Events in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies: ‘ISLAMIC STUDIES IN SCOTLAND: RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT’, 23-24 October 2015

In October IMES, in conjunction with the Alwaleed Centre, will be marking the 50th anniversary of W. Montgomery Watt’s inaugural address as the first Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Scotland with an evening and day of events.

This promises to be a most memorable occasion and will provide an opportunity not only to assess the state of the field since Professor Watt’s pioneering work but will also emphasise the continuing strength of Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Both events will be held in the Playfair Library at the University of Edinburgh and are open to the public.

For booking and more detailed information about the speakers, please see here:

The programme:

Friday, 23 October, 6-8pm

On Friday evening, we will feature two celebrated scholars of early Islam.

Professor Carole Hillenbrand of the University of Edinburgh will begin proceedings with a presentation on ‘Montgomery Watt, the man and the scholar’.

Professor Fred Donner of the University of Chicago will follow with a lecture on ‘The Study of Islam’s Origins since W. Montgomery Watt’s Publications’.

To conclude the evening’s programme, Dr Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh, will offer a short talk on Professor Watt’s religious life.

Saturday, 24 October, 9.30-5.30pm

The following day, Saturday, 24 October, we will be holding an academic colloquium titled, ‘Representations of Muhammad’. This will bring together scholars from both Edinburgh and abroad.

Chair: Dr Andrew Marsham, University of Edinburgh



Professor Wilferd Madelung, Institute of Ismaili Studies

Muhammad, Khadija and ‘Umar


Coffee: 10:15-10:45am



Dr Nicolai Sinai, University of Oxford

Muhammad and the Prophetology of the Medinan Qur’an



Dr Andreas Goerke, University of Edinburgh

Muhammad and Zaynab bint Jahsh: Between History and Exegesis


Lunch (12:15pm-1:30pm)



Dr Christiane Gruber, University of Michigan

Muhammad among the Great Men of the World: Enlightenment, Nationhood, and Early 20th-Century Iranian Carpets



Dr Nacim Pak-Shiraz, University of Edinburgh

Representing Muhammad on Screen


Coffee (3:00-3:30pm)



Dr John Tolan, University of Nantes

The Ecumenical Turn: Massignon, Watt, and 20th-century European Scholarship on Muhammad

Roundtable with all Participants: 4:15-5:15pm



Job: Research Associate: ‘Jewish Lives, Scottish Spaces: Jewish Migration to Scotland, 1880-1950’, School of Critical Studies, University of Glasgow

Reference Number: 010576
College / Service: COLLEGE OF ARTS
Job Family: Research And Teaching
Position Type: Full Time
Salary Range: £33,242 – £37,394
Closing Date: 11 June 2015

To join the AHRC research project Jewish Lives, Scottish Spaces: Jewish Migration to Scotland, 1880-1950, in order to carry out archival research along with the PI (based at the University of Edinburgh) and the Co-I (based at the University of Glasgow). The RA will be based in Glasgow and play a key role in analyzing, digitizing and cataloguing relevant materials available at the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre (SJAC) and related archives in the UK. The RA will contribute their own research, including conference papers, articles, and a monograph under thematic umbrella framed by Jewish Lives, Scottish Spaces.

For further particulars and application details, please see here.

Job: Teaching Fellow in Religious Studies, University of Edinburgh

Teaching Fellow in Religious Studies
Vacancy Ref: : 033018 Closing Date : 11-May-2015
Contact Person : Mingyuan Cao Contact Number :
Contact Email :
Applications are invited for the position of Teaching Fellow in Religious Studies in the School of Divinity from candidates with expertise in Jewish Studies and relevant historical and cultural studies methods.The successful candidate will be expected to provide teaching to cover research leave in the Religious Studies Subject Area in each academic session, and to take responsibility for designing and delivering course materials and assess student performance

The successful candidate must have a PhD in Jewish Studies or equivalent, or must have submitted before taking up the appointment. They must demonstrate good teaching ability at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. A proven record of publications in related subjects will be an advantage.

The successful candidate will also contribute to the knowledge exchange and impact profile of the School by engaging in professional development, funding bids and other events for external audiences.

This is a part-time post at 0.7FTE (24.5 hours per week). The post is fixed-term and is available from 1st September 2015 to 15th June 2018.

Salary: £31,342 – £37,394 per annum (pro rata)

Closing Date: Monday 11th May 2015 at 5pm (GMT)

For further details and application information please see and search for Vacancy Reference 033018.

The 2015/16 Edgar Astaire Fellowship in Jewish Studies at the University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh invites applications for a short-term visiting fellowship in Jewish Studies. The fellowship is dedicated to research on Scottish Jewry and related subjects in any historical period. It is intended that the visiting fellow will make extensive use of documents available in the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre and / or sources in Edinburgh repositories. For details of locally available archival collections please see

The visiting fellow will be based at the School of Divinity.

The visiting fellowship will be tenable for two months and must be taken up during one of the University’s teaching terms, or, if that is not possible, at a time agreed with the University. The visiting fellow is expected to deliver a research seminar at the University of Edinburgh, and one public lecture about their research in either Edinburgh or Glasgow. Both events need to make explicit reference to the archival collections worked on during the tenure of the fellowship.

The visiting fellowship will award a stipend of £2000 to cover travel, accommodation and maintenance during the term of residence in Edinburgh. The successful recipient will have the status of ‘Visiting Fellow’ at the University of Edinburgh and will not have a contract of employment.

International applicants are responsible for ensuring that they meet all criteria for Academic Visitors specified by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) at the time of the research visit. Current guidance is at:

Please send a letter of application outlining your research project, the proposed time of taking up this visiting fellowship, and an academic CV to

Deadline for applications: 1 May 2015, 5pm.

The successful applicants will be notified within four weeks of the closing date for applications.

Public Lecture: ‘Divided City, Divided Self: Muriel Spark in Jerusalem’, Dr Nina Fischer, Edgar Astaire Fellow in Jewish Studies, 23 March 2015, New College

Time and Place: Monday, 23 March 2015 from 17:30 to 18:30, Martin Hall, New College.

This is a public lecture, and will be followed by a Reception in Rainy Hall, New College at 18.30. Please register at


In Muriel Spark’s papers it is evident that her journey to Jerusalem in 1961 – then a city divided between Israel and Jordan and the setting of the Eichmann trial – and the book to grow out of this experience, The Mandelbaum Gate, were of great importance to her. In what she calls “half-Jewish novel,” entitled after the only crossing point between the two parts of Jerusalem, she explores the divided city from the perspectives of her protagonists. Among the characters, who are Israelis, Arabs, and different British visitors, some choose to see only one perspective, while some see many, even in themselves. For example, Barbara, a British-Jewish convert to Catholicism is enabled to reconcile the two parts of her self, and Freddy, a diplomat ends up seeing much more than the “delightful English atmosphere” he initially longed for. In this talk I want to propose that Spark uses the characters’ divisions to take a stance against orthodoxies, whether they are religious or national, and instead points to the advantages of seeing a complex, challenging, and yet, richer world. The Mandelbaum Gate suggests that seeing more than one story in and of Jerusalem might be a way of overcoming division, a suggestion that is as wise today as it was in 1961.

Nina Fischer is currently the Edgar Astaire Fellow in Jewish Studies and a visiting fellow at IASH. Previously she has held fellowships at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and at the Australian National University. She has also served as the project manager of the ‘History & Memory’ research group at the University of Konstanz.

Nina’s research areas include Memory, Holocaust, and Middle Eastern Studies and she is currently writing a book on cultural representations of Jerusalem from the 19th century until today. Her recent publications on the subject include “Landscapes of Scripture and Conflict: Cultural Memories and the Israeli West Bank Barrier.” Landscapes 15, No. 2 (2014): 143-155 and “Graphic Novels Explore an (Un-)Holy Land.” Quest: Issues in Contemporary Jewish History, 6 (2013): 73-107.

Conference: ‘Power, Authority & Canon’, 6 MAY 2015, New College, University of Edinburgh

The process by which some authoritative scriptures came to be included in the canons of Judaism and Christianity has received much attention. While light has been shed on the importance of scribalism, citation, rewriting, and community understanding, little attention has been placed on the implications in making some scriptures, and not others, authoritative.

The scope of this conference will revolve around the issues of historical, theological and ethical ramifications of canonization. What are the effects in elevating certain writings to the status of “Holy Scriptures”? Some texts have the power to define identity and orthodoxy, to inspire noble actions, and also to justify violence and prejudice. Is the belief in the holiness of certain texts a warrant for their use and misuse?

0900-0915 Welcome
0915-1000 John Collins (Yale University) “Uses of Torah in the Second Temple Period”
1000-1045 Michael Satlow (Brown University) “Bad Prophecies”
1045-1100 Coffee
1100-1145 Manfred Oeming (Universität Heidelberg) “The Way of God: Ethics and Ritual as Birthplaces of Canonicity”
1145-1230 Timothy Lim (University of Edinburgh) “The Insufficiency of Divine Inspiration”
1230-1330 Lunch
1400-1445 John Barton (University of Oxford) “How far does the content of canonical texts matter?
1445-1530 Walter Moberly (University of Durham) “Canonicity and religious truth: What role, if any, should a traditional canon play today?”
1530-1615 Craig Evans (Acadia Divinity School) “Jesus and the Beginnings of the Christian Canon of Scripture”
1615-1700 Tea
1700-1745 Shaye Cohen (Harvard University) “Some Reflections on the Canon”
1745-1800 Closing Remarks

For further information and how to book, please see: