Rice University Department of Religion

David Cook image

Office: 211 Humanities Building
Phone: 713-348-2440
Email: dbcook@rice.edu

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2001

Areas of Teaching
Origins and historical development of Islam.

David Cook's interests include the study of early Islam, Muslim apocalyptic literature and movements for radical social change, dreams, historical astronomy, Judeo-Arabic literature and West African Islam.

His most recent books are Understanding Jihad and Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature. He is currently working on a book on the theme of Islamic martyrdom for Cambridge University Press, and has published on the subject of martyrdom operations.

In the future, Cook intends to work on the understudied subject of West African Islam, focusing on the vast Arabic literature of sub-Saharan Africa (especially in Nigeria). Other future projects include finishing the trilogy of apocalyptic works (Studies in Muslim Apocalyptic, on classical apocalyptic beliefs; and Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature being the first two in the series) with a work on the apocalyptic and millenarian foundations of Muslim civilizations. Hopefully this will be the beginning of the serious study of the role which apocalyptic and radical social movements have played in Islamic history.

Selected Publications


Studies in Muslim Apocalyptic. Darwin Press, Princeton 2003, in the series “Studies in Late Antiquity and Early Islam.”

Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2005.

Understanding Jihad, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.

Martyrdom in Islam
. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Understanding and Addressing Suicide Attacks  (with Olivia Allison). Greenwood: Praeger Press, 2007.

Refereed Articles
“Muslim Messianic Movements and Astronomical Phenomena,” Revue du Monde Musulmane et de la Méditerranée 91-94 (2001), pp. 29-51.

"Hadith, Authority and the End of the World,” Oriente Moderno 21 (2001), pp. 1-22. 

“America, the Second ‘Ad: The Perception of the United States in Modern Muslim Apocalyptic Literature,” Yale Center for    International and Area Studies Publications. 5 (2002) 150-93.

“An Early Muslim Daniel Apocalypse,” Arabica 49 (2002) 55-96.
“Suicide Attacks or Martyrdom Operations in Contemporary Jihad Literature,” Nova Religio 6 (2002), pp. 7-44.

“The Recovery of Radical Islam after the Fall of the Taliban,” Terrorism and Political Violence 15 (2003), pp. 31-56.

“The Implications of Martyrdom Operations for Contemporary Islam,” The Journal of Religious Ethics 32 (2004), pp. 129-51.
“Women Fighting in Jihad?” in Bruce Hoffman (ed), Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 38 (Sept.-Oct. 2005), pp. 375-84.

“Apostasy from Islam,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam .

“al-Barzanji and the Apocalyptic Atmosphere of 1665-6,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, in press.

“Muslim Apocalyptic and Messianic Responses to the Mongol Invasions,” submitted (to the Endzeiten volume at the Fern    Universitat, Germany).

Chapters in Edited Volumes
“The Beginnings of Islam as an Apocalyptic Movement,” in Steven O’Leary and Glen McGhee (eds.), War in    Heaven/Heaven on Earth. London: Equinox, 2005, pp. 79-93.

“New Testament Citations in Muslim Ascetic Literature and the Position of Jesus in Early Islam,” in David Thomas (ed), The   Encounter of Oriental Christianity with Early Islam. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2006, pp. 185-223. 

“The Role of Islam as a Motivating Factor in Usama b. Ladin’s appeal within the Muslim World,” in David Kamien (ed), The  McGraw-Hill Handbook for Homeland Security. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006, pp. 37-52.

“Syria during Late Antiquity and Early Islam,” forthcoming in Philip Rousseau (ed), A Companion to Late Antiquity (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing), submitted.