Joel Blecher discovers new source on the evolution of Islam

Joel Blecher

Professor Joel Blecher's research has led him to find an early draft of Ibn Hajar's Fath al-Bari, one of the most important Sunni commentaries on hadith. Dated 1419, the early draft of the manuscript shows significant differences from the final copy completed 20 years later. Professor Blecher's research shows that interpretations of  hadith continued to change and evolve even over the course of Ibn Hajar's life and that Islam "can't be reduced to a single sacred book, frozen in time." Instead, "it's a dynamic and complex tradition that was continually revised and re-revised over many lifetimes, and even within a single lifetime." The broader implications of Professor Blecher's discovery are detailed in The Atlantic, here. The original study, published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, is available to the public, here.