Alan Guenther, PhD

Assistant Professor of History

Email: aguenther@briercrest.ca

Faculty of Arts and Science

Education

Bachelor of Biblical Studies, Prairie Bible Institute, 1983
BRE, Briercrest Bible College, 1987
Undergraduate Studies, McGill University, 1994-95
MA Islamic Studies, McGill University, 1998
PhD Islamic Studies, McGill University, 2005

Areas of Specialization

Islamic Studies (Muslims in modern South Asia), History (History of Islam, History of Christian-Muslim relations; History of Christianity; World History)

Biography

Alan Guenther's interest in the history of Islam is based in large measure on the four years he lived in Pakistan from 1988 to 1992 while serving as a missionary with The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM). Upon returning from Pakistan, he pursued academic studies at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University in Montreal, completing both his graduate degrees there.

The focus of his research has been the historical development of the Muslim community in British India in the late 19th century as well as the interaction of Muslims with Christian missionaries in that time period. His involvement in Mennonite and Free Methodist churches has also stimulated him to research in their histories and become involved in their historical societies. Since 2005, he has had the opportunity to teach courses not only on the history of Islam, but also on the history of Christianity more broadly at Briercrest College and Seminary in his home province of Saskatchewan.

Research Interests

My current research is in the development of "Anglo-Muhammadan Law" in British India, building on my doctoral work on Justice Syed Mahmood. More broadly, my research interests include other developments in Muslim society in modern South Asia, and the history of Christian-Muslim relations in that region as well as globally. In connection with the latter interest, I am working with a team of scholars in compiling an exhaustive historical bibliography of Christian-Muslim relations from 1500 to 1900. I also study the historical rise of the non-Western Christian Church and its intersection with Western missionary efforts and colonialism. My interests also extend to developments in world history, particularly the role and nature of empires within world history.

Notable Publications

  • "Justice Mahmood and English Education in India." South Asia Research 31 (Feb. 2011): 45-67.
  • Christian Responses to Ahmad Khan's Commentary on the Bible." Comparative Islamic Studies 6, nos. 1-2 (2010): 67-100.
  • "Seeking Employment in the British Empire: Three Letters from Rajah Gobind Ram Bahadur." Fontanus: From the Collections of McGill University 12 (2010): 129-154.
  • "A Colonial Court Defines a Muslim." Islam in South Asia in Practice, ed. Barbara D. Metcalf, 293-304. Princeton Readings in Religions, ed. Donald S. Lopez, Jr. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.
  • "'Barred from Heaven and Cursed Forever': Old Colony Mennonites and the 1908 Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Education." Historical Papers 2007, Canadian Society of Church History: Annual Conference, University of Saskatchewan, 27-29 May 2007 (2008): 129-148.
  • "The Qur'ān in India II: Tablīghī Jamā'at and the Qur'ān." In Coming to Terms with the Qur'an: A Volume in Honor of Professor Issa Boullata, McGill University,ed. Andrew Rippin and Khaleel Mohammed and Andrew Rippin, 321-338. North Haledon, NJ: Islamic Publications International, 2008.
  • "Hanafi Fiqh in Mughal India: The Fatāwá-i 'Ālamgīrī," In India's Islamic Traditions, 711-1750, ed. Richard Eaton. Oxford in India Readings. Themes in Indian History, 207-230. New Delhi: Oxford University Press of India, 2003.
  • "Response of Sayyid Ahmad Hn to Sir William Muir's Evaluation of Hadīt Literature," Oriente Moderno21 n.s. (2002): 219-254.
  • "The Image of the Prophet as Found in Missionary Writings of the Late Nineteenth Century." The Muslim World 90 (Spring, 2000): 43-70.
  • Islam-Its Roots and Wings: A Primer, co-authored with V. A. Behiery. Mississauga, ON: Canadian Council of Muslim Women, 2000.
  • "The Christian Experience and Interpretation of the Early Muslim Conquest and Rule," Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 10, (October, 1999): 363-378.
  • "Christian-Muslim Apologetics in the Abbasid Period," McGill Journal of Middle East Studies 3 (1995): 1-16.