• Role:

  • Position:

    • Professor
  • Concentration:

    • Middle East
  • Department:

    • History
  • Education:

    • PhD, University of Wisconsin


I joined the Department of History at Colorado State University in 1996. My teaching repertoire includes courses on pre-modern Middle East history. My research is focused on the history and historiography of the Islamic Near East in the middle ages.

Current Research

Biblical Messengers in Medieval Islam: Biographies from Ibn ʿAsakir’s History of Damascus is a translation project (in collaboration with Suleiman Mourad, Smith College) that highlights the central role biblical messengers play in Islamic religious thought and salvation history, and their role in the formulation of major tenets of Islamic religious practice and ritual. This project consists of annotated translations of 28 biographies of major biblical characters (21 men, 6 women, and 1 group--the disciples of Jesus) in one of the most influential medieval sources: The History of Damascus by Ibn ʿAsakir of Damascus (d. 1176). This project will be published in three volumes by Lever Press, in both print and open access formats.


Muslim Sources of the Crusader Period: An Anthology (edited and translated with Suleiman A. Mourad). Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2021. Click here for the New Books Network podcast in which Suleiman and I discuss the anthology.

The Intensification and Reorientation of Sunni Jihad Ideology in the Crusader Period: Ibn ʿAsakir of Damascus (1105–1176) and His Age; with an edition and translation of Ibn ʿAsakir’s The Forty Hadiths for Inciting Jihad (co-authored with Suleiman A. Mourad). Leiden: Brill, 2013. (Issued in paperback in 2015.)

Historical Dimensions of Islam: Pre-Modern and Modern Periods--Essays in Honor of R. Stephen Humphreys (co-edited with Jon Armajani). Princeton: Darwin Press, 2009.

Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005. (Paperback: Hackett Publishing, 2008; Arabic Translation: al-ʿAlim al-Islami fi al-ʿUsur al-Wusta. Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, Kalima, 2012.)

Ibn ʿAsakir and Early Islamic History (ed.). Studies in Late Antiquity and Early Islam, no. 20. Princeton: Darwin Press, 2001. (Reissued: Berlin: Gerlach Press, 2021.)


  • HIST 431 Ancient Israel

    This course examines the history of Ancient Israel and the Near Eastern world of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, with a focus on the emergence of the kingdom of Israel and its subsequent political history down to the Babylonian exile and return; the social world and rhetoric of the Hebrew prophets; and the textualization of the ancient Israelite/Jewish historiographical tradition down to the Persian, Hellenistic, and early Roman periods.

  • HIST 432 Sacred History in the Bible and the Qurʾan

    This course examines competing conceptions of sacred history in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. We will examine these issues through a comparative analysis of biblical figures that all three traditions venerate. We will also examine competing conceptions of Jesus in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In addition to relevant excerpts from the Tanakh/Old Testament, New Testament, and Qurʾan, students will be expected to analyze classical Jewish, Christian, and Islamic exegesis of these texts, for it is only through this interpretive literature that we can understand the historical development of traditional Jewish, Christian, and Islamic conceptions of sacred history.

  • HIST 433 Muhammad and the Origins of Islam

    This course examines the historical context of the emergence of Islam, its origins in seventh-century Arabia, and the rapid Islamic imperial conquests of the Byzantine and Sassanian Near East and much of the Mediterranean world by the mid-eighth century. We will examine important themes in the formation of the classical Islamic religious, legal, and historiographical traditions down to the early tenth century. Since the majority of the population resisted conversion to Islam during this period, we will also examine how Jewish, Christian, and Zoroastrian subjects of the new Islamic empire were able to retain their distinctive religious identities while at the same time accommodating themselves to and interacting with the new Islamic imperial order in areas of politics, society, law, religion, burial practices, etc.

  • HIST 492 Capstone Seminar: Christianity in the Near East to 1000

    This capstone seminar explores the first millennium of Christian history, thought, and practice in the Near East. We will read a variety of monographs and English translations of Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Arabic primary sources on the following topics: Christian beginnings in the Near East; key Greek and Syriac church fathers who shaped early Christian thought before and after the Christianization of the Roman Empire; Mary in early Christian faith and devotion; Cyril of Jerusalem’s (d. 386) catechetical lectures; Egeria’s account of her pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the 380s; John Chrysostom (d. 407) on Jews and Judaizing Christians in late 4th century Antioch; Cyril of Scythopolis (d. 558) on desert monasticism in the Holy Land; Christianity in the Near East after the various ancient Christian communities were subjugated by the Islamic Empire in the 7th century; John of Damascus (d. 749) on the veneration of icons in 8th century Syria-Palestine.