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
Assistant Professor of Islam and Muslim Christian Understanding, 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 ISLAMIC LAW
Editor in Chief
2008-09 OXFORD ONLINE ISLAMIC STUDIES BIBLIOGRAPHY
2005-08 OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE ISLAMIC WORLD
Misquoting Muhammad. Oxford: Oneworld, forthcoming.
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. Routledge,
“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,” forthcoming.
“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
“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.
ACADEMIC PAPERS AND INVITED LECTURES
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
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.