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Jonathan Brockopp

by SKeira Mar 27, 2019
Jonathan Brockopp

Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies

Department of History

College of the Liberal Arts

406 Weaver Building
University Park, PA 16803

Office Phone: (814) 863-1338


  1. PhD, Yale University, 1995
  2. MPhil, Yale University, 1992
  3. BA, Valparaiso University, 1984


I consider myself a historian of religion who specializes on Islam. My primary research focus is on the literary remains of early Islam, including the Qur'an, hadith, legal and theological texts. I am particularly interested in the rise of a professional scholarly community in Egypt and North Africa, using early Arabic manuscripts to trace arguments and lines of influence. Recently, I have focused on the question of how these early scholars construct their notion of religious authority. This work has led me to formulate a new theory of charismatic authority, one that attempts to account for the dynamic roles of text, community and history in constructing the charismatic leader. I plan on devoting my next book to fleshing out some of the implications of this theory. Arguably, Islamic law is as much a set of ethical guidelines as it is law. It thereby forms an essential backdrop to modern discussions of war, bioethics, economic justice, etc. I have pursued an active interest in these contemporary issues.