Michael E. Pregillmichael e. pregill

Associate Professor
Dept. of Religious Studies
Elon University

214 Spence Pavilion

Fields of specialization

Early and Classical Islam; Quran and Tafsir; Late Antiquity; Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism; reception and interpretation of the Hebrew Bible

Research interests and scholarly activities

I am currently Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Elon University in North Carolina. My primary area of expertise is early Islam, with a specific focus on the Quran and its interpretive tradition (tafsir). Much of my research concerns the reception and interpretation of biblical, Jewish, and Christian themes and motifs in tafsir and other branches of classical Islamic literature, as well as the perception and representation of Jews and Christians in Islamic culture.

More broadly, I am interested in the complex relationships between various scriptural communities in Late Antiquity, especially as they are manifested in discourses such as polemical disputation and scriptural exegesis. I have recently become interested in literary sources of a later period such as medieval Shi’i tafsir and Judeo-Arabic compositions preserved in the Cairo Geniza that similarly reflect the negotiation of boundaries between Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities in the Near East and Mediterranean.

I am currently co-chair of both the Quran and Bible program unit of the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Quran and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective program unit of the International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. I am also on the Steering Committee of the new International Qur’anic Studies Association.

I am currently working on my first monograph, The Living Calf of Sinai: Polemic, Exegesis, and “Influence” from Late Antiquity to the Islamic Middle Ages.

I have contributed several articles to the Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2009 to present), including “Aniconism, III. Islam”; “Canon, III. Islam”; “Children of Israel (Sūra 17)”; “Demons, Demonology, VII. Islam”; and “Devil, III. Islam” (in collaboration with Zohar Hadromi-Allouche).

Recent conference presentations

“Intertextual Complications: The Quranic Cain and Abel Reconsidered”
SBL International Meeting, St. Andrews, UK, 8 July 2013

“The Shi’a of the Pre-Islamic Prophets in Ismaili Exegesis”
AAR-SBL Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, 20 November 2012

“The Living Calf of Sinai from Late Antiquity to Early Islam”
The Reception of Golden Calf Traditions in Early Christianity, Judaism, and Islam
Conference at Loyola University, Chicago, IL, 14-16 November 2012

Panel organizer and participant, “What has Mecca to do with Jerusalem? Approaching the Intersections of Biblical, Quranic, and Islamic Tradition”
Panel co-sponsored by the American Academy of Religion Quran Group and the Quran and Biblical Literature Unit of the Society of Biblical Literature
AAR-SBL Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, 19 November 2011

Select publications

“Methodologies for the Dating of Exegetical Works and Traditions: Can the Lost Tafsir of al-Kalbi be Recovered from Tafsir Ibn Abbas (a.k.a. Al-Wadih)?”
Forthcoming in Aims, Methods and Contexts of Qur'anic Exegesis (2nd/8th-9th/15th Centuries),
ed. Karen Bauer
Oxford: Oxford University Press in Association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2013

“‘Turn in Repentance to your Creator, then Slay Yourselves’: The Levitical Election, Atonement, and Secession in Early and Classical Islamic Exegesis”
Comparative Islamic Studies 6 (2012):101-150

“Ahab, Bar Kokhba, Muhammad, and the Lying Spirit: Prophetic Discourse before and after the Rise of Islam”
In Revelation, Literature and Society in Antiquity, ed. Philippa Townsend and Moulie Vidas
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011

Isra’iliyyat, Myth, and Pseudepigraphy: Wahb b. Munabbih and the Early Islamic Versions of the Fall of Adam and Eve
Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 34 (2008): 215-284

The Hebrew Bible and the Quran: The Problem of the Jewish ‘Influence’ on Islam
Religion Compass 1:6 (2007): 643-659