Dennis Halft

Dennis Halft

Dennis Halft
Islamic Studies
Christian Theology

Interreligious interaction, Muslim-Christian and Muslim-Jewish encounters
Islamic intellectual history, Twelver Shīʿism
Islamic material culture, archaeology and manuscript studies
Muslim study of the Bible, Arabic and Persian translations of biblical books
Safavid Iran, religion and politics
Theology of religions, in both Christian and Muslim traditions



Current Projects: 

  • Muslim pilgrims to local shrines in the Holy Land in the Islamic Middle Ages;

  • Shīʿī Muslim-Jewish interactions in early modern Iran;

  • Current trends in Muslim theology of religions.

Curriculum Vitae: 

Fellowships and Grants

  • 2018-present, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

  • 2016-2018, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva.

  • 2015, Aquinas Visiting Scholar, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (PIMS), Toronto, ON.


  • 2019 Alexander Böhlig Award, granted by the “Gertrud-und-Alexander-Böhlig-Stiftung” for the study and research of languages and cultures of the Christian East.

  • 2017 Annemarie Schimmel Award, granted by the “Gesellschaft der Freunde islamischer Kunst und Kultur,” Munich, Germany, for excellent academic work in the field of Islamic Studies.


  • 2017, Dr. Phil. in Islamic Studies, Free University, Berlin.

  • 2016, Dipl. Theol. in Catholic Theology, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz.

  • 2008, Magister Artium in Islamic Studies (major), Iranian Studies and Comparative Religious Studies (minors), Free University, Berlin.

  • 2006-2007, Full-time adviser on Lebanon and the German civil reconstruction program, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Bonn.



  • (forthcoming, 2020) Christianity Encounters Shīʿī Islam: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on the Arabic Gospels in Safavid Persia (Biblia Arabica), Leiden, Brill.

Chapters in books

  • (in print, 2020) “Seeking the ‘Good Life for All’ in an ‘Oasis of Peace’: Bruno Hussar’s Vision of a Shared Jewish-Palestinian Community,” in: E. Van Stichel, Th. Eggensperger, M. Kalsky, and U. Engel (eds), Fullness of Life and Justice for All: Dominican Perspectives, Adelaide: ATF Theology.

Special journal issues

  • (in print, 2020) (with Emmanuel Pisani) Mélanges de l’Institut dominicain d’études orientales 35 [special issue on Twelver Shīʿī-Catholic interaction: History, Theology, Literature].


  • (in print, 2020) “A Newly Discovered Persian Treatise on Biblical ‘Proofs’ of Muḥammad’s Prophethood (ca. 1702) by a Missionary Convert to Šīʿī Islam,” Mélanges de l’Institut dominicain d’études orientales 35.

  • (2018) “Zwischen Inkarnation, Christozentrik und Alterität. Claude Geffrés religionstheologischer Ansatz” [“Between Incarnation, Christocentrism, and Otherness: Claude Geffré’s Approach to the Theology of Religions”], Wort und Antwort 59,2 [special issue on Geffré’s theology of religions], 62-67.

  • (2017) “Ismāʿīl Qazvīnī: A Twelfth/Eighteenth-Century Jewish Convert to Imāmī Šīʿism and His Critique of Ibn Ezra’s Commentary on the Four Kingdoms (Daniel 2:31-45),” in: M. L. Hjälm, ed., Senses of Scripture, Treasures of Tradition: The Bible in Arabic among Jews, Christians and Muslims, Leiden: Brill, 280-304.

  • (2017) “Towards a New Perception of Islam: The Influence of Marie-Dominique Chenu’s Theology of Incarnation on Christian-Muslim Relations,” in: M. Attridge, D. Dias, M. Eaton, and N. Olkovich, eds, The Promise of Renewal: Dominicans and Vatican II, Adelaide: ATF Theology, 225-239.

  • (2016) “The ‘Book of Books’ in Persian,” in: M. Pehlivanian, Ch. Rauch, and R. Vollandt, eds, Oriental Bible Manuscripts from the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – PK: An Illustrated History, Wiesbaden: Reichert, 150-154.

  • (2016) “A Persian Gospel Manuscript and the London Polyglot,” in: M. Pehlivanian, Ch. Rauch, and R. Vollandt, eds, Oriental Bible Manuscripts from the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – PK: An Illustrated History, Wiesbaden: Reichert, 155-157.

  • (2016) (with Ulrich Engel) “Dominikanische Theologie zwischen Weltkirche und lokaler Sendung” [“Dominican Theology between World Church and Local Mission”], Wort und Antwort 57,2 [special issue on Dominican theology], 50-52.

  • (2014) “Saʿīd b. Ḥasan al-Iskandarī: A Jewish Convert to Islam. Editio princeps of the Later Recension (732/1331) of His Biblical ‘Testimonies’ to the Prophet Muḥammad,” Mélanges de l’Institut dominicain d’études orientales 30, 267-320.

  • (2014) “Ungetauftes Christentum in Iran. Eine theologische Verortung aus katholischer Sicht” [“Unbaptized Christians in Iran: A Theological Position from a Catholic Perspective”], Wort und Antwort 55,4 [special issue on evangelization], 167-172.

  • (2013) “Hebrew Bible Quotations in Arabic Transcription in Safavid Iran of the 11th/17th Century: Sayyed Aḥmad ʿAlavī’s Persian Refutations of Christianity,” Intellectual History of the Islamicate World 1, 235-252.

  • (2012) “A Hitherto Unknown Persian Manuscript of Ḥosayn Vāʿeẓ Kašefī’s (d. 910/1504-05) Treatise on Ethics Aḫlaq-e moḥsenī in the Dominican Priory in Vienna,” Journal of Islamic Manuscripts 3, 103-115.

  • (2012) “Offen für die Welt. Katholisch” [“Openness to the World: Catholic”], Wort und Antwort 53,2 [special issue on the Catholic tradition], 50-52.

  • (2010) “Schiitische Polemik gegen das Christentum im safawidischen Iran des 11./17. Jahrhunderts. Sayyid Aḥmad ʿAlawīs Lawamiʿ-i rabbānī dar radd-i šubha-yi naṣrānī” [“Shiite Polemic against Christianity in Safavid Iran during the 17th Century: Sayyid Aḥmad ʿAlawī’s ‘The Divine Rays in Refutation of Christian Error’”], in: C. Adang and S. Schmidtke, eds, Contacts and Controversies between Muslims, Jews and Christians in the Ottoman Empire and Pre-Modern Iran, Würzburg: Ergon, 273-334.


  • (2018) Claude Geffré, “Jesus Christus, der alleinige Retter der Welt,” Wort und Antwort 59,2, 54-61 [from French into German].

  • (2014) Bruno Cadoré, “Der Dialog. Eine neue Art des Predigens?,” Wort und Antwort 55,4, 173-178 [from French into German].

  • (2010) James Channan, “‚Wir sind Pakistanis, wir sind Christen‘,” Wort und Antwort 51,4, 177-180 (an interview with F. Ewerszumrode) [from English into German].

  • (2010) Jean Jacques Pérennès, “Serge de Laugier de Beaurecueil OP (1917-2005),” Wort und Antwort 51,4, 184-187 [from French into German].

  • (2009) Ignace Berten, “Brauchen wir ein politischeres Europa?,” Dominikanische Perspektiven für Europa 5, 10-17 [from French into German].


  • Studying Inter-Religious Interaction in the Persianate World: Perspectives and Approaches. Lecture held at the Hebrew University Department for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Jerusalem, Israel, 4 December 2019.

  • Das ‚Dokument von Abu Dhabi‘ – Neue Perspektiven für den Religionsdialog? Probevortrag, Bewerbungsverfahren W3-Professur für Abrahamitische Religionen mit Schwerpunkt Islam und Interreligiösem Dialog, Theologische Fakultät, Trier, 25 June 2019.


  • Muḥammad Reżā Jadīd al-Islām (d. 1266/1849) and His Anti-Jewish Polemical Work. Paper presented at the international workshop “The Jews of Iran: Society, Culture and Politics through the Ages,” Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel, 10 June 2018.

  • Hovhannes Mrk‘uz of New Julfa (1643-1715): An Armenian vardapet in a Shīʿī Milieu. Paper presented at the international conference “Interactions of Twelver Shiites and Christians: History, Theology, Literature,” Institut Catholique de Paris, Paris, 12 April 2018.

  • A Christian Reading of the Qurʾān: The Polemical Work of the Jesuit Missionary Michel Nau (1633-83). Paper presented at the international workshop “Writing the History of Jerusalem: Sources and Methods,” Centre de Recherche Français à Jérusalem, Jerusalem, 21 March 2018.

  • Herausforderungen der Religionstheologie am Beispiel des Denkens Claude Geffrés. Probevortrag, Bewerbungsverfahren W3-Professur für Religionswissenschaft und Religionstheologie, Fachbereich Katholische Theologie, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, 1 February 2018.

  • Vatican Censorship and the Printing of the Gospels in Arabic. Paper presented at the international conference “Typographia Linguarum Externarum. The Medici Press: Knowledge and Cultural Transfer around 1600,” Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Florence, Italy, 11 January 2018.