Reuven Firestone - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
Skip to main content

Reuven Firestone, Rabbi, Ph.D.

Main Content
Regenstein Professor in Medieval Judaism and Islam

HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

Rabbinical Program, Los Angeles; Rhea Hirsch School of Education, Los Angeles; Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, Los Angeles; Magnin School of Graduate Studies, Los Angeles
Academic Field: 
Research Interests: 
Bible and its exegesis; Qur’an and its exegesis; Religious Phenomenology; Comparative Religion; Religious Dialogue

Request CV

Dr. Reuven Firestone is the Regenstein Professor in Medieval Judaism and Islam at HUC-JIR's Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, and Affiliate Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California (USC).

Recipient of numerous research fellowships and university invitations, he is currently a Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow in Berlin (summers, 2017-2019) and Sigi Feigel Visiting Professorship for Jewish Studies, University of Zürich (2018).

Firestone has written over one hundred scholarly chapters and articles and eight books, with translations into German, French, Hebrew, Turkish, Arabic, Albanian, Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, Indonesian and Urdu.

Born in Northern California, he has lived with his family in Israel, Egypt and Germany, and he regularly lectures in universities and religious centers throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He served as vice president of the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) and president of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) and has initiated and continues to be involved in numerous projects and initiatives which bring together Jews Muslims and Christians, Jews and Arabs, and Israelis and Palestinians. He recieved rabbinical ordination from HUC-JIR in 1982.


Selected Publications and Edited Works

  Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis (SUNY Press)

 Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam (Oxford University Press)

 Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims (Ktav)

Yahudiliği Anlamak İbrahim'in / Avraam'ın Çocukları (Istanbul: Gözlem Gazetecilik Basın ve Yayın A.Ş)

ذرية إبراهيممقدمة عن اليهودية للمسلمين (


Jews, Christians, Muslims in Dialogue: A Practical Handbook, with Leonard Swidler and Khalid Duran (Twenty-Third Publications)

An Introduction to Islam for Jews (JPS)

 Who are the Real Chosen People: The Meaning of Chosenness in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Skylight Paths)

Holy War in Judaism: the Fall and Rise of a Controversial Idea (Oxford University Press)

Learned Ignorance: Intellectual Humility among Jews, Christians and Muslims (Oxford University Press)

Current and Future Courses
Medieval Biblical Commentaries
Medieval History
Introduction to Islam
Introduction to the Qur’an
Literatures of Exclusion
Interreligious Dialogue: Theory & Practice
Reading Scripture as Skeptic & Believer: The Hebrew Bible, New Testament and Qur’an
Holy War and History
Jerusalem as Holy City
Public Lecture Topics
Islam & Democracy: Compatible?
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in Dialogue And Dissent: Abraham and Covenant in Three Scriptures
Abraham: The First Jew, Christian or Muslim? A Comparative Study of the Patriarch from the Perspectives of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Who are the (Real) Chosen People? The Meaning of Divine Election in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Arabian Origins and the Emergence of Islam
Muhammad and the Jews of Medina: The Problematic of Emerging Religions
The Five Pillars Of Islam: An Introduction to Islam and its relationship with Judaism
Jewish-Muslim Relations: A Historical Perspective
Whose Jerusalem? The Holy City in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Divine Authority and Mass Violence: Holy War in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Jihad: Its Meaning, Historical Application, and Influence on the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
Islam and Suicide Bombings: How the Forbidden Became Acceptable
Holy War in Judaism: The Fall and Rise of a Controversial Idea
Antisemitism & Islamophobia: Origins, History, Relationship
What Does Islam Really Say About Jews And Judaism (or Jews & Christians and Judaism and Christianity)? A study of the classic Islamic texts
How Do We See Each Other? Classic and Contemporary Views of Jews and Muslims toward the Other
Jews under Christendom, Jews under Islam
Islam in America: Old Muslims, Black Muslims, New Muslims
Comparative Text Study in Bible & Qur'an: Adam and Eve in the Garden, Cain and Abel, Noah and the Flood, A Family Feud: Sarah & Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael, The Story of Joseph, Joseph and Potiphar's Wife, Moses and the Burning Bush, The Exodus from Egypt, The Sinai Experience, Tzedakah, Kosher/Halal Food Laws, etc.
If There Is Only One God, Why Are There So Many Monotheisms? A Study of Monotheistic Religions.
The Problem of Emerging Religions: What Happens When New Prophets Enter the Religion Market
The Jews of Iran: From Cyrus to Ahmadinajad
The Jews of Iraq: From Nebukhadnezzer to Saddam Hussein
The Jews of Egypt: From the Biblical Joseph To The Arab Spring