Professor Contact Areas of Interest
Saleh, Walid Department for the Study of Religion & Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
Bancroft Building, 4 Bancroft Avenue, Room 220
Toronto ON M5S 1C1
t: 416-946-3241
f: 416-978-3305
  • Qur’an
  • History of Quranic exegesis
  • Apocalyptic literature
  • Theological literature of medieval Islam
  • Arabic literature


Walid Saleh was born in Colombia to immigrant Lebanese parents, who soon returned the family to the Middle East so the children would learn Arabic. He grew up in Lebanon during the ’70s and ’80s. Dr. Saleh’s undergraduate degree was at the American University of Beirut, where he studied Arabic literature and language. His interest in these two topics still animates his research, and he is a close follower of modern Arabic poetry. In addition to his doctoral studies at Yale University in Islamic Studies, where he studied the Qur’an and its exegesis in medieval Islamic Civilization, Dr. Saleh has also studied at Hamburg University. His first teaching appointment was at Middlebury College. He had fellowships from the NEH, the American Research Center in Cairo, and the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. He was also awarded a three-year fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Primary Teaching

  • The Qur’an, its history, redaction and manuscripts
  • The history of the reception of the Qur’an, exegesis and the piety it inspired.
  • Intellectual history of classical Islam (7th-15th centuries of the CE)
  • Apocalyptic literature of Islamic civilization written in Arabic.

Selected Publications

Books and Articles

2011  “The Etymological Fallacy and Quranic Studies: Muhammad, Paradise, and Late Antiquity,” in The Qur’an in Context, ed. Angelika Neuwirth, Brill (forthcoming).

2010  “Ibn Tayimiyah and the Rise of Radical Hermeneutics: An Analysis of “An Introduction to the Foundation of Quranic Exegesis,” in Ibn Taymiya and His Times, ed. Shahab Ahmed and Yossef Rapport, Oxford University Press.

2008  In Defence of the Bible: A Critical Edition and an Introduction to al-Biqa`i’s Bible Treatise. Leiden: Brill.

2008  “A Muslim Hebraist: Al-Biqai’s Bible Treatise and His Defence of Using the Bible to Interpret the Qur’an,” Speculum 83, 629-654.

2006  “Hermeneutics: al-Tha`labi.” In The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’an, ed. Andrew Rippin, Oxford: Blackwell, 323-337.

2006  “The Last of the Nishapuri School of Tafsir: Al-Wahidi and his Significance in the History of Quranic Exegesis,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 126, 223-243.

2004  The Formation of the Classical Tafsir Tradition: The Qur’an Commentary of al-Tha`labi (d. 427/1035). Leiden: Brill.

2003  “In Search of a Comprehensible Qur’an: A Survey of Some Recent Scholarly Works,” Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies 5, 143-162.


2005  H. Masud Taj, The Muslim World Book Review, 25, 36-39.

2005  Herbert Berg, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 37, 617-619.

2005  Stefan Wild, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 15, 228-230.

2005  Uri Rubin, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 30, 540-543.