Origins and Sources of the Islamic Psalms of David

My first visit to the British Association for Islamic Studies was a rich feast of papers, discussions, and conversations with colleagues old and new. Thanks to the BRAIS team for welcoming me into their midst!

My presentation asked what sources the 8th-century author of the Islamic Psalms might have drawn upon for his compilation, and considered several possibilities: Christian monasticism, Biblical paraphrases, the Qur’an, ḥadīth qudsī, other pseudo-scriptures, Tales of the Prophets, wisdom literature, and the literature of Islamic asceticism (zuhd). I concluded, however, that rather than looking for sources I should be looking for inspirations; and the ensuing discussion showed me that I should also be looking for the afterlife of these psalms in other literature.

“Origins and Sources of the Islamic Psalms of David.” British Association for Islamic Studies, April 15, 2019, Nottingham.

Here are the paper and the slides in pdf form.

The Ascetic Piety of the Prophet David in Muslim Rewritings of the Psalms

At the American Oriental Society’s 229th meeting, on St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, I was part of a fascinating paper session on early forms of Islamic piety, along with Ursula Bsees and Antonio Musto. I presented my new understanding of the origins of the Islamic Psalms of David, arguing that they originated among ascetic Muslims of the 2nd/8th or early 3rd/9th century.

“The Ascetic Piety of the Prophet David in Muslim Rewritings of the Psalms.” American Oriental Society, Islamic Near East Section, March 17, 2019, Chicago.

Here are the paper and the slides in pdf form.

Psalms of the Muslim Prophet David: Rewritten Bible in a Qur’anic Idiom

Many thanks to Sam Ross and Sajida Jalalzai for organizing a panel on Islamic approaches to scripture (with special attention to the Bible) at the Southwest regional meeting of the AAR in Dallas. It proved to be a perfect confluence of interests! My contribution was:

“Psalms of the Muslim Prophet David: Rewritten Bible in a Qur’anic Idiom.” American Academy of Religion, Southwest Region, March 10, 2019, Irving, Texas.

Here are the paper and the slides in pdf form.