Shalem College
Ze'ev Maghen

Prof. Ze’ev Maghen

Ph.D., Columbia University
M.A., Columbia University
B.A., University of Pennsylvania

Ze’ev Maghen is Professor of Persian Language and Islamic History and chairman of the Department of Middle East Studies at Bar-Ilan University. He received his B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania and his M.A. and Ph.D. at Columbia University. Maghen’s areas of expertise include Revolutionary Iran, Islamic fundamentalism, Islamic law, and Jewish-Muslim relations. He has published two books and numerous articles on these subjects, and is currently working on a comprehensive monograph entitled The Mind of the Ayatollahs: Iran, Shi‘ism, and the World.

Maghen speaks fluent Arabic, Persian, Russian, English and Hebrew, and has lectured widely in the United States, Europe, Turkey, Russia, the Ukraine, Uzbekistan, India, Panama, Guatemala, and Israel. He served in the Tank Corps of the Israel Defense Forces until his discharge from the reserves in 2005.

Full CV

Courses Taught:

Selected Publications


John Lennon and the Jews: A Philosophical Rampage (Charleston: CreateSpace, 2010).

After Hardship Cometh Ease: The Jews as Backdrop for Muslim Moderation (Berlin: Gruyter, 2006)

Virtues of the Flesh: Passion and Purity in Early Islamic Jurisprudence (Leiden: Brill, 2004)


Book Chapters

"Unity and Hegemony: Iranian Attitudes to the Sunni-Shi'i Divide," Tel-Aviv University's Sunni-Shi'i Relations Conference volume (forthcoming).

"Dancing in Chains: The Baffling Coexistence of Legalism and Exuberance in Judaic and Islamic Tradition," Judaic Sources and Western Thought: Jerusalem's Enduring Presence, Jonathan Jacobs, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 217-237.


"That Nature which Contemns its Origin: A Controversial Teachers' Examination Sheds Light on Transformations in Iranian Islam," Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review 8 (2009), pp. 119-147.

"Eradicating the 'Little Satan': Why Iran Should be Taken at its Word," Commentary 127 (1) (2009).

"Davidic Motifs in the Biography of Muhammad," Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 35 (2008).

"Occultation in Perpetuum: Shi'ite Messianism and the Policies of the Islamic Republic," Middle East Journal 62 (2008), pp. 232-257.

"Intertwined Triangles: Remarks on the Relationship between Two Prophetic Scandals," Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 33 (2007), pp. 17-92. (Winner of the Tel-Aviv Prize for Best Scholarly Article, 2006).

"The Merry Men of Medina: Comedy and Humanity in the Early Days of Islam," Der Islam 84 (2007), pp. 185-199.

"'They Shall not Draw Nigh': The Access of Unbelievers to Sacred Space in Islamic and Jewish Law," Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 7 (5) (2007), pp. 103-131.

"From Potent Nemesis to Potemkin Village: A Shift in the Iranian Portrayal of the 'Zionist Regime,'" Israel Affairs 21 (2006).

"Strangers and Brothers: The Ritual Status of Unbelievers in Islamic Law," Medieval Encounters 12 (2) (2006), pp. 173-223.

"Three Shāfi'ites in Search of Water: The Indulgence of Tayammum and Its Rigorous Preconditions," Der Islam 82 (2005), pp. 291-348.

"First Blood: Purity, Edibility and the Independence of Islamic Jurisprudence," Der Islam 81 (Spring 2004), pp. 49-95.

"Dead Tradition: Joseph Schacht and the Origins of 'Popular Practice,'" Islamic Law and Society 10 (3) (Fall 2003), pp. 276-347.

"The New Shu'biyah: The Revival of an Ancient Polemic by the Opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran," The New East 42 (2001). [Hebrew]

"Close Encounters: Some Preliminary Observations on the Transmission of Impurity in Early Sunni Jurisprudence," Islamic Law and Society 6 (3) (Summer 1999), pp. 348-392.

"Much ado about Wudū,'" Der Islam 76 (Spring 1999), pp. 205-252.