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This course is designed as a comprehensive introduction to the study of the prophetic traditions as a significant branch of Islamic studies. The course begins with a survey of the history of the development of the canonical collections of hadith literature, with an eye both to traditional Muslim understandings of this process as well as to Western approaches. Special attention is given to the methodologies of classical Muslim hadith criticism for the purposes of authentication and the concomitant “sciences of hadith” developed for these purposes and to how these methods compare and contrast with contemporary approaches to hadith criticism. The course then proceeds to explore the function of hadith in Muslim religious scholarship, especially jurisprudence, Qur’anic exegesis, theology, and spirituality before moving on to cover the major trends in contemporary Muslim hadith criticism. Throughout the course, students are introduced to the major tools of hadith studies in order to facilitate further study and research in this area.