Jane Dammen McAuliffe

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Jane Dammen McAuliffe
Born 1944
Residence Pennsylvania, United States
Citizenship American
Fields Religious Studies
Institutions President of Bryn Mawr College (2008 – 2013); Georgetown University (1999-2008); University of Toronto (1992-1999); Candler School of Theology (1986-92)
Alma mater PhD University of Toronto, 1984; M.A. University of Toronto, 1979; B.A. Trinity College, 1968
Known for Quranic (Islamic) studies; scriptural exegesis

Jane Dammen McAuliffe (born 1944) is an internationally known Islamic studies scholar[1] who specialises in Qur'anic exegesis. She was the eighth President of Bryn Mawr College, beginning her tenure in July 2008.[2] Before that, she served as Dean of Georgetown College at Georgetown University from 1999 to 2008. At Georgetown, she was also a tenured Professor in the Department of History and the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies. Dr. McAuliffe held previous appointments at Emory University as professor and associate dean and at the University of Toronto as Chair of the Department for the Study of Religion and Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. She received her BA in Philosophy and Classics from Trinity College, Washington, D.C. and her MA in religious studies and PhD in Islamic studies from the University of Toronto.[3] [4]

On March 19, 2013, Bryn Mawr announced that McAuliffe would step down as president at the end of her then-current term; she officially left the position on June 30, 2013.[5] She became a distinguished visiting scholar at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress on August 5.[6] Following her 12-month tenure, on October 14, 2014, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced that McAuliffe would serve as the director of the Library's John W. Kluge Center and head of the Library’s Office of Scholarly Programs.[7]


McAuliffe contributes at both national and international levels to Muslim-Christian dialogue and has served on the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims as well as on the board of the American Academy of Religion.[1] In 2001, she was one of a group of distinguished scholars of Islam to sign a public document explaining that terrorism was a corruption of true Islam. It said in part: "Statements of hate or racial slurs are not a part of the American way, and we join President Bush and others calling on all Americans to respect the rights of Muslim Americans. Further, we urge people of good faith everywhere to reach out to Muslim neighbors. ... American Muslims are good neighbors, devoted to their families and to following God’s commands to do good works. There are now some eight million Muslims in the United States, and mosques are to be found in most every major city. The overwhelming majority are peace-loving human beings who share the shock and despair of all Americans. They know that terrorist acts in the name of Islam are a perversion of their most sacred beliefs, and the actions of a few should not characterize the whole."[8]


Among McAuliffe's many publications, she is the author of Qurʼānic Christians: An Analysis of Classical and Modern Exegesis (Cambridge University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-521-36470-1) and the editor of both the six-volume Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an (Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 90-04-14743-8) and The Cambridge Companion to the Qur'an (Cambridge University Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-521-53934-0).[9]

Major publications[edit]


  • (2006). Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
  • (2001-2006). Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an. General Editor. (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers). Six volumes.
  • (2002). With Reverence for the Word: Medieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Co-editor with Joseph Goering and Barry Walfish. (New York: Oxford University Press).
  • (1995). Abbasid Authority Affirmed: The Early Years of al-Mansur. Translation, introduction and annotation of vol. 28, Ta’rikh al-rusul wa al-muluk. (Albany: State University of New York Press).
  • (1991). Qur’anic Christians: An Analysis of Classical and Modern Exegesis. (New York: Cambridge University Press).

Peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and encyclopedia entries[10]

  • “Exegesis.” Forthcoming in the Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, edited by Gerhard Böwering. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • “People of the Book.” Forthcoming in the Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, edited by Gerhard Bowering. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • “Al-Ahzab 33:35; Al-Rum 30:21; al-Nisa’ 4:34; al-Baqara 2:228.” In Humanity, Texts and Contexts: Christian and Muslim Perspectives, edited by Michale Ipgrave and David Marshall, 102-105. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2011.
  • “Connecting Moses and Muhammad.” In The Old Testament in Byzantium, edited by Paul Magdalino and Robert Nelson. 279-298. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, 2010.
  • “Al-Tabari's Prelude to the Prophet.” In Al-Tabari: A Medieval Muslim Historian and His Work, edited by Hugh Kennedy, 113-129. Princeton: Darwin Press, 2008.
  • “The Tasks and Traditions of Interpretation.” In Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an, edited by J. McAuliffe, 181-209. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • “Exegetical Sciences.” In Blackwell Companion to the Qur’an, edited by A. Rippin, 403-419. London: Blackwell Publishing, 2006.
  • “Monitoring for Religious Freedom: A New International Mandate.” In the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims, Religious Liberty: A theme for Christian-Muslim Dialogue, 151-183. Vatican City: The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, 2006.
  • “Reading the Qur’an with Fidelity and Freedom.” In Journal of the American Academy of Religion 73 (2005) 615-635. “The Persistent Power of the Qur’an.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 147 (2003) 339-346.
  • "The Prediction and Prefiguration of Muhammed." In Bible and Qur’an: Essays in Scriptural Intertexuality, edited by J. Reeves, 107-131. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003.
  • "Disparity and Context: Teaching Qur’anic Studies in North America." In Teaching Islam, edited by B. Wheeler, 94-107. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • "Is there a Connection between the Bible and the Qur’an?" Theology Digest 49 (2002) 303-317.
  • “The Islamic Legal Tradition: An Overview.” In Canon Law Society of America, Proceedings of the Sixty-fourth Annual Convention, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 7–10, 2002, pp. 177–190. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America, 2002.
  • "The Genre Boundaries of Qur’anic Exegesis." With Reverence for the Word: Medieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, edited by J. McAuliffe, J. Goering and B. Walfish, 445-461. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • "Legal Exegesis: Christians as a Case Study." In How Islam Views Christianity, edited by L. Ridgeon, 54-77. London: Curzon Press, 2001.
  • "Text and Textuality: Q.3:7 as a Point of Intersection." In Literary Structures of Religious Meaning in the Qur’an, edited by I. Boullata, 56-76. London: Curzon Press, 2000.
  • "Rendering Allegiance to the Word: Qur’anic Concepts and Contemporary North American Concerns." In Religion et politique: Un theme pour le dialogue islamo-chretien, 13-36. (Vatican City, C.R.R.M., 1999).
  • "Debate with them in the better way": The Construction of a Qur'anic Commonplace." In Aspects of Literary Hermeneutics in Arabic Culture: Myths, Historical Archetypes and Symbolic Figures in Arabic Literature. Beiruter Texte und Studien, edited by A. Neuwirth, S. Gunther, M. Jarrar, 163-188. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1999.
  • "Christians in the Qur’an and tafsir." In Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions Throughout History, edited by J. Waardenburg, 105-121. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999
  • "Assessing the Isra’iliyyat: An Exegetical Conundrum." In Story-telling in the Framework of Nonfictional Arabic Literature, edited by S. Leder, 345-369. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1999.
  • "Ibn Taymiyyah's Muqaddimatun fi usul al-tafsir." In Windows on the House of Islam: Muslim Sources on Spirituality and Religious Life, edited by J. Renard, 35-43. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
  • "The Qur’anic Context of Muslim Biblical Scholarship." Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 7 (1996) 141-158.
  • "Islam (authoritative texts and their interpretation)." In The Harper-Collins Dictionary of Religion, edited by J. Z. Smith and W. S. Green, 514-518. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1995. "Rizk." In The Encyclopaedia of Islam, 8:567-568. New edition. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1954-.
  • "The Abrogation of Judaism and Christianity in Islam. A Christian Perspective." Concilium (1994/3) 154-163. (Simultaneous publication in English, French, German, Dutch, Italian and Spanish).
  • "Fakhr al-Din al-Razi on God as al-khaliq." In God and Creation: An Ecumenical Symposium, edited by D. Burrell and B. McGinn, 276-96. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1990.
  • "Fakhr al-Din al-Razi on ayat al-jizyah and ayat al-sayf." In Conversion and Continuity: Indigenous Christian Communities in Islamic Lands, Eighth to Eighteenth Centuries, edited by M. Gervers and R. Bihkazi, 103-19. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1990.
  • "Moments of Delight and Disappointment: Islamic Studies in The Encyclopedia of Religion." Critical Review of Books in Religion 1989, 57-76. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989.
  • "Ibn al-Jawzi's Exegetical Propaedeutic: Introduction and Translation [of the muqaddimah to Zad al-masir fi ‘ilm al-tafsir]." Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics 8 (1988) 101-13.
  • "Qur’anic Hermeneutics: The Views of al-Tabari and Ibn Kathir." In Approaches to the History of the Interpretation of the Qur’an, edited by A. Rippin, 46-62. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988.
  • “Aishah bint Abi Bakr." In The Encyclopedia of Religion, edited by Mircea Eliade, 1:162-63. New York: Macmillan, 1986.
  • "Fatimah bint Muhammad." In The Encyclopedia of Religion, edited by Mircea Eliade, 7:298-99. New York: Macmillan, 1986.
  • "Wines of Earth and Paradise: Qur’anic Proscriptions and Promises." In Logos Islamikos, edited by R. M. Savory and D. A. Agius, 159-74. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1984.
  • "Persian Exegetical Evaluation of the ahl al-kitab." The Muslim World 73 (1983) 87-105.
  • "Exegetical Identification of the Sabi’un." The Muslim World 72 (1982) 95-106.
  • "Chosen of All Women: Mary and Fatima in Qur’anic Exegesis." Islamochristiana 7 (1981) 19-28.