Research Interests & Activities

Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History

This is an international research project, based at the University of Birmingham, England, now into its final phase.

The primary aim is to document all known material written by Muslims and Christians about, for, or against the other – or, in some other way, especially in the later centuries of the ‘modern’ (post 1600) era, illustrative of aspects and dynamics of relations between them. These key criteria are applied to a very wide range of literary genres.

The first phase produced five volumes, spanning the nine centuries from 600 to 1500, and has captured all known works that meet the project’s criteria. A second phase, covering the 16th, 17th & 18th centuries, has produced a comprehensive record in nine volumes. The third and final phase, which deals with the long nineteenth century (1800-1914) and is projected to produce some eight volumes.

At the commencement of the second phase I joined the project as a Team Leader for the Asia section. Whereas the first phase dealt with ancient manuscripts within and around to Mediterranean basin, where these religions were primarily located and interacted, by the 16th century the advent of the printing press together the expansion of both religions throughout the globe – which also expanded the languages in which members of these faiths were now writing in – necessitated a new methodology whereby the globe was divided into five regions, each with a small specialist research team. Team Leaders have editorial responsibility in respect to their region.

Phase Two CMR volumes with which I have been directly involved:

David Thomas and John Chesworth, et al (eds), Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History, Vol. 12. Asia, Africa and the Americas (1700-1800). Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2018, pp. xix + 912.

David Thomas and John Chesworth, et al (eds), Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History, Vol. 11. South and East Asia, Africa and the Americas (1600-1700). Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2017, pp. xv + 640.

David Thomas and John Chesworth, et al (eds), Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History. Vol 7. Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and South America (1500-1600). Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2015, pp. xii + 963.

For the final, 19th century, phase I will have an additional main editorial role. Entries are published both online and in hardback volumes. This project is likely to last into 2023.

Christian-Muslim Relations. A Thematic History (600-1600)

Early on in the Bibliographical History project the idea was conceived of producing a companion volume or two of thematic history, both to illustrate the usefulness and relevance of the bibliographical data as well as to take a new approach to the writing and critical discussion of this history, especially as a means of assisting scholars, and others, to grapple with contemporary issues of Christian–Muslim relations. For what happens today in Christian-Muslim relations is undoubtedly shaped by and reflects the dynamics of the past.

To get this subsidiary project underway I agreed to take on the lead development and editorial role. The first volume, Christian-Muslim Relations, a Thematic History (600-1600), consists of 20 essays illustrating the range, complexity, and dynamics of interaction between the two faiths during the first thousand years of encounter. It is scheduled for publication in late 2019. A second volume will be developed at a later date, once the 19th century bibliographical data has been processed. It is a key criterion of the thematic histories that they relate to the bibliographical record.

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