Walid Saleh was born in Colombia to immigrant Lebanese parents, who soon returned the family to the Middle East so the children would learn Arabic. He grew up in Lebanon during the 70′s and 80′s. Dr. Saleh’s undergraduate degree was at the American University of Beirut, where he studied Arabic literature and language. His interest in these two topics still animates his research, and he is a close follower of modern Arabic poetry. In addition to his doctoral studies at Yale University in Islamic Studies, where he studied the Qur’an and its exegesis in medieval Islamic Civilization, Dr. Saleh has also studied at Hamburg University. His first teaching appointment was at Middlebury College. He had fellowships from the NEH, the American Research Center in Cairo, and the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. He was also awarded a three year fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Current Academic Interests
- al-Wahidi and his Qur’an commentaires (d. 1075)
- a study on etymological studies of the Qur’an, and early Qur’an codices
- Apocalyptic literature in Arab Ottoman Provinces
- the Qur’an
- its history, redaction and manuscripts
- the history of the reception of the Qur’an, exegesis and the piety it inspired.
- intellectual history of classical Islam (7th-15th centuries of the C.E.).
- apocalyptic literature of Islamic civilization written in Arabic.
Opportunities for Student Supervision/Areas of Interest
- History of Quranic exegesis
- apocalyptic literature
- theological literature of medieval Islam
- Arabic literature
-The Formation of the Classical Tafsir Tradition: The Qur’an Commentary of al-Tha`labi (d. 427/1035). Leiden: Brill, 2004.
H. Masud Taj, The Muslim World Book Review, 25 (2004), 36-39.
Herbert Berg, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 37 (2005), 617-619.
Stefan Wild, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 15 (2005), 228-230.
Uri Rubin, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 30 (2005), 540-543.
-In Defence of the Bible: A Critical Edition and an Introduction to al-Biqa`i’s Bible Treatise. Leiden: Brill, 2008.
-“Hermeneutics: al-Tha`labi,” in The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’an, ed. Andrew Rippin, Oxford: Blackwell, 2006, 323-337.
- “In Search of a Comprehensible Qur’an: A Survey of Some Recent Scholarly Works,” Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies 5 (2003), 143-162.
- “The Last of the Nishapuri School of Tafsir: Al-Wahidi and his Significance in the History of Quranic Exegesis,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 126 (2006): 223-243.
-“A Muslim Hebraist: Al-Biqai’s Bible Treatise and His Defence of Using the Bible to Interpret the Qur’an,” Speculum 83 (2008): 629-654.
- “Ibn Tayimiyah and the Rise of Radical Hermeneutics: An Analysis of “An Introduction to the Foundation of Quranic Exegesis,” in Ibn Taymiya and His Times, ed. Shahab Ahmed and Yossef Rapport, Oxford University Press (forthcoming).
- “The Etymological Fallacy and Quranic Studies: Muhammad, Paradise, and Late Antiquity,” in The Qur’an in Context, ed. Angelika Neuwirth, Brill (forthcoming).
Department and Centre for the Study of Religion
Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
BA (American University of Beirut) PhD (Yale)
Room 220, 4 Bancroft Hall