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Jonathan Brockopp

Jonathan Brockopp

Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies

406 Weaver Building
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 863-1338

Office Hours:

  • Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30am - 11:30am and by appointment.

Curriculum Vitae

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Education:

  1. PhD, Yale University, 1995
  2. MPhil, Yale University, 1992
  3. BA, Valparaiso University, 1984

Biography:

My primary research focus is on the literary remains of early Islamic cultures, including the Qur'an, hadith, legal and theological texts. I am particularly interested in the rise of a professional scholarly community in Egypt and North Africa, using early Arabic manuscripts to trace arguments and lines of influence. Recently, I have focused on the question of how these early scholars construct their notion of religious authority in my book, Muhammad's Heirs: the Rise of Muslim Scholarly Communities (Cambridge, 2017). This work has led me to formulate a new theory of charismatic authority, one that attempts to account for the dynamic roles of text, community and history in constructing the charismatic leader. I plan on devoting my next book to fleshing out some of the implications of this theory. Arguably, Islamic law is as much a set of ethical guidelines as it is law. It thereby forms an essential backdrop to modern discussions of war, bioethics, economic justice, etc. I have pursued an active interest in these contemporary issues including the impact of climate change on Muslim communities.

Recent Publications:

Muhammad's Heirs: The Rise of Muslim Scholarly Communities, 622-950. (Cambridge, 2017)

“Islamic Origins and Incidental Normativity” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 84.1 (2016).
“The promise and the challenge of interfaith work” in Engaging Others, Knowing Ourselves: A Lutheran Calling in a Multi-Religious World, ed. Carol Lahurd (Minneapolis: Lutheran University Press), 2016.

“Interpreting Material Evidence: Religion at the ‘Origins of Islam’” History of Religions, 55 (2015), 121-147.

“Muhammad the peacemaker; Muhammad the warrior. Contested Images of Islam’s Prophet after 9/11” in Muhammad in the Digital Age, ed. Ruqayya Khan (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015), 35-56.

“Introduction to Special Issue. Islam and Ecology: Theology, Law and Practice of Muslim Environmentalism” Worldviews 16 (2012), 213–217.

"The Formation of Islamic Law: the Egyptian school, 750-900." Annales Islamologiques 45 (2011), 123-140.

“Contradictory Evidence and the Exemplary Scholar: The Lives of Sahnun b. Sa`id (d. 854)” International Journal of Middle East Studies 43.1 (2011): 115-132.

The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad. Editor and contributor.  Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Muslim Medical Ethics: From Theory to Practice. Co-editor and contributor with Thomas Eich. Studies in Comparative Religion. Columbia:  University of South Carolina Press, 2008.

 

Awards and Service:

Organizer, Getting to Zero: Penn State Carbon Emissions Conference (2014)
Convener, Penn State Society for the Study of Religion (2013-present)
Participant, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute (2012)
Director, Rock Ethics Institute Initiative in Religion and Ethics (2011-present)

Recent Courses:

HIST 108 - The Crusades
RLST107 - Introduction to Islam
ARAB/RLST 164 - Muhammad and the Qur'an
HIST/RLST 471Y - Islamic Civilization

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