Prof. Vincent Cornell

Vincent CornellVincent Cornell
Project Director

Towards a Muslim Theology of World Religions

Vincent Cornell is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1989. Professor Cornell has taught at Northwestern University (2 years), the University of Georgia (1 year), Duke University (9 years), and the University of Arkansas.  He is currently the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Middle East and Islamic Studies at Emory University. He has lived and worked in Morocco for nearly six years, and has spent considerable time both teaching and doing research in Egypt, Tunisia, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Professor Cornell’s pre-modern interests cover the entire spectrum of Islamic thought from Sufism to philosophy and Islamic law. He has published three books: The Book of the Glory of the Black Race: al-Jahiz’s Kitab Fakhr as-Sudan ‘ala al-Bidan (Waddington, New York: The Phyllis Preston Collection, 1981) , a translation of a short treatise on the virtues of the blacks over the whites by the premier Arabic literary figure of the ninth century C. E.; The Way of Abu Madyan: Doctrinal and Poetic Works of Abu Madyan Shu’ayb ibn al-Husayn al-Ansari(ca. 509/1115-16— 594/1198) (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1996), the first detailed study of a highly influential Sufi of the western Islamic mystical tradition; and Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism (Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1998), the first study of Muslim sainthood utilizing the methodology of the sociology of sainthood, and the first detailed historical study of the Moroccan Sufi tradition.

Professor Cornell has also published a number of journal articles and book chapters, including most recently “Ibn Battuta’s Opportunism: the Networks and Loyalties of a Medieval Muslim Scholar,” in Miriam Cooke and Bruce B. Lawrence, Editors, Muslim Networks from Hajj to Hip Hop (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2005); “Practical Sufism: An Akbarian Foundation for a Liberal Theology of Difference,” in Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society (Vol. 36, 2004); and “Listening to God through the Qur’an,” in Michael Ipgrave, Editor, Scriptures in Dialogue: Christians and Muslims Studying the Bible and the Qur’an Together (London: Church House Publishing [Archbishop’s Council, Church of England], 2004). He is currently working on Voices of Islam, a five volume set which he is editing for Praeger Press due out in 1996, as well as a book length monograph of the North African Sufi Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili, a work on Hermetic philosophy in Islamic Spain, and a history of Islamic moral philosophy.

E-mail: vcornel(at)