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. From 2012 until 2018, he served as a visiting assistant professor of Middle Eastern history in the Departments of International & Area Studies and History. He is currently an assistant professor of Islamic history in the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Shalem College in Jerusalem, Israel. 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 changing perceptions of the Arab-Islamic conquest of Iran, 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. He has published articles on the literary development of Islamic Iranian identity in Iranian Studies (2017), the use and abuse of religious history by Ṣaddām Ḥusayn in Middle Eastern Studies (2014) and other articles, including a study of 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. His courses include Minorities in the Middle East, Arab-Israeli conflict, Religion and Society in the Middle East, the Modern Middle East, Jews and Christians under Islam, and more.