Past Events

Due date is March 20, 2023

Call for Applications for "Religious Interaction and Co-Production: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Entangled Early Medieval Occident"

Call for Applications
3 Postdoctoral positions (80-100%) to participate in the research project

Religious Interaction and Co-Production:
Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Entangled Early Medieval Occident

Prof. Katharina Heyden, SNSF Consolidator Grant, 2023-2028

This project will contribute both to our knowledge of the entangled history of what we today call Europe and to our understanding of the intertwined identity building processes of what we habitually call Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. By applying and refining the concept of religious co-production it will explore the continuous forming, re-forming and transforming the three religious traditions by interacting with and imagining one another, as well as the impact such co-production had on the shaping of Europe.

The research team will identify, analyze, and discuss cases of historical interaction both real and intellectual between Muslims, Christians, and Jews that are especially well-suited to revealing the ongoing dynamics and the ambivalent potentials of religious co-production. The team members will provide particularly significant case studies on interactions between Muslims, Jews, and Christians in the early Medieval Occident and the resulting ‘products’ – such as rituals, festivals, legal norms, saints, holy places, lifestyles, narratives, doctrines, images, knowledge, hopes.

The project will bring together especially talented and promising postdoctoral researchers to do groundbreaking independent research in the historical study of religious interaction and co- production. In a regular bi-weekly reading group, the team will continuously study relevant sources together and discuss conceptual aspects to refine the concept of religious co- production on its empirical-historical, epistemological-hermeneutical as well as the ethical- normative level. All of this will take place in an attractive academic environment that is particularly conducive to such a project at the University of Bern.

The Bern research team will be integrated into the joint international research initiative “Interactive Histories, Co-Produced Communities: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam”, a collabo- ration between the PI and Prof. David Nirenberg and his team at the IAS Princeton. This Bern- Princeton initiative is connecting senior and junior scholars from all over the world in an effort to cultivate a new understanding of religious history as a process of co-production rather than isolated identity formation. For more information see:

Prof. Katharina Heyden Länggassstrasse 51 3012 Bern

Telefon +41 31 6318066 Mobile +41 79 282 00 70


During the period of employment, Postdoctoral Fellows will be expected to

  • -  carry out their independent research on the co-production of Christianity,

    Judaism, and Islam in the early medieval West (including North Africa)

  • -  contribute to the project’s research archive: https://coproduced- (two sources and one case study per year)

  • -  participate in and assist with organizing the project’s team weekly meetings (in person

    and zoom), workshops, and conferences


    Applicants must have graduated with their PhD in a relevant field (History, Religion, Art History, Interreligious Studies, Theology, Philology etc.), and be no more than ten years from the awarding of their degree.

  • -  an appropriate number of publications depending on the candidate’s experience

  • -  a general interest in the historical relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims as

    manifest in the candidate’s track record

  • -  strong reading skills in the primary and secondary languages relevant to

    the candidate’s proposed area of focus
    Proficiency with the English language is necessary to perform the functions of these positions. Research contributions can be in English, German, French, Italian, or Spanish.

    Terms of the award

    The initial appointment term is for two years (08/2023-07/2025). The appointment is renewable for another three years contingent on satisfactory performance. Postdoctoral Fellows will be expected to be in residence in Switzerland for the duration of their appointment. More information about postdoc positions at Uni Bern including salaries:

    Application instructions

    Applicants must submit the following materials:

  • -  cover letter (1 page, in English)

  • -  curriculum vitae including track record

  • -  description of your intended research, including a particular case of co-production you

    are especially interested in researching (no more than 4 pages, in English)

  • -  dissertation abstract (250 words, in English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish)

  • -  writing sample (no more than 25 pages, in English, French, German, Italian, or


  • -  names and contact information of two recommenders.

    All application materials should be submitted electronically as a single PDF file to: The deadline for submission is March 20, 2023.

    Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

    The University of Bern are equal opportunity institutions encouraging a diverse pool of applicants. We believe in the inherent value of diversity and equal opportunity, recognizing that a diverse workforce will bring a wider array of perspectives to our scholarly community. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, protected veteran status, disability status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

March 20th, 10am-12pm EDT/3-5pm CET

Online seminar with Gabriel Reynolds: “The Qur'an as Theological Engagement with Christianity”

Scholars have long discussed the Qur’an’s engagement with Jewish and Christian traditions. Most scholarly work on this question has centered on the relationship of narratives in the Qur’an with Biblical narratives or other para-Biblical and post-Biblical traditions. Recently a number of scholars have argued that the Qur’an does much more than repeat or restate these traditions. It actively reshapes Biblical characters and stories for the purpose of its own theological agenda. But how important, finally, is the engagement with Biblical tradition to the articulation of the Qur’anic message? In this talk, Reynolds will propose that Judaism and, in particular, Christianity is a conversation partner that thoroughly penetrates that message. In this conversation the Qur’an is fully attentive to its audience in its choice of words and turns of phrase. Reynolds will make this case in part by presenting evidence from the Qur’an itself where there is both explicit and implicit engagement with Christianity. He will also turn to recent analyses of paleo-Arabic inscriptions that suggest Christianity was an important presence throughout Arabia at the dawn of Islam.

Zoom seminar

Feb 20, 9-11am EST/3-5pm CET

Online Seminar with Israel Yuval: "The Sacrifice of Isaac in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam"

Israel Yuval focuses on the Binding of Isaac in Genesis 22 and its later interpretations in Christian and Talmudic literature until its enigmatic appearance in the Qur'an, in which the identity of the bound son was obscured. He argues that the Qur’anic story reflects silenced counter-narratives on a biblical story, which created the religious identity of Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  

Follow this link to watch the Zoom seminar:


MON, JAN 23, 2023 – 9 AM EST / 3 PM CET

Online Seminar with Marina Rustow: "Scribes, Documentary Culture, and Jewish-Muslim Co-Production in the Abbasid and Fatimid Realms"

Zoom seminar with Marina Rustow: "Scribes, Documentary Culture, and Jewish-Muslim Co-Production in the Abbasid and Fatimid Realms"_23.01.2023

Follow this link to watch the Zoom seminar:


Dec, 19, 9-11am EST / 3-5pm CET

Online Seminar with John C. Reeves: “The Making of Enoch from Antiquity to the Middle Ages: The Co-Production of a Scriptural Character and a Scholarly Resource“

This presentation will explore if and how the scriptural figure of Enoch and those of his non-biblical avatars might provide a fertile textual and cultural domain for observing the phenomenon of ‘co-production’.  Some attention will also be given to the making of Enoch from Antiquity to the Middle Ages (Oxford, 2018), itself a ‘co-produced’ work in progress.

Follow this link to watch the Zoom seminar:


Nov 21, 11am-1pm EST / 5-7pm CET

Online seminar with Michael Pregill: “The Past, Present, and Future of Qur’anic Studies: Jewish, Christian, Islamic Legacies“

The Western tradition of scholarly engagement with the Qur’an and Islam—the intellectual project formerly called Orientalism—is frequently contrasted with native Muslim perspectives on the Qur’an. Orientalism is commonly depicted as a strategy of domination—a reflex of political and economic imperialism, a discourse constructed to denigrate and demolish Islam. This characterization is certainly accurate for some aspects of the Orientalist tradition from the nineteenth century to the present day, but at least where the Qur’an is concerned, the dominant modern Western approach to the Qur’an established by Theodor Nöldeke, Abraham Geiger, and their contemporaries actually shares much in common with Muslim approaches. In this talk, I will argue that Geiger’s approach to qur’anic biblical material in particular reflects a striking synthesis of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic conceptions and concerns; these various elements not only converge in Geiger’s project, but continue to shape Western scholarship on the Qur’an up to the present day.

Follow this link to watch the Zoom seminar:


Oct 24 2022

Online Seminar with Rushain Abbasi and Orit Malka: “Bear witness, for I am with You Among Those Who Bear Witness” (Q.3:81): The Concept of “Witnessing” in the Quran and Its Biblical Subtext

In this project, Abbasi and Malka argue that the Quran engages deeply with the biblical covenantal subtext of “witnessing” in its frequent references to the act of shahada. By employing an inner-Quranic and intertextual analysis, they demonstrate that when the Quran uses variations of the root sh-h-d in a theological context this clearly indicates the taking of the oath through which one enters into a covenant with Allah. The Quran thus develops, in their view, a systematic vocabulary around this specific biblical theme and in so doing expands the mechanism of the covenant into an entire theological structure embedded at the very heart of its revelatory message.

Follow this link to watch the Zoom seminar:


Oct 6–7 2022

Opening Conference

The opening conference for the project Interactive Histories, Co-Produced Communities: Judaism, Christianity, Islam (CORE) was convened at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton on October 6th and 7th, 2022. Participants included the project’s Principal Investigators, Post-doctoral and members of the Academic Collegium from the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. The conference was the first opportunity for this network of scholars to meet in-person. 

The conference began with a discussion of a pre-circulated conceptual paper by Katharina Heyden and David Nirenberg, intended to provide a shared foundation from which to explore the concept of co-production and of co-produced religions. Each Postdoctoral Scholar then presented their research project for the coming year, including the motivating questions, the corpus of relevant sources, and the intersection with the concept of co-production, with ample time reserved for feedback from members of the Academic Collegium.  A concluding panel, entitled The Historical and the Constructive, allowed historians and theologians from the Academic Collegium to reflect on how research in the history of religion re-shapes religious tradition(s) themselves; and to explore the actual and potential relationships between the approaches of historians and those of theologians. The conference concluded with a shared commitment to engaging with and refining the concept of co-production and co-produced religions through our own research. 

Conference Schedule

October 6th

Opening discussion of pre-circulated conceptual paper

Sarah IslamExamining Porous Boundaries Between Jews and Muslims in Fāṭimid Egypt:  A Comparative Study of Jewish and Islamic Debt Acknowledgements (Iqrārs) in the Cairo Geniza Mohamad Ballan respondent

Paul Neuenkirchen, “Those Who Spend the Night Prostrating Themselves”: Some Preliminary Remarks on the Ascetic Background of the Qur’an | Fred Donner respondent

Yonatan BinyamInventing a Jewish Race: Apocalyptic Race-Thinking in Early Christianity Sofía Torallas Tovar respondent 

October 7th

Jillian StinchcombCo-Producing the Biblical Past through the Queen of Sheba Miriam Frenkel respondent

Shlomo ZuckierThe Production of “God-Willing”: One Expression, Two Millennia, Three Religions | Yousef Casewit respondent

Maureen AttaliKursi: a co-produced Jewish and Christian pilgrimage center from the Late Roman Empire until the Umayyad caliphate Israel Yuval respondent

David Gyllenhaal, ‘A Leftover Punishment': Syriac Christianity and the Birth of the Muslim Plague Martyr | Mercedes García-Arenal respondent

Panel The Historical and the Constructive: Andrea Bieler, Volker Leppin, Michael Seewald, Ufuk Topkara

Closing Discussion

IAS, Princeton, USA

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