Religion Program Events

Monday, March 16, 2020

Beauty of the Houri: Pure Female Companions of Islamic Paradise as Rhetorical Symbols


This talk addresses the functions of the pure female companions of Islamic paradise, or houris, by presenting how the houri was understood from the seventh to the 21st century in Arabic, French, and English texts. The houri offered a feminine standard of spiritual purity that was articulated and employed through the centuries. Yet, this feminine figure of perfection has been used as a rhetorical symbol for different political ends—for violence, ethics, and gender parity. The talk considers how the ambiguity of the houri leads to these vastly differing interpretations with implications for the promise of scriptural interpretation in Muslim societies.
Time: 5:00 pm – 6:15 pm
Location: Olin, Room 102
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