New appointment establishes Oxford as a “major centre” for the study of Islamic philosophy and theology

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Professor Frank Griffel has been appointed as the next Professor of Abrahamic Religions in Oxford University’s Faculty of Theology and Religion, in association with Lady Margaret Hall (LMH).


Professor Griffel will take up the prestigious Chair in July 2024. He will move to Oxford from Yale University, where he is currently the Louis M. Rabinowitz Professor of Religious Studies.


Professor William Wood, Chair of the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Theology and Religion, said: “I am so pleased to welcome Professor Frank Griffel to Oxford’s Faculty of Theology and Religion. Professor Griffel is a scholar of the first rank, and as a result of his appointment, our Faculty will immediately become a major centre for the study of Islamic philosophy and theology.”


Professor Griffel said: “"For a historian of philosophy and theology, there are few places as exciting as Oxford. I am grateful and delighted to be given the chance to work in the Faculty of Theology and Religion. I value the opportunities it gives me to do cutting-edge research on Islamic and Jewish thought in the post-classical period of Islam, and I look forward to working with colleagues and students there."


Professor Stephen Blyth, Principal of LMH, said: “I am delighted that we have appointed Professor Frank Griffel as the next Professor of Abrahamic Religions, and we look forward to welcoming him into LMH’s community of world-class academics.”


Professor Griffel is an expert on intellectual history who works on Arabic philosophical and theological literature, both Islamic and Jewish. After a brief appointment as research fellow at the Orient Institute of the German Oriental Society in Beirut, Lebanon, he moved in 2000 to Yale. He teaches courses on Islamic thought, both pre-modern and modern, and the way Islamic thinkers react to Western modernity. He pays particular interest on the intersection between philosophy and theology.


His research has covered, among other things, the contribution that al-Ghazali made to the development of Islamic theology and the history of philosophy and contemporary Muslim thought. In the last years he moved to the post-classical period where he explores how philosophical aporias are dealt with by different communities. He is also developing a comprehensive history of theology and philosophy in Islamic societies that can be used as a textbook in college courses. His full biography is here.


Professor Griffel will be the third holder of this distinguished Chair, which is funded by a generous benefaction with the aim of strengthening Oxford’s research and teaching in the study of religion, with particular reference to the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Chair has been held most recently by Professor Anna Sapir Abulafia, and Professor Guy Stroumsa before her.