The George Washington University
Joel Blecher is Associate Professor of History at the George Washington University and the author of Said the Prophet of God: Hadith Commentary across a Millennium (University of California Press, 2018), which explores the rich history of the practice of hadith commentary in the times and places it flourished the most—classical Andalusia, medieval Egypt, and early modern India. Weaving together tales of public debates, high court rivalries, and colonial politics with analyses of ethnographic field notes and fine-grained arguments adorning the margins of manuscripts, this book opens new avenues for scholars who study commentary traditions over long periods of time and geographical expanses. An Arabic translation was recently completed by Dr. Ahmad Mahmud Ibrahim (Kuwait: Nohoudh Press, 2021).
Research related to commentary
I am the co-editor, with Stefanie Brinkmann, of Hadith Commentary: Continuity and Change (Edinburgh University Press, 2023). This is the first volume of scholarly essays ever published on the key texts and critical themes of hadith commentary across diverse periods, regions, and sects. I hope the publication of this work, which builds on my first monograph, will stimulate further research in this field.
Publications related to commentary
Said the Prophet of God: Hadith Commentary across a Millennium. University of California Press, 2018. Arabic Translation by Dr. Ahmad Mahmud Ibrahim, Nohoudh Press in 2021
Hadith Commentary: Continuity and Change, co-edited with Stefanie Brinkmann. Edinburgh, 2023.
“Ḥadīth commentary,” Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, edited by Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. Leiden: Brill, 2018.
“Revision in the Manuscript Age: New Evidence of Early Versions of Ibn Ḥajar’s Fatḥ al-Bārī.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 76, no. 1 (April 2017): 39-51.
“Hadith Commentary in the Presence of Students, Patrons, and Rivals: Ibn Ḥajar and Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī in Mamluk Cairo.” Oriens 41, no. 3-4 (2013): 261-287.
Merits of the Plague by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, translated with Mairaj Syed. Penguin Classics, 2023.
“Scholars, Spice Traders, and Sultans: Arguing over the Alms-Tax in the Mamluk Era.” Islamic Law and Society 27 (2020): 53-82.
“Overlooking Race and Secularism in Muslim Philadelphia,” co-authored with Josh Dubler. In Race and Secularism in America, edited by Vincent Lloyd and Jonathan S. Kahn, 122-50. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.
“Pedagogy and the Digital Humanities: Undergraduate Exploration into the Transmission of Early Islamic Law.” In The Digital Humanities and Islamic & Middle East Studies, edited by Elias Muhanna, 233-50. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016.