Prof. Dr. Thomas Eich
Thursday 13:30 - 14:30
Appointments via the office: email@example.com
Since the early 2000s I developed three main research areas. My dissertation about Abu l-Huda al-Sayyadi (d. 1909) from Northern Syria dealt with Sufism in the late Ottoman Empire. Here I focused on the socio-political dimensions of sufi writings and investigated Abu l-Huda’s social network , including itstransformation during his eventful lifetime. In addition to my dissertation I also published several articles containing further new material.
My second research field encompasses contemporary debates about medical ethics among Sunni-Muslim scholars. Here I am particularly interested in discussions relating to the beginning of human life, such as reproductive medicine or pre-natal screening. The analysis addressed a time period from the 1980s until the present. This work tackled several questions: How are certain technical developments discussed in contemporary Islamic law? What are the concrete societal dimensions of the respective technological change and how do these affect the debates of the legal scholars? This approach enables us to see debates about medical ethics as a window into contemporary societal change in Middle East countries.
My third research area developed since the early 2010s and deals with Arabic Islamic texts from around the 7th to 12th centuries (fiqh, hadith, Qur’an and the respective commentary literature). The focus lies on texts referred to by contemporary Islamic legal scholars when they negotiate questions relating to prenatal life. My research here aims at a better understanding of these texts in their respective historical context. I have published several highly detailed analyses of the transmission history of hadith material relating to understandings of embryological development, which impacted considerably on the modern medical ethical debates of Sunni legal scholarship. This sometimes led to new and surprising findings. In the case of a hadith transmitted by Ibn Mas’ud, I was able to show how the exact wording of the transmission underwent small-scale changes until the 18th century. And in the case of a hadith transmitted by Hudhayfa b. Asid, I could develop hypotheses about the way how this famous hadith collector Muslim chose and arranged the hadith material in his collection.
I deepened my research interest in contemporary Islamic bioethics and historical perspectives by establishing an international research team “Contemporary Bioethics and the History of the Unborn in Islam”, which ran from 2015 until 2021 and was financed through a Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council. A summary of the results in the video format can be found here.
1999 Magister degree Bamberg University
2002 Dissertation Bochum University (RUB)
4/2002 – 12/2002 unemployed
2003 – 2007 DFG project on contemporary Islamic bioethics at the RUB
2005 – 2006 Wissenschaftlicher Assistant (lecturer), RUB
2007 – 2010 Akademischer Rat auf Zeit (non-tenured associate lecturer and academic officer), Tübingen University
2010 Professor Islamic Studies (W2) Hamburg University