Nathan Hofer

Nathan Hofer Assistant Professor
Education: BA in Religious Studies, Arizona State University, 2003
MA in Jewish Studies, Emory University, 2005
PhD in Religion, Emory University, 2011
Interest: Islam and Judaism
Phone: 573-882-0058



My research is currently dedicated to the social and religious history of Sufism (Islamic mysticism) in medieval Egypt. I am particularly interested in delineating the many different groups of Sufis active in medieval Egypt, how they imagined their place in society, as well as their relationship to each other. I am also interested in the role these Sufis played in popularizing Sufism in the Islamicate world after the 12th century. More broadly, my work is concerned with issues of institutionalization and organization as they relate to mystical doctrines, practices, and charismatic figures. How do these ideas and practices persist over time and lend themselves to coherent social identities? How do new social formations emerge and persist after the death of a charismatic figure? How do they change over time?

My secondary interest is in the social and religious history of the Jews of the medieval Islamicate world, particularly those Jews who worked within and on the classical Islamic traditions of philosophy, theology, and Sufism.

In addition to the larger project outlined above, I am also working on some smaller projects on the so-called Jewish Sufis of medieval Egypt, the development of the genre of Sufi monographic hagiography in Arabic, and am beginning to address the vexing question of the history of Sufism in Egypt during the Fatimid caliphate (969—1178 CE).


  • RS 2400 Judaism
  • RS 2500 Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
  • RS 2700 Islam
  • RS 8005 History of Sufism