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Hamza Zafer

Ecumenical Community, Introduction

Panel: Text, Translation, Interpretation – Saturday, January 23 (11am -1pm PST // 2pm -4pm EST)
Hamza Zafer photo

Hamza Zafer is a scholar of Arabic literature and the history of early Islam. His research interests have led to several projects that span across regions and religious encounters. He has recently published Ecumenical Community: Language and Politics of the Ummah in the Qur’an (Brill, 2020), which explores how the early Muslim and proto-Muslim communities’ commitment to ummah can be understood as an aspiration to “ecumenism” and the eschewing of social and customary differences. That allows a more comprehensive understanding of the implications of the evocation of ummah in the Qur’an. Zafer also extends his work on early Islam to East Africa, and he is working on a project focusing on Muslim societies in the Horn of Africa through the first millennium of the religion’s history. He takes a comparative approach to the understand Muslim societies alongside Jewish and Christian communities in the region. Zafer is also interested in textual exchanges between Jewish and Muslim traditions and the reception of scriptural translations between them.  

Example of published work:

Hamza Zafer, Ecumenical Community: Language and Politics of the Ummah in the Qurʾan (Leiden: Brill, 2020).