Scott Korb

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A rare and precious book—intelligent, compassionate, and beautifully observed—one that will provide a necessary and vital contribution to any serious discussion of the role of Islam and religion in America.

Dinaw Mengestu, 2012 MacArthur Fellow, author of How to Read the Air and The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears

[Scott Korb] tells the story of the leaders and animating ideas behind America’s first Muslim liberal arts college—an institution seeking to build an American Islam—in all its fits and starts, and in prose that is both clear and compelling. I for one could not put it down—it is essential and riveting reading.

Eboo Patel, Founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core, author of Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice and The Promise of America

A moving portrait … For this journey into the heart of 21st-century Islam, Scott Korb is the perfect companion—not just a tour guide with ready answers to any question, but a fellow pilgrim leading the way to deeper understanding. Light without Fire is at once a fascinating account of Muslims living their faith in the US, and a universal story of the call to make tradition new.

Peter Manseau, author of Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter

How many stories in American religious experience are truly new? Not so many, and Scott Korb’s story of Zaytuna College is one of them, expertly and presciently told.

Paul Elie, author of The Life You Save May Be Your Own and Reinventing Bach

This is an important book, and one as original as its fascinating subject. Like Roy Mottahedeh's classic Mantle of the Prophet, Light without Fire is about education in both the broadest and deepest senses and about Islam in a particular place and time. Only here that place is America, now, a country desperately in need of stories about its own Islam.

Jeff Sharlet, New York Times bestselling author of The Family and Sweet Heaven When I Die

With the warm generosity of an attentive host, and the critical yet respectful eye of a keen journalist, Scott Korb has given us an entertaining and illuminating look into the nation’s first Muslim college.

Wajahat Ali, author of The Domestic Crusaders and lead author of the investigative report “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America”

Readers interested in Islam in America or the dynamics of Islamic education will find the book fascinating.

Publishers Weekly

… gracefully written … suddenly ultrarelevant.

New York Magazine

… a sympathetic portrait of a small community of faith on its journey to build an academic home in America. Korb’s immersion in this community helps us to understand the hopes, the struggles, and the joy of its members.

Joseph Richard Preville, Muscat Daily News

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The first extended look into the nation’s first Muslim institution of higher education, Zaytuna College

Light without Fire closely follows the inaugural class of Zaytuna College, the nation’s first four-year Muslim college, whose mission is to establish a thoroughly American, academically rigorous, and traditional indigenous Islam. Korb offers portraits of the school’s founders, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir, arguably the two most influential leaders in American Islam. Along the way, Korb introduces us to Zaytuna’s students, young American Muslims of all stripes, who love their teachers in ways college students typically don’t and whose stories, told here for the first time, signal the future of Islam in this country. It’s no exaggeration to say that here, at Zaytuna, are tomorrow’s Muslim leaders.

Previous Books

Life in Year One

What was it like to live in the time of Jesus?

What did people eat? Whom did they marry? How did they keep themselves clean? What did their cities and towns look like? What did they believe?

The answers, it turns out, are surprising. This simple question is not so simple after all. With a historian's insight and a reporter's curiosity, Scott Korb gives us a backstage pass to the unexpected and sometimes down-and-dirty truth about what everyday life was like in first-century Palestine, that tumultuous era when the Roman Empire was at its zenith and a new religion-Christianity-was born.

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The Faith Between Us

A religious "coming out" story by two young believers--one Catholic and one Jewish, with an introduction by Freakonomics coauthor Stephen J. Dubner.

Scott Korb and Peter Bebergal, two young progressives, share a secret: They believe in God. One is a former wannabe Catholic priest, the other a failed Jewish mystic, and they formed a friendship that's shaped by their common belief. In The Faith Between Us, they engage in a dialogue that ranges widely, from the mundane to the divine. They discuss finding religious meaning in their secular worlds, the moral implications of decisions both personal and political, their different religious cultures, and how their lives have been shaped by the pursuit of an authentic, livable faith. Both a spiritual memoir and an examination of contemporary religion as it's played out in unconventional ways, The Faith Between Us offers an alternative vision of faith in America, one that is equally irreverent and devout, ironic and earnest. For everyone interested in a modern take on keeping faith--and in reclaiming religion from the fundamentalists and literalists who have co-opted it for the right and those on the left who dismiss its redemptive power--The Faith Between Us will be an engaging and thought-provoking read.

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The Harriet Jacobs Family Papers: 2 Vols

Although millions of African American women were held in bondage over the 250 years that slavery was legal in the United States, Harriet Jacobs (1813-97) is the only one known to have left papers testifying to her life. Her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, holds a central place in the canon of American literature as the most important slave narrative by an African American woman

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Gesturing Toward Reality: David Foster Wallace and Philosophy

 Asked in 2006 about the philosophical nature of his fiction, the late American writer David Foster Wallace replied, If some people read my fiction and see it as fundamentally about philosophical ideas, what it probably means is that these are pieces where the charaters are not as alive and interesting as I meant them to be.

Gesturing Toward Reality looks into this quality of Wallace’s work—when the writer dons the philosopher’s cap—and sees something else. With essays offering a careful perusal of Wallace’s extensive and heavily annotated self-help library, reconsiderations of Wittgenstein’s influence on his fiction, and serious explorations into the moral and spiritual landscape where Wallace lived and wrote, this collection offers a perspective on Wallace that even he was not always ready to see. Since so much has been said in specifically literary circles about Wallace's philosophical acumen, it seems natural to have those with an interest in both philosophy and Wallace’s writing address how these two areas come together.

Co-edited with Robert K. Bolger.

 

 

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