The founders of Harvard College, “dreading to leave an illiterate Ministry to the Churches,” had long required students to study Hebrew for the purpose of Biblical studies. Interest in Hebrew extended to interest in Arabic, for its utility in shedding light on Hebrew, and to the ancient Near East as the “Bible lands.” Interest in Islam as a religion and Muslim societies slowly began to develop in the late 19th century at Harvard and expanded tremendously with the development of area studies after World War II. From Biblical studies and Orientalism to postwar area studies to an interdisciplinary and global field, Islamic studies has evolved alongside Harvard over much of its long history and now reflects increasingly diverse interests, perspectives, and approaches.