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Department ofReligious Studies

David Pinault

David Pinault

Professor Emeritus, Religious Studies Department

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

David Pinault received his B.A. in French literature from Georgetown University and his M.A.and Ph.D in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the Department of Oriental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include comparative Christology and the status of Christian populations in Muslim-majority societies. Among the countries in which he has done fieldwork are Yemen, Egypt, Pakistan, India, and Indonesia. A recipient of Santa Clara University’s Public Intellectual Award and the Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence, he has served since 2007 as director of SCU’s interdisciplinary program in Arabic, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies (AIMES). He is also involved in wildlife rescue and animal trafficking issues in Southeast Asia and is a member of the advisory board of ProFauna Indonesia.

In addition to scholarly works (see below), his publications include the novel Museum of Seraphs in Torment.


RSOC 007 Religious Traditions of South and Southeast Asia
RSOC 019 Egyptian Religious Traditions
RSOC 079 Religion and Animal Suffering
RSOC 081 Islam
RSOC 126 Sufi Islam and Christian Mysticism
RSOC 154 Jesus in Islam and Christianity: Comparative Christologies
RSOC 182 Shia Islam in the Contemporary World
RSOC 190 Islam: Reformation and Modernity


The Crucifix on Mecca’s Front Porch: A Christian’s Companion for the Study of Islam. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2018.

Review of Gilles Kepel, Terror in France: The Rise of Jihad in the West (Princeton: University Press, 2017). The New Oxford Review, April 2018.

“Extremists, X-Men, and an Ex-Governor: A Cautionary Tale from Jakarta.” Commonweal, July 7, 2017.

“On Mecca’s Front Porch: An Indonesian City Implements Sharia Law.” Commonweal, April 14, 2017.

“Primordial Faith Embraces Coexistence in Indonesia.” (Essay on animist traditions on the island of Java.) National Catholic Reporter, November 6, 2015.

“The Allure of the Islamic State Vandals.” The Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2015.

“Endangered Indonesia: Can Its Unique Islamic Culture Survive an Era of Absolutism?” America: The Jesuit Review, November 24, 2014.

“‘Ready to be Martyrs’: Egyptian Christians Claim Their Ancient Roots.” America: The Jesuit Review, December 17, 2012.

“Sunni, Shia, Zaydi: Religious Identity and Sectarian Proselytizing in Contemporary Yemen.” Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 33.1 (Fall 2009).

“Creatures Great and Small: Viewing Animal Suffering with Interfaith Eyes.” America: The Jesuit Review, April 28, 2008.

Notes from the Fortune-Telling Parrot: Islam and the Struggle for Religious Pluralism in Pakistan. London: Equinox Publishing, 2008.

Horse of Karbala: Muslim Devotional Life in India. New York: Palgrave, 2001.

The Shiites: Ritual and Popular Piety in a Muslim Community. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992.

In the News

June 2, 2022

David Pinault talks about looking at Islam through a Catholic lens.

September 24, 2021

The Catholic World Report interviewed David Pinault about his new book Providence Blue.