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Hossein Modarressi

Department/Program(s):
  • Near Eastern Studies
Position: Core Faculty
Title: Bayard Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies.
Area(s):
  • Islamic law
  • Islamic thought
Office: 114A Jones Hall
Phone: 609-258-4268
Office Hours: On leave Fall Semester



I had two completely different courses of education. I first attended the Islamic seminary at Qum (Iran) where I received a complete traditional Islamic education in Arabic language and literature, Qur'an and hadith, Islamic philosophy, theology, and law. I then pursued my secular education which ended with a Ph.D. in Islamic law from Oxford University. I came to Princeton first as a visiting professor in 1983 and was appointed to the Princeton faculty in 1986.

Earlier in my academic life my main research interest was Iranian history, particularly local histories and historical documents on which subjects I had several published books and many articles. My current research centers on the two fields of Islamic law and Shi'ite doctrine, with manuscripts to be completed in both.

I have supervised dissertations on such topics as: final causality in Avicenna's philosophy, legal maxims in Islamic and American law, women and hadith transmission in Islamic history, boundaries of the early Shi'ite community, the Islamic law of rebellion, an ontological history of the school of the oneness of being, Fatima al-Zahra in the collective memory of the Muslims, and the image of the artist in Islamic society.


Representative publications:

Tradition and Survival: A Bibliographical Survey of Early Shi'ite Literature, Oxford, 2003.

al-Hakim al-Jishumi, Risalat Iblis ila ikhwanih al-manahis (ed.), Beirut, 1994 (revised edition).

Crisis and Consolidation in the Formative Period of Shi'ite Islam, Princeton, 1993.

"Early Debates on the Integrity of the Qur'an," Studia Islamica, 77 (1993).

An Introduction to Shi'i Law, London, 1984.

Zamin dar fiqh-i Islami (Land in Islamic Law), 2 vols., Tehran, 1983–84.

Kharaj in Islamic Law, London, 1983.