Postdoctoral researcher Translations and commentaries on the Qur’an in European History

Research / Academic

The Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH) currently has a vacant postdoctoral position as part of the ERC-funded Synergy Project The European Qur'an. Islamic Scripture in European Culture and Religion 1150-1850 (EuQu), at the UvA led by prof. Gerard Wiegers. 

The EuQu project studies the ways in which the Islamic Holy Book is embedded in the intellectual, religious and cultural history of Medieval and Early Modern Christians, European Jews, freethinkers, atheists and European Muslims. We will conduct research on how the Qur’an has been translated, interpreted, adapted and used in Christian Europe from the Middle Ages through to early modern history, in order to understand how the Holy Book has influenced both culture and religion in Europe. EuQu will look at the role of the Qur’an in interactions with Islam, in debates between Christians of different beliefs and in critiques of Christianity during the Enlightenment.

Applications are invited from excellent candidates who wish to conduct research on Translations and Commentaries on the Quran in European History between the Early Modern Period and the Nineteenth Century. Candidates should consult the full description of the EuQu project, available at and

The six-year project will produce interdisciplinary research through scientific meetings across Europe, a GIS database of Qur’an manuscripts, translations and other works in which the Qur'an is discussed, and through PhD theses and monographs. It will bring the fruits of this research to non-academic audiences though a creative multimedia exhibition on the place of the Qur’an in European cultural heritage.

The postdoctoral researcher will study the use that European scholars made of Muslim exegetical literature in order to understand the Qur’an. The postdoc will also consider the instruments European Muslims used to interpret the Qur’an (mainly tafsir but also grammars), establishing which were the authorities they knew and used as their references and whether they were the same in different parts of Europe. The postdoc will collaborate in the organisation of a workshop on tafsir and translation in Amsterdam, contribute to the joint monograph Early Modern Translations of the Qur’an and write a monograph Reading and Translating the Qur’an through Muslim exegesis (tafsir). The postdoctoral researcher will be based at the University of Amsterdam but will closely collaborate with the other members of the EuQu team at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Madrid), and the Universities of Kent, Nantes and Naples.

Tasks of the postdoctoral researcher will include:

  • bibliographical research:
    • identifying commentaries on and translations of the Qur’an
    • identifying texts of diverse types that engage with translations and exegesis of the Qur’an
    • identifying other material of interest to EuQu;
  • participating in regular team meetings (including periodic seminars and workshops), at the EuQu partner institutions and in their organization, and contribute to the organization of a workshop;
  • publications: Contribute to a joint monograph and write a monograph.


The successful applicant must have:

  • a PhD in in a relevant field (such as Religious Studies, Arabic and Islamic Studies, History, European Studies and Jewish Studies);
  • proven skills in and affinity with the History of Islam in Europe;
  • a strong background or demonstrable interest in History and Religious Studies;
  • a track record of publishing in high-ranking journals and/or with leading presses or a demonstrable capacity to develop such a record;
  • enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences;
  • strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research and organizational duties;
  • good academic writing and presentation skills;
  • good social and organizational skills;
  • proficiency in English.

Desirable qualities:

  • enthusiasm, ambition and ability to work in a team of international scholars.

Salary Benefits:

The postdoctoral researcher will be appointed for 0.75 or 1.0 FTE (28.5 / 38 hours per week), for a period of 48 or 36 months, respectively, at the Department of History, European Studies & Religious Studies of the Faculty of Humanities. The intended starting date of the contract is 1 November 2019. The gross monthly salary (on full-time basis) will range from €3,338 during the first year to €4,138 during the last year, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities.

Work Hours:

28.5 - 38 hours per week


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