JONATHAN A.C. BROWN
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding
3700 O Street, NW
ICC Suite 260
Washington, D.C. 20057
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, Chicago, Illinois
Ph.D. in Islamic Thought, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations,
2001-August 2006 with honors
Minor: Modern Middle East History
CENTER FOR ARABIC STUDY ABROAD (CASA), Cairo, Egypt
Certificate in Arabic language, June 2000-June 2001
GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, Washington, DC
Bachelor of Arts in History, magna cum laude, May 2000
Minor in Russian Language
Phi Beta Kappa awarded junior year (May 1999)
Completed Certificate in Islam and Muslim-Christian Understanding
Epigraphic South Arabian (reading knowledge of Ma’inian, Sabaic and other dialects of ancient South
German (reading knowledge)
EMPLOYMENT – ACADEMIC:
2010 – GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, Washington DC
Alwaleed Bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization, Associate Professor in the School of Foreign Service
2006-10 UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, Seattle, Washington
Assistant Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Department of Near Eastern Languages and
EMPLOYMENT – EXTRA CURRICULAR:
2009 OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ISLAM AND LAW
Editor in Chief
2008-09 OXFORD ONLINE ISLAMIC STUDIES BIBLIOGRAPHY
2005-08 OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE ISLAMIC WORLD
Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy. Oxford: Oneworld, 2014.
Very Short Introduction: Muhammad. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011 (Very Short Introductions series).
Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World. Oxford: Oneworld, 2009 (Foundations of Islam
The Canonization of al-Bukhari and Muslim: the Formation and Function of the Sunni Hadith Canon. Leiden: Brill, 2007.
PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL ARTICLES & BOOK CHAPTERS:
“Scripture in Modern Islam,” in Islam in the Modern World, ed. Jeff Kenney and Ebrahim Moosa, 13-34. Routledge,
“Faithful Dissenters: Skepticism about the Miracles of Saints in Sunni Islam,” Journal of Sufi Studies 1, no. 2 (2012): 123-68.
“The Rules of Matn Criticism: There Are No Rules,” Islamic Law and Society 19, no. 4 (2012): 356-396.
“Scholars and Charlatans on the Baghdad-Khurasan Circuit from the Ninth to the Eleventh Centuries,” in The Lineaments of Islam, ed. Paul Cobb, 85-96 (Leiden: Brill, 2012).
“The Canonization of Ibn Majah: Authenticity vs. Utility in the Formation of the Sunni Hadith Canon,” Revue des
mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée, special issue on “Écriture de l’histoire et processus de canonisation dans le
monde musulman des premiers siècles de l’islam. Hommage à Alfred-Louis de Prémare,” 129 (2012): 169-81..
“Is the Devil in the Details?: Tension between Comprehensiveness and Minimalism in the Shariah,” Journal of
Religious Ethics 39, no. 3 (2011), forthcoming.
“Even if it’s not True it’s True: Using Unreliable Hadiths in Sunni Islam,” Islamic Law and Society 18 (2011): 1-52.
“Did the Prophet Say It or Not?: the Literal, Historical and Effective Truth of Hadiths in Sunni Islam,” Journal of the
American Oriental Society, 129, no. 2 (2009): 1-27.
“How We Know early Hadith Critics Did Matn Criticism and Why It’s So Hard to Find,” Islamic Law and Society 15
“New Data on the Delateralization of Dād and its Merger with Zā’ in Classical Arabic: Contributions from Old
South Arabian and the Earliest Islamic Texts on Dad / Za’ Minimal Pairs,” Journal of Semitic Studies 52, no. 2 (2007):
“Critical Rigor vs. Juridical Pragmatism: How Legal Theorists and Hadith Scholars Approached the
Backgrowth of Isnads,” Islamic Law and Society 14, no.1 (2007): 1-41.
“The Last Days of al-Ghazzali and the Tripartite Division of Sufi World: Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali’s Letter to the
Seljuq Vizier and Commentary.” The Muslim World 96, no. 1 (2006): 89-113.
“Criticism of the Proto-Hadith Canon: al-Daraqutni’s Adjustment of al-Bukhari and Muslim’s Sahihs.” Oxford
Journal of Islamic Studies 15/1 (2004): 1-37.
“The Social Context of Pre-Islamic Poetry: Poetic Imagery and Social Reality in the Mucallaqat.” Arab Studies
Quarterly 25/3 (2003): 29-50.
NON-PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES & BOOK CHAPTERS
“Crossing Sectarian Boundaries in the 4th/10th Century: Ibn ‘Uqda, a Man for All Seasons,” al-‘Usur al-Wusta 20, no.
2 (2008): 55-58.
“Between Faith and Reason in Our Western/Muslim Reading of the Past,” in Faith and Reason: Islamic Perspectives
ACADEMIC PAPERS AND INVITED LECTURES
Invited participant, Islamic Law and Society Workshop, New York University, New York, 5/15-16/14
2014 “Human Sin, Divine Forgiveness and Human Reconciliation in Islam,” Annual Building Bridges Lecture, Georgetown University, 4/27/14
2014 Invited respondent to PhD presentation, Divinity School, University of Chicago, 4/18/14
2014 “Salafism & Modern Islamic Thought,” Foreign Service Institute, Washington DC, 1/30/14
2014 “Ulama Reactions to the Egyptian Coup,” Project on Middle East Democracy, George Washington U., 1/23/14
2013 “The Study of Hadith between Muslim and Western Scholarship,” University of Vienna, Austria, 12/16/13
2013 “Salafism, the Ulama and the Democratization of Interpretation,” conference on Salafism: Its Past, Present and Future, Foundation for Research in Islamic Sciences, Istanbul, 11/8-10/13
2013 “Islamism and Liberalism as Surrogates,” conference on God’s Century: Assessing the ‘Clash of Secular and Religious Trends in the Middle East and North Africa, Georgetown U., 10/24/13
2013 Respondent, “Diversity and Debate in Hadith Scholarship,” Panel at Middle East Studies Association Annual conference, New Orleans, 10/12/13
2013 “Trends in Modern Islamic Thought,” Foreign Service Institute, Washington DC, 9/18/13
2013 “Can a Text be Infected with Violence?: The Case of Quran 4:24,” Paper at Fourth LIVIT (Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Islamic Thought, University of Exeter 9/2-3/13
2013 “The Future of Political Islam in Egypt Post Morsi,” Middle East Institute/SAIS, Washington DC 8/5/13
2013 “Contextualizing Salafism,” Foreign Service Institute, Washington DC 6/5/13
2013 “Misquoting Muhammad,” University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 5/14/13
2013 “Texts and Commentaries: Ma’qulat and Manqulat Traditions in Islam,” invited workshop at University of California, Berkeley, 5/11-12/13
2013 “Common Sense is not so Common,” University of Johannesburg, South Africa, 4/29/13
2013 “An Introduction to the Study of Hadith,” University of Johannesburg, South Africa, 4/27-28/13
2013 “Celebrity Evangelists in Islam and American Christianity,” with James Wellman, Georgetown University, 4/3/13
2013 “Sunni and Shiite Islam,” Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, 4/5/13
2013 Keynote address, conference on The Aftermath of the Arab Spring, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, 3/23/13
2013 “A Mercy to All the Worlds: How Muslims Have Viewed the Prophet Muhammad Over the Centuries,” John Carroll University, Cleveland, OH, 3/21/13
2013 “Faith in Liberty – Exploring the Principle of Religious Freedom from a Muslim Perspective,” American University, Washington DC, 2/25/13
2013 “Islam and Other Religions: Myth and Reality,” Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, 2/27/13
2013 “Religion and Politics in Revolutionary Egypt,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington DC, 5/8/13
2013 “The Quest for Knowledge in the Modern Muslim World,” Foreign Service Institute, 1/30/13
2013 “Islam and the Modern Middle East,” class at National Defense University, Washington DC, 1/14/13
2012 Three-Day Seminar on Hadith, Graduate Theological Program, University of Patterborn, Patterborn, Germany, 11/14-17/12
2012 Courses on Hadith and Western Historical Critical Method, King Khaled University, Abha, Saudi Arabia, 11/21-26/12
2012 “Sufis on Hadith and Hadith Scholars on Sufism,” Yale Arabic Colloquium, Yale University, 10/9/12
2012 “Writing about the Prophet or The Historian, the Believer and the Good Citizen,” Middle East Colloquium, University of Maryland, 10/8/12
2012 “The Quest for Knowledge in the Modern Muslim World,” Foreign Service Institute, 9/18/12
2012 “The Quest for Knowledge in the Modern Muslim World,” Foreign Service Institute, 6/8/12
2012 “Ideals and Realities for Better or for Worse in the History of Religious Minorities in Islamic Civilization,” Symposium on Religious Freedom and the Rights of Minorities in Islam, Georgetown University, 5/14/12
2012 Invited presenter, ‘Packaging Legal Traditions: Responsa’ workshop, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 5/6/12
2012 Invited discussant, ‘Islamic Law and Society Workshop’, New York University, 5/10-11/12
2012 “How Do You Know You’ve Met a Muslim?: Unity and Diversity in the Muslim World,” University of Washington, Seattle, 5/8/12
2012 “Salafi Transformation from Quietism to Parliamentary Giant,” invited conference on Islam and the New Middle East, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 3/29-30/12
2012 “Boundaries of the Law: Ahkam as a Formative Category for the Muslim Critical Worldview,” 2nd Annual UCSB Islamist Studies Conference, Santa Barbara, 2/17-19/12
2012 “Islam and the Rule of Law as a Motivator for the Egyptian Revolution,” The Impact of the Arab Spring throughout the Middle East and North Africa, American University School of Law, 2/14/12
2012 “The Rules of Historical-Scriptural Criticism: There Are No Rules,” panel on ‘The Shifting Visions of Community and Politics in the Early Abbasid Period,’ American Historical Association Annual Conference, Chicago, IL 1/7/12
2011 “Western Historical Critical Method and the Hadith Criticism of Mahmud Abu Rayya,” Conference in Honor of GHA Juynboll, University of Leiden, Netherlands 12/15-16/11
2011 Invited presenter, ‘What Egyptian Elections Reveal about Politics and Religion in the Middle East,’ closed-door colloquium at Brookings Institute, DC 12/12/11
2011 “Misquoting Muhammad: When to Believe Miracles,” Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, 12/9/11
2011 “Miracles in Our Present Day: A 20th-Century Scholar Negotiating Saints and Miracles in Modern Egypt and Syria,” panel on ‘Twentieth-Century Muslim Thinkers in Conversation with Tradition,’ Middle East Studies Association Annual Conference, Washington DC, 12/1/11
2011 Invited participant, ‘International Symposium on Molla Khusrev,’ Bursa, Turkey, 11/19-20/11
2011 Invited participant, ‘The Mediterranean Microcosm between the West and the Arab-Muslim World,’ World Bank and Istituto Affari Internazionali, Paris 11/3-4/11
2011 ‘Post Revolutionary Egypt: New Trends in Islam,’ Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 10/6/11
2011 Invited participant, ‘Judaism and Islam in America: The Interpretation of Law and Scripture,’ Hartford Seminary, Harford MA 9/19-20/11
2011 ‘The Role of Islam in the New Egypt,’ Georgetown University, 9/14/11
2011 Intensive Course on Hadith, taught at University of Johannesburg and University of Cape Town, South Africa, 7/22-31/11
2011 ‘Approaches to Islamic Law and Society,’ invited workshop at New York University, 5/12-13,11.
2011 ‘Packaging Legal Traditions,’ invited workshop at Yale University, 5/8/11
2011 “Portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad: Controversy and Misunderstanding,” University of Chicago, 4/20/11
2011 “Political Quietism and Non-Violence in Salafi Thought,” conference on ‘Contemporary Muslim Thinkers on Good Governance, Harvard University, 4/17/11
2011 “Utility vs. Authenticity in the Legal Canon: The Peculiar Case of the Sunan of Ibn Majah,” University
of Pennsylvania, 3/22/11.
2011 “Muslim, Jews and Modernity,” Inaugural Noel King Memorial Lecture, University of California at
Santa Cruz, 3/8/11.
2011 “Abiding Stereotypes about the Prophet Muhammad in the Medieval and Modern West,” George
Mason University, Fairfax VA 2/15/11
2011 “The Shariah and its Sources,” Foreign Service Institute, US Dept. of State, 1/25/11
2011 “Critical Methods of Muslim Historians,” Faculty Seminar, US Naval Academy, 1/24/11
2011 “What Really Happened?: The Complex Question of Historical Criticism in the Islamic Tradition,”
York University, Toronto, 1/17/11
2010 Workshop and Islam and Judaism in America, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York
2010 Conference on “Rethinking the Shariah: Who Speaks for Islamic Law?,” organizer, Georgetown
2010 Conference on “The Contours of Late Sunni Traditionalism,” co-organizer, Duke University, 4/28/10
2010 “Images of Muhammad,” Willamette University, Salem OR 3/30/10.
2010 “Even if It’s not True It’s True: the Role of Forged Material in the Islamic Tradition,” University of
2010 “Tradition Trumping Text in Christianity and Islam: Eusebius, al-Tirmidhi and Shaykh Ali Gomaa,”
Georgetown University, 1/21/10
2009 “Lying about the Prophet of God: Forgery and its Manipulation in the Islamic Tradition,” Princeton
2009 “Female Circumcision and the Shariah in the Egyptian High Administrative Court,” invited presentation at workshop on Islamic Law in the Courts: Judicial Interpretations of Shariah in Modern Muslim States, University of Washington, 6/5-6/09
2009 “Consensus and the Amman Declaration,” invited presentation at workshop on Islam and International Humanitarian Law, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, Syracuse University, 4/17/09
2009 “A Man for All Seasons: Ibn ‘Uqda and Bridging the Sunni/Shiite Divide in the Tenth Century,” American Oriental Society Annual Conference 3/14/09
2009 “Scholars and Charlatans on the Baghdad-Khurasan Circuit from the Ninth to the Eleventh Centuries,” American Historical Association, 1/3/09
2008 “Islam and Sexuality: Beyond the Headlines,” Centennial Lecture Series for University of Washington Alumni Association, 11/5/08
2008- “The Hadith Master of Our Age: Ahmad al-Ghumari (d. 1960), the Influential Salafi, Shiite, Sufi, Sunni Muslim,” panel on ‘Makers of “Traditional” Islam: Identifying a Phenomenon through its Architects,’ American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, 11/3/08 (panel organizer)
2008 “Is the Devil in the Details?: Tension between Minimalism and Comprehensiveness in Islamic Law,” panel on ‘A Disobedient Prophet?: Tensions between the Quran and Prophetic Precedent in Islam,’ American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, 11/1/08
2008 “When Shariah Meets Reality: Give Fatwas in Egypt Today,” invited paper at conference ‘Is There a
Role for Shariah in Modern States,’ Georgetown University, 10/23/08
2008 “Spokesmen of the Shariah: Working as a Mufti in Egypt Today,” University of Arizona, 10/20/08
2008 “Plus ça change…: The New Old Debate on Science and Hadith,” Critical Islamic Reflections
Conference, Yale University 4/12/08
2008 “Critical Rigor vs. Juridical Pragmatism,” Joseph Schacht Revisited Workshop, Harvard University,
2008 “Martyrdom in Islam,” Annual Eid Speech at the University of Chicago, 2/1/08
2008 “Muhammad and the Origins of Islam in the West,” lecture at Eastern Washington University,
Spokane WA, 1/08.
2008 “The Roles of Muhammad in Islamic Civilization,” lecture at Eastern Washington University,
Spokane, WA, 1/08
2008 “Lying for the Prophet of God: Questions of Forgery in the Islamic Tradition,” lecture at Duke
2007 Respondent, for panel ‘What do Hadith Do?: the Functions of Hadith in Islamic Civilization,”
American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, 11/07
2007 “Even If It’s Not True It’s True: Historical Truth in the Western and Islamic Traditions,” lecture at the
University of British Columbia 11/26/07
2007 “Tear Down Those Quotation Marks: Canons in the Islamic Tradition,” lecture at the University of
British Columbia, 11/25/07
2007 “Early Matn Criticism,” invited paper at Conference on ‘Religious Texts in Islam: Authority, Reception
and Use,’ Martin Luther University , Halle, Germany 6/8-9/07
2007 “Central Asian Contributions to Hadith Scholarship in the Classical and Early Modern Periods,” 2nd
International Conference on Issues of Comparative Religious Studies in Central Asia, University of Washington 4/15/07
“Islamic Scholarship Defined by Islamic Disciplines: Fiqh and Hadith,” panel on
The Muslim World on the Eve of the Modern Era: Reframing Islamic History, American Historical Association, 1/6/07
2006 “The Tarikh Baghdad in the History of Sunni Hadith Criticism, or, Did Al-Khatib Not Like Al-Hakim
Al-Naysaburi?” panel on Ta’rikh Baghdad and the Formation of the Islamic Intellectual Traditions,
Middle East Studies Association Annual Conference 11/19/06
2006 “Gathering the Threads: An Excursion into the History of the Hadith Science,” Massachusetts
Institute of Technology 11/18/06
2006 “How We Know Early Hadith Critics Did Matn Criticism,” Georgetown University 10/06.
2006 “A New Look at the Hadith Criticism of Muhammad b. Ismail al-Bukhari,” Issues of Comparative
Religious Studies in Central Asia, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
2005 “Iconoclasm and Institutional Security: Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani and Criticism of the
Canonical Hadith Collections,” on Critical Approaches to Salafi Islam Panel, American Academy of
2005 “Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni: Unsung Architect of the Shafi’i/Ash’ari Tradition,” presented at the
2nd Early Islamic Historical Traditions Conference, Chicago, IL, 11/13/05
2005 “The Canonization of al-Bukhari and Muslim,” Bilim va Sanat Wakfı, Istanbul, 9/13/2005
2005 “The Hadith Tradition in the Abbasid Period: a Cult of Authenticity,” presented at the Early Islamic
Historical Traditions Conference, Chicago IL, 4/9-10/2005
2004 “The Development of Hadith and Islamic Law,” lecture at American University in Cairo, Cairo 4/28/2004
“Review of The Encyclopedia of Canonical Hadith,” Journal of Islamic Studies 19, n. 3 (2008): 391-97.
2010 University of Washington Royalties Research Fellowship, “Marketing Links to the Past: A Case Study
of Modern Islamic Educational Institutions in Modern Malaysia.”
2009 American Academy of Religion Collective Research Grant (with Ebrahim Moosa, Duke U.), awarded to organize conference on ‘Contours of Late Sunni Traditionalism’, Duke U. April 2010.
2007 Simpson Center for Humanities (University of Washington) Society of Scholars Fellowship: awarded
for research and discourse on monograph project ‘Lying about the Prophet of God: Forgery, its
Manipulation and Unmasking in Islamic Civilization.’
2007 American Institute for Yemeni Studies Research Grant: awarded for manuscript research in San’a,
summer 2007 for project “Exploring the Horizons of Sunni Thought in the 18th Century: The
Innovative Scholarship of Muhammad b. Isma’il al-San’ani”
2006 CASA II (Center for Arabic Study Abroad) Fellowship (awarded for Spring 2006)
2005 Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (May, 2005)
2005 Council for American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) Multi-Country Grant (March, 2005)
Awarded for manuscript research in Morocco, Syria and Turkey, July-September 2005.
2003 American Institute for Iranian Studies Persian Language Grant:
Awarded March, 2003 for summer language study at the Dekhoda Institute in Tehran, Iran.
MEMBERSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
2005-present American Academy of Religion
2006-present Middle East Studies Association
2006-present American Historical Association
2008- present American Oriental Society
2011 “The Radical Islam Hearings,” guest on The Platform, Voice of America Urdu Service, 3/14/11
2011 “A Brief History of Hadith Collection and Criticism,” MCA Islamic Center, San Jose CA 1/29/11
2011 “Islam in the West,” MCA Islamic Center, San Jose CA 1/28/11
2010 “Modern Perspectives on the Shariah,’ at Workshop on the Shariah for Secondary School Teachers,
Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, 10/29/10
2010 Interview on al-Arabiyya program “Akher al-usbu’” on Quran Burning, 9/9/10
2010 Panel “Faithful to the Earth: An Interfaith Dialogue on Sustainability,” Seattle University, 4/21/10
2010 “Images of the Prophet in the West,” Meridian Foundation, Istanbul 4/10-11/10
2010 “Introduction to the Shariah,” Seattle University, Seattle 1/27/10.
2008 Taught 2-day course on Hadith and the Development of the Western Historical Critical Method,
Maghrib Institute, Houston 8/13-14/08.
2008 “Navigating the Debates over Hadith in the Modern World,” ALIM Program, Detroit 7/31/08.
2008 Taught 12-hour course of the Islamic Hadith tradition, ALIM Program, Detroit 7/30-31/08.
2008 “The Importance of Knowledge in Islam,” Islamic Center of Greater Detroit, 5/3/08.
2007 “Faces of Islam: Sunni and Shiite Islam,” World Affairs Council lecture, 5/30/07.
2007 “Differences between Shiites and Sunni” KBCS Radio 2/22/07
2004 “De-Mystifying the Middle East,” lecture at Moraine Valley School, Chicago IL. 10/29/2004.
2004 “The Religion of Islam,” lecture at St. Xavier College, Chicago IL. 5/27/2004.
2002 “Islam and 9/11,” lecture at St. Albans School, Washington DC 9/11/2002.