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Richard McGregor

Professor McGregor's area of expertise is Islam, particularly the medieval intellectual and mystical traditions. He teaches courses on Qur'an and Interpretation, Sufism, and Methodology in the Study of Religion. Before coming to Vanderbilt University in 2003, professor McGregor spent two years in Cairo, Egypt, at the Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale working on Arabic manuscripts.


Representative publications

Sanctity and Mysticism in Medieval Egypt He has published Sanctity and Mysticism in Medieval Egypt: the Wafa Sufi Order and the Legacy of Ibn Arabi (SUNY, 2004), a study of the Islamic conception of "saints" and religious authority.

The Development of Sufism in Mamluk Egypt

Sufism in the Ottoman Era (16th-18th C.)

Professor McGregor has co-edited two volumes of essays on Sufism in the pre-modern period: The Development of Sufism in Mamluk Egypt, and Sufism in the Ottoman Era (16th-18th C.) (IFAO Press, 2006 and 2010).
The Case of the Animals versus Man before the King of Jinn

In collaboration with Lenn Goodman, he has produced a critical Arabic edition and English translation of The Case of the Animals versus Man before the King of Jinn (Oxford, 2009). Part of a tenth-century Iraqi encyclopedia, this philosophical text explores ethics, religion, and science, in the form of a fabled court case at which the animals of the world argue against humanity's claim of superiority over all creation.

The Case of the Animals versus Man is also available as a paperback, English translation only, from Oxford University Press, 2012.


Professor McGregor is currently at work on a study of Islamic religious practice and visual culture.

Recent Articles

“Religions and the Religion of Animals; Ethics, Self, and Language in Tenth-Century Iraq” in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (2015) 35(2) pp. 222-231


“Networks, Processions, and the Disruptive Display of Religion” in Everything is on the Move: 'Mamluk Empire' as Node in (trans-)regional networks S. Conermann ed. (Bonn University Press, 2014) pp. 311-324


“Intertext and Artworks – Reading Islamic Hagiography” Studies in Religion / Sciences Religieuses 43.3 (2014) pp. 425-438


“Notes on the Literature of Sufi Prayer Commentaries” Mamluk Studies Review 17 (2013) pp. 199-211


“Sufi Iconoclasm and the Problem of Comparative Religion” in Les mystiques juives, chrétiennes et musulmanes dans l’Égypte médiévale G. Cecere, M. Loubet, S. Pagani eds. (IFAO, 2013) pp. 173-187