Joel Blecher Assistant Professor of Religion and Adjunct Professor of Law

Joel Blecher

Baker 205


  • Ph.D. in Religion, Princeton University, 2013
  • M.A. in Religion, Princeton University, 2010
  • B.A. in Religion with a minor in Political Science, high honors, Swarthmore College, 2004


Research Interests:
Religious, Legal and Political Culture and Debate in Medieval and Modern Islamic Societies; Commentary Traditions; “Old” and “New” Media

Current Research:
Prof. Blecher's current book project tours the social and intellectual world of pre-modern and modern commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari, a compilation of sayings and practices attributed to Muhammad that may be the most commented upon Islamic text after the Qur'an. Tracking the tradition's transformation from late Umayyad Andalusia to Mamluk Egypt, Syria and the Arabian Peninsula, to Colonial and Post-Colonial South Asia and the Middle East, he explores themes of live performance, politics, ethics, ethnicity, law, historiography, and interpretive ingenuity in a textual tradition.


Introduction to Islam; Islamic History; Qur'an; Hadith; Islamic Law; Islamic Political Thought; Islam and Gender; Islamic Mysticism.

Selected Publications

"Hadith Commentary in the Presence of Students, Patrons, and Rivals: Ibn Hajar and Sahih al-Bukhari in Mamluk Cairo." Oriens 41 , no. 3-4 (2013): 261-287.

Review of Women and the Transmission of Knowledge in Islam, by Asma Sayeed. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 74, no. 1 (2015): 172-174.