Thomas Burman

Thomas Burman


Professor and Robert M. Conway Director, Medieval Institute


Medieval Mediterranean History; Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations; Medieval Spain; Intellectual and Cultural History; Medieval Scriptural Exegesis; Manuscript Studies; Translation Studies


Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1991
Licentiate of Medieval Studies: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1989
M.A., University of Toronto, 1986
B.A., Whitman College, 1984

Research and Teaching Interests

Professor Burman's research and teaching focus on the intellectual and cultural interactions between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Medieval Mediterranean, especially as revealed in Arabic-to-Latin translations, religious polemical literature, and scriptural commentary (especially Latin Biblical and Arabic Quran commentaries). 


Selected Publications:

  • Religious Polemic and the Intellectual History of the Mozarabs, c. 1050-1200, Leiden:  E. J. Brill, 1994.
  • “Tafsīr and Translation:  Traditional Arabic Exegesis and the Latin Qurʾāns of Robert of Ketton and Mark of Toledo,” Speculum:  A Journal of Medieval Studies 78 (1998), pp. 703-32.
  • “Polemic, Philology, and Ambivalence:  Reading the Qurʾān in Latin Christendom,” The Journal of Islamic Studies 15 (2004):181-209. 
  • Reading the Qurʾān in Latin Christendom, 1140-1560, Philadelphia:  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007. [Winner of the American Philosophical Society’s 2007 Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History; named Outstanding Academic Title by Choice magazine]
  • “How an Italian Friar Read his Arabic Qur’an,” Dante Studies 125 (2007): 89-105
  • “The Cultures and Dynamics of Translation into Medieval Latin,” in the  Oxford Handbook of Medieval Latin Literature, ed., David Townsend and Ralph Hexter (Oxford, 2011), pp. 86-105.
  • “Two Dominicans, a Lost Manuscript, and Medieval-Christian Thought on Islam,” forthcoming in Ryan Szpiech, ed., Exegesis and Religious Difference: Essays on Commentary, Conflict, and Community in the Medieval Mediterranean (New York:  Fordham University Press, 2015).

In progress:  

  • Inspicientes—et non inspicientes—eius legem:  Thirteenth-Century Dominicans, the Qur’an, and Islam,” commissioned essay for the Journal of Qurʾānic Studies. 
  • With Brian Catlos and Mark Meyerson, The Sea in the Middle: Mediterranean World (650-1650), under contract with the University of California Press.
  • Ramon Martí and the Trinity:  Islam, Judaism, and the Scholastic Project.


  • Rockefeller Foundation Research Fellowship, 1992-92; NEH Fellowship, 2002-03; Abdul Aziz Al-Mutawa Visiting Fellowship, Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, 2002-03; NEH Fellowship, 2013-14.

Contact Information

Office: 715D Hesburgh Library


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