Leading Islamic Scholar to Join HUC-JIR/LA and USC Faculty for Spring 2008 Term

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Dr. Steven Windmueller, Dean, HUC-JIR/LA, announced that Dr. Ismail Bardhi, a leading Islamic scholar, will join the HUC-JIR/LA faculty for the spring 2008 term. Through the planning efforts of Dr. Reuven Firestone, Professor of Medieval Jewish and Islamic Studies, HUC-JIR/LA, Dr. Bardhi will hold a joint position at HUC-JIR/LA and the University of Southern California as a Senior Fellow of USC's Center for Religion and Civic Culture. 

Dr. Bardhi, who is a citizen of the Republic of Macedonia, formerly the southern republic of the old Yugoslavia, received his BA from the Theological Faculty, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the M.A. and Ph.D. in Qur'an interpretation from the University of Ankara in Ankara, Turkey. 

This spring, Dr. Bardhi will be teaching an elective on Islam, with special emphasis on his field of expertise in Islamic ethics and particular issues that affect relations between Islam and the West. 

Dr. Bardhi is Professor of Islamic Ethics, Qur'an and Qur'anic Exegesis at the Faculty of Islamic Sciences of the Republic of Macedonia. A fluent speaker of Albanian, Macedonian, Serbian-Croatian, Turkish, Arabic, and English, he has been an active invited participant in "The Millennium Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders" at United Nations Headquarters, New York, 2000, and international conferences and consultations in Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Switzerland, the USA, Iran, Pakistan and the Netherlands. 

A prolific writer, Dr. Bardhi has done extensive research in such areas as Islamic ethics, religion and nationalism, Islamic ecumenism, theology, philosophy in Islamic and Western traditions, Qur'anic hermeneutics and inter-religious dialogue. He will be researching a rare philosophical manuscript of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) on interpretation of Qur'an" found only in two libraries: one in Sarajevo and the other in the "Sulaymaniyya" of Istanbul. This manuscript is Avicenna's interpretation of the last three surahs (chapters) of the Qur'an. Dr. Bardhi will analyze the philosophical dimension of the work, which is the main feature of Avicenna, with a particular emphasis on "silence" and "listening" of the Qur'an. 

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu