Michael Sells

John Henry Barrows Professor of Islamic History and Literature; also in the Department of Comparative Literature 

 

 

 

PhD (University of Chicago)

Michael Sells studies and teaches in the areas of qur'anic studies; Sufism; Arabic and Islamic love poetry; mystical literature (Greek, Islamic, Christian, and Jewish); and religion and violence. The new and expanded edition of his book Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations appeared in 2007. He has published three volumes on Arabic poetry: Desert Tracings: Six Classic Arabian Odes, which focuses upon the pre-Islamic period; Stations of Desire, which focuses upon the love poetry of Ibn al-'Arabi; and The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature, Al-Andalus, which he coedited and to which he contributed. His books on mysticism include Early Islamic Mysticism, translations and commentaries on influential mystical passages from the Qur'an, hadith, Arabic poetry, and early Sufi writings; and Mystical Languages of Unsaying, an examination of apophatic language, with special attention to Plotinus, John the Scot, Ibn al-'Arabi, Meister Eckhart, and Marguerite Porete. His work on religion and violence includes:  The Bridge Betrayed: Religion and Genocide in BosniaThe New Crusades: Constructing the Muslim Enemy, which he coedited and to which he contributed; "'Armageddon' in Christian, Sunni, and Shia traditions," Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence (2012): 467-495; and  "Finhas of Medina: Islam, 'the Jews', and the Construction of Militancy," in Fighting Words: Religion, Violence, and the Interpretation of Sacred Texts, ed. John Renard, (University of California Press, 2012): 101-134.

(773) 702-8229
Swift Hall
Areas of study: 

Current and Upcoming Courses

History of Judaism

HIJD 50200 Readings in Arabic Religious Texts

Islamic Studies

ISLM 40100 Islamic Love Poetry

ISLM 40500 Readings in the Text of the Qur’an

ISLM 40500 Readings in the Text of the Qur’an

ISLM 41610 Blood Libel: Damascus to Riyadh

ISLM 50200 Readings in Arabic Religious Texts

ISLM 50300 Arabic Sufi Poetry

ISLM 50300 Arabic Sufi Poetry

ISLM 51000 Writings of Ibn al-‘Arabi

Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture

RLIT 40300 Islamic Love Poetry

RLIT 50300 Arabic Sufi Poetry

RLIT 50300 Arabic Sufi Poetry