Reuven Firestone, Rabbi, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Email: 
reuvenfirestone@gmail.com
Phone: 
(213) 747-6128
Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam

HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

Program/School: 
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: 
Religions
Research Interests: 
Bible and its exegesis; Qur’an and its exegesis; Religious Phenomenology; Comparative Religion; Religious Dialogue

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Reuven Firestone was born in Northern California and educated at Antioch College, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Hebrew Union College where he received his M.A. in Hebrew literature in 1980 and Rabbinic Ordination in 1982, and New York University where he received his Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic studies in 1988. From 1987 to 1992, he taught Hebrew literature and directed the Hebrew and Arabic language programs at Boston University. In 1992 he was awarded the Yad Hanadiv Research Fellowship at the Hebrew University to conduct research on holy war in Islamic tradition.  In 2000, he was awarded the fellowship for independent research from the National Endowment for the Humanities for his research on holy war in Judaism. Chosen to be a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002, he received the Fulbright CASA III Fellowship for study and research at the American University in Cairo in 2006. In 2012-2013 he was appointed DAAD Visiting Professor in Jewish and Islamic Studies at Universität Potsdam/Geiger Kolleg in Berlin-Brandenburg. Since 1993 he has served as associate and then full professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. Firestone founded the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (CMJE), a joint program of Hebrew Union College, the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Foundation and the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. He serves on numerous committees and commissions on interfaith relations, serves on the editorial boards of numerous scholarly publications and is vice-president of the Association of Jewish Studies. Professor Firestone has lived in Israel, Egypt and Germany and regularly lectures in universities throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. His publications have been translated into German, French, Hebrew, Turkish, Arabic, Albanian, Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, Indonesian and Urdu.

 

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)

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

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