backgrounds. Looking at how friendship has been theorized specifically in Confucian, Hindu, Zoroastrian,(…)

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Divine Friendship

Divine Friendship

  Rachel Wolchok Professor Mahallati RELG 274 March 1, 2019 Response Paper 2: Divine Friendship In reading religious texts and authors, I was surprised by the amount of discussion on friendship as a way to further one’s virtuous self and achieve moral integrity. While this is sensible, as religion is the constant striving to be(…)

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Duty, Knowledge, and Friendship with God in Different Religious Traditions

Duty, Knowledge, and Friendship with God in Different Religious Traditions

While friendship studies may have started with Aristotle when he argued, among other things, that friendship is “the greatest external good” [i], it by no means stopped there. Many religions have picked up where Aristotle left off by agreeing with some aspects of his philosophy, disagreeing with others, reinterpreting ideas, and developing independent definitions. Regardless,(…)

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One Plus One is Greater Than Two

One Plus One is Greater Than Two

Given Perspectives on friendship in Confucian, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Roman, Christian and Muslim cultures, please identify some common grounds shared between them.   A central question among ancient Greek scholars regarding friendship was whether it was a means to an end, or a goal in and of itself. Religious writings on friendship run into the same(…)

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