PDF version


Curriculum Vita of Prof. Dr. Nasr H. Abû Zayd


Birth: 10-7-1943, Tantâ, Egypt.




1972: BA in Arabic Studies with Highest Honors from the Department of Arabic Language and Literature, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University.

1977: MA in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the Department of Arabic Language and Literature, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University, with Highest Honors.

1981: Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the Department of Arabic Language and Literature, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University, with Highest Honors.




1972-1982: Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Arabic Language and Literature, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University.

1976-1978: Taught Arabic for foreigners (in addition to the teaching responsibilities at Cairo University) at the Center for Diplomats and at the Ministry of Education.

1982: Assistant Professor in the Same Department.

1987: Associate Professor for the Same Department at Cairo University.

1995: Professor in the same department.

1995- Visiting professor of Islamic Studies at Leiden University

2001-2004: Resource Person of ISIM project "Rights at Home"

2002- Ibn Rushd (Averroes)' Chair of 'Islam and Humanism' at the University of Humanistics, Utrecht




1975-1977: Ford Foundation Fellowship at the American University in Cairo.

1978-1979: Ford Foundation Fellowship at the Center for Middle East Studies of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia USA.

1982: Obtained the `Abdel-`Azîz al-Ahwânî Prize for Humanities.

1985-1989: Visiting Professor, Osaka University of Foreign Studies Japan.

1993: the President of Tunisia conferred The Republican Order of Merit for services to Arab culture in May.

1994- Member of the Advisory Board for the "Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an"

1995-: Visiting Professor at Leiden University, The Netherlands.

1998: The Jordanian Writers Association Award for Democracy and Freedom.

2000-2001: The Cleveringa Honorary Chair in Law, Responsibility, Freedom of Religion and Conscience, Leiden University.

2002:  The Roosevelt Institute Medal for Freedom of Worship

2002-2003: Fellow at the Wissenschaften College in Berlin.




I-Books: (in Arabic)


1. Rationalism in Exegesis: A Study of the Problem of Metaphor in the Writing of the Mutazilites (Al-Ittijâh Al-`Aqlî fi al-Tafsîr: Dirâsa fî Qadiyat al-Majâz fi ‘l-Qur’ân ind al-Mu`tazila), Beirut and Casablanca 1982, 4th edition 1998.

2. The Philosophy of Hermeneutics: A Study of Ibn `Arabî's Hermeneutics of the Qur'an (Falsafat al-Ta'wîl: Dirâsa fi Ta’wî al-Qur’ân ind Muhyî al-Dîn ibn `Arabî), Beirut and Casablanca 1983, 4th edition, 1998.

3. The Systems of Signs: An Introduction to Semiotics (`Ilm al-`Alâmât), co-editor, Cairo 1986.

4. The Concept of the Text: A Study of the Qur’anic Sciences (Mafhûm al-Nass: Dirâsa fî 'Ulûm al-Qur'ân), Beirut and Cairo 1991, 5th edition 1998.

5. The Problematic of Reading and the Method Of Interpretation (Ishkâliyât al-Qirâ'a wa  Aliyyât al-Ta'wîl), Beirut and Casablanca 1995, 5th edition 1999. 

6. The Foundation of the Moderate Ideology in Islamic Thought by Al-Shafi`î  (Al-Imâm al-Sh fi`î  wa Ta'sîs al-Aydiyulujiyya  al-Wasatiyya), Cairo, 3ed edition 1998.

7. Critique of Islamic Discourse (Naqd al-Khitâb al-Dînî ), Cairo, 4th edition 1998.

8. Women in the Crisis Discourse (Al-Mar'a fî Khitbâ al-Azma), Cairo 1995.

9. Thinking in the Time of Excommunication (Al-Tafkîr fî Zaman al-Takfîr), Cairo, 3ed edition 1998.

10. Caliphate and the Authority of the People (Al-Khilâfa wa Sultat al-Umma), Cairo, 1995.

11. Text, Authority and the Truth, (Al-Nass, al-Sulta, al-Haqîqa), Beirut and Casablanca 1995, second edition 1997.

12. Circles of Fear: Analysis of the Discourse about Women (Dawâ'ir al-Khawf: Qirâ'a fi khitâb al-Mar'a,) Beirut and Casablanca 1999.

13. Discourse and Hermeneutics (Al-Khitâb wa al-Ta'wîl), Beirut and Casablanca 2000.

14. Thus Spoke Ibn `Arabi (Hakadhâ Takallama Ibn `Arabî,) The Egyptian National Organization for Books, Cairo 2002.


11-Books in English:


-Voice of an Exile, (coauthor: Esther R. Nelson), Praeger Publisher, Greenwood Publishing Group Inc. USA, 2004.


II1-Articles (in English):


1. "Al-Ghazali’s Theory of Interpretation", Journal of Osaka University of Foreign Studies, Japan, 72, 1986, pp. 1-24.

2. “The Perfect Man in the Qur’an: textual analysis”, Journal of Osaka University of foreign Studies, Japan, no. 73, 1988, pp. 111-133.

3. "The Case of Abu-Zaid", Index on Censorship, London, 4, 1996, pp. 30-39.

4. "Linguistic Exposition of God in the Qur'an" in Fundamentalismus der Moderne, Christen und Muslime im Dialog, Evangelische Akademie, Loccum, Germany, 75/94, 1996, pp. 97-110.

5. "The Textuality of The Koran" in Islam and Europe in Past and Present, NIAS (Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in The Humanities and Social Sciences), 1997, pp. 43 - 52.

6. “Divine Attributes in the Qur'an: Some poetic aspects” in Islam and Modernity, edited by John Cooper, Ronald Nettler and Mohammed Mahmoud, I.B.Tauris, London, 1998, pp. 120-211.

7. “Inquisition Trial in Egypt”, in Human Rights in Islam 15, RIMO, Maasstricht 1998, pp. 47-55.

8. “Islam, Muslims and Democracy”, in Religion und Politik, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, intere Studie Nr. 151/1998, pp. 103-12.

9. “Literature and Heresy–Literature and Justice: The Critical Potential of Enlightened religion” in Literatur, Menschenrechte in Islamischen Gesellschaften und Staaten, Evangelische Akademie Loccum 22/96, 1998, pp. 18-32.

10."The Concept of Human Rights, the Process of Modernization and the Politics of Western Domination", in Politik amd Gesellshaft: International Politics and Society, Herausgegeben von der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 4/1998, pp. 434-437.

11. “The Modernization of Islam or the Islamization of Modernity”, in Cosmopolitanism, identity and Authenticity in the Middle East, ed. Roel Meijer, Curzon Press, England 1999,pp 71-86. 

12. "Islamic Cosmology and Qur'anic Exegesis", in Religion Wandel der Kosmologien, edited by Dieter Zeller, Sonderdruk 1999, pp. 217-230.

13.The Image of Europe in Modern Egyptian Narrative, in Colonizer and Colonized, Eds. Theo D'haen and Particia Krüs, Rodopi, Amsterdam-Atlanta 2000, vol. 2, pp. 627-643.

14. "The Qur’anic Concept of Justice”, Polylog, forum for Intercultural Philosophizing', No. 3 (June 2001): Website address:



15. The Qur’an: God and Man in Communication, inaugural lecture for the Cleveringa Chair at Leiden University (November 27th, 2000)


16. “Heaven, Which way?” Al-Ahram Weekly, issue No. 603. http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2002/603/sc16-17.htm

17. The Dilemma of the Literary Approach to the Qur'an, ALIF, Journal of Comparative Poetics, the American University Cairo (AUC), No. 23, Literature and the Sacred, 2003, pp. 8-47.

Entries in the Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ân:

18-Spricht Gott Nur Arabisch? (Does God Speak Arabic?), in Michael Thumann (ed), Der Islam und der Westen, Berliner Taschenbuch Verlag, Berlin 2003, pp. 117-126.

19-Entries in the Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ân, Brill, Leiden-Boston-Koln:

1-Arrogance, Vol. I (2001), pp. 158-161.

2-Everyday Life: Qur’an In, Vol. II (2002), pp. 80-97.

3-Illness and Health, Vol. II (2002), pp. 501-502.

4-Intention, Vol. II (2002), pp. 549-551.

5-Opression, Vol 111 (2003), pp. 583-584.


111. Book Reviews:


1. "Beyond The Written Words: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion" by William A. Graham, Die Welt des Islam, E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1995, 35, 1, pp. 150-152.

2. “Muslim, Jews and Pagans: Studies on Early Islamic Medina”, by Micheal Lecker, Bibliotheca Orientalis LV No. 1 / 2, January-April 1998, Column 275-8.

3. "Paradise Lost, Reflections on the Struggle for Authenticity in the Middle East” by C.A.O. can Nieuwenhuijze, Bibliotheca Orientalis LVI No. 3/4, May-August 1999, Column 510-513.

4. "Image of the Prophet Muhammad in the West, A Study of Muir, Margoliouth and Watt", by Jabal Muhammad Bauban, Bibliotheca Orientalis LVI No.  3/4, May-August 1999, Column 518-522.

5. “Reforming the Muslim World”, by M.A.Shoudhury, Biblitheca Orientalis, LV11 No.1/2, January-April 2000 column 221-224.

6. " Islamic Banking and Interest: a study of the Prohibition of Riba and its Contemporary Interpretation" by Abdullad Saeed, Biblitheca Orientalis, LV11 No. 5/6, September-December 2000 coulmn 736-739.


111 – Translations:




-Politik und Islam: Kritik des Religiösen Diskurses, translated by Cherifa Magdi, Dipa-Verlag, Frankfurt, 1996.

-Ein Leben mit dem Islam (Life with Islam) autobiography edited by Navid Kermani, translated by Sharifa Magdi, Herder 1999.



-"Islam und Menschenrechte” (Islam and Human Rights)", Kas . Auslands-Informationen, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 5, 1996, pp. 51-59.

-“Die Frauenfrage zwischen Fundamentalismus und Aufklärung” by Salima Salih, in Islam-Demkratie-Moderne, Aktuelle Antworten arabicher Denker, Verlag C.H. Beck, München, 1998, pp. 193-210.


2- Dutch:

 -Vernieuwing in het islamitisch denken, translated by Fred and Rob Leemhuis, Uitgeverij BULAAQ, Amsterdam, 1996.

-“Islam en democratie: convergenties of divergenties?” in Dehamel Opaarde? De gelovige burger in multiculturele democratie, Davidfonds Leuven 1998, pp.114-128.

-Mijn Leven met de islam, Becht. Haarlem, 2002



-“The Sectarian and the Renaissance Discourse”, translated and introduced by Mona Mikhail, ALIF, Journal of Comparative Poetics, The American University of Cairo, no 19, 1999, pp. 203-222.


4- French:

-“Le Discourse Religieux Contemporain: Mécanismes et Fondements Intellectuels”, translated by Nachwa al-Azhari, Edwige Lambert and Iman Farag, In: CEDEJ - Egypte / Monde Arabe, No.3, 3e trimestre, 1990 , pp. 73-120.

-“Critique du Discours Religieux”, translated by Mohamed Chairet, Sindbad Actes Sud, 1999.


5- Indonesian:

-Imam Syafi`i: Moderatisme - Eklektisime - Arabisme, translated by Khoiron Nahdliyyin, LKIS, 1997.



Islâm e Storia, Critical del discourso religioso, Bollati Boringhieri, 2002.



-“Mafhum al-Wahy”, by Muhammad Taqi Karmi, in Naqd wa Nazar, vol 3,no. 4, fall 1997, pp. 376-433.

-“Al-Tarikhiyya: al-Mafhum al-Multabis”, by Muhammad Taqi Karmi, in Naqd wa Nazar, vol 3,no. 4, fall 1997, pp. 328-375.


8- Turkish:

-"Universal Principles of Sharica: A New Reading", translated from Arabic to Turkish by Mostafa Unver, Journal of Islamic Research, Ankara, Turkey, vol. 8, n. 2, 1995, pp. 139-143.

-“The Problem of Qur’anic Hermeneutics, from Classical to Recent Period” by Omer Ozsoy, Journal of Islamic Research, Ankara, Turkey, vol. 9, no. 1-2-3-4, 1996, pp. 24-44.

-The Foundation of The Moderate Ideology in Islamic Thought by al-Shâfi`î, translated by M. Hayri Kirbasoglu, in Sunni Paradigmanin Olusumunda, Kitabiyat, Ankara 2000, pp. 89-148.