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Jonathan AC Brown


How Should Rationalists Deal with Dogmatism? The Case of the Birmingham Quran Pages

[Pages from the

One of the reasons I do not to write about early Islamic history is that I find it very difficult to manage the constant clash of faith claims and appeals to empirical evidence. When it comes to religion in general, Islam in particular, and the origins of Islam even more specifically, scholars find it difficult to recognize how their non-rational commitments direct their reasoning. Being able to set aside those commitments is even harder. Of course, I am talking about ...

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The Rise and Fall of the Salafi al-Nour Party in Egypt

[Egyptian school children gather around a street vendor by electoral posters that read in Arabic,

When Mohamed Salmawi, the spokesman for the committee appointed to draft Egypt’s post-coup constitution, appeared before the press on 29 October, the message was clear. There would be no place for Article 219 in the new constitution, and there would be no further discussion. The announcement followed two months of anxious efforts by the Salafi al-Nour Party to secure the Islamic language introduced in the now voided 2012 constitution. This has been quite the battle given ...

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Jonathan AC Brown


Jonathan A. C. Brown is the Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Associate Director of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding. He received his BA in History from Georgetown University in 2000 and his doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago in 2006. He has studied and conducted research in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, South Africa, India, Indonesia, and Iran. His book publications include The Canonization of al-Bukhari and Muslim: The Formation and Function of the Sunni Hadith Canon (Brill, 2007); Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World (Oneworld, 2009); Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2011); and Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy (Oneworld, 2014). He has published articles in the fields of Hadith, Islamic law, Salafism, Sufism, Arabic lexical theory, and Pre-Islamic poetry and is the editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Law. His current research interests include modern conflicts between Late Sunni Traditionalism and Salafism in Islamic thought.