The Ignaz Goldziher Program is geared toward scholars from Muslim contexts whose research centers on questions of Jewish history, reform and confessionalization, as well as the mutual experiences of Jews and Muslims. The fellows examine issues highlighting the remarkable similarity of Jewish and Muslim historical experiences: monotheism, abstract textual scholarship, and similarities in patterns of enlightenment and the demands of confessionalization. The one-year fellowship at the Dubnow Institute can be used to work on or complete a research project or to develop a new project and, with the help of the institute, bring it to a level suitable for funding applications.
The program is framed by an awareness of the structural similarities between Judaism and Islam. It moreover revives a long tradition in Leipzig as an academic city with a pronounced history of Jewish oriental studies and Islamic scholarship. The program is anchored at the core of the Dubnow Institute’s research agenda: Jewish history is here methodically understood as a seismograph of a history that extends beyond the narrower borders of Europe.
The program’s namesake, the orientalist Ignaz Goldziher (1850–1921), grew up in a German-speaking Jewish family in the Austro-Hungarian city of Stuhlweißenburg (Székesfehervár). He was the first European to study at the religious academy of Al-Azhar in Cairo. His research concentrated especially on the epistemological similarities between Judaism and Islam.