Iranian Studies Directory

» Back to Listings    

D Gershon Lewental


Academic Profile

D Gershon Lewental is a cultural historian of the Middle East, focusing on how societies use religion, memory, and conflict to define and maintain their identities. He is an assistant professor at Shalem College in Jerusalem and has served as a visiting assistant professor in the Departments of History and International & Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma since 2012. He earned his bachelor of arts degree (magna cum laude) from Cornell University and his doctorate in Middle Eastern history from Brandeis University. His dissertation, on the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah during the Arab-Islamic conquest of Iran and the changing perceptions of the engagement through time, received the Foundation of Iranian Studies Best Dissertation Award and the Brandeis University Glatzer Dissertation Prize. His fields of specialisation include early Islamic history and historiography, Iranian history, the Bahaʾi faith, and Israeli society.

He is preparing two book manuscripts, one on the interplay of religion, nationalism, and memory in the modern Middle East and the other on the rôle of narrative in early Islamic historiography. His article, ‘“Saddam’s Qadisiyyah”: Religion and history in the service of state ideology in Baʿthi Iraq’, appeared in Middle Eastern Studies in 2014 and articles on Iranian identity in Islamic historical narratives and radical Islamists’ memory are forthcoming in other journals. He is also the English translator of numerous Hebrew academic works, including Yaron Harel’s Zionism in Damascus (I B Tauris, 2015) . Other topics on which he is currently working include a broad study of the Bahaʾi community in Israel from 1917 to the present; and an analysis of the elaboration of Tajiki identity. At the University of Oklahoma, he teaches numerous courses, including Religion and society in the Middle East, Early Islamic empires, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Religion and minorities in Israel, Political Islam, Jews and Christians under Islam, Rebirth of Israel (History of Zionism), and Israeli society.

His professional website is located at

Sample Publications

'Death of Rostam' (Iranian Studies, 2017); 'Saddam's Qadisiyyah' (Middle Eastern Studies, 2014); 'Qadesiya' and 'Rostam Farrokhzad' (Encyc. Iranica, 2013); over 70 articles in Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic world (2010)

Field of Research

constitutional period; early islamic history; baha'i studies

Current Position

Assistant Professor, Shalem College