Matthew Lynch

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Matthew B. Lynch

Ph.D. Candidate, Islamic Studies


M.A., University of Chicago, 2009
B.A. (with honors), Marlboro College, 2006

Research Interests

  • Medieval Muslim Mysticism
  • Critical Issues in Islamic Studies
  • Persian Literature
  • Hermeneutics and Aesthetics

Professional Biography

Matthew B. Lynch is currently completing his dissertation in the Department of Religious Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. His dissertation, “The Qur’an in Persian? Rumi’s Masnavi as Sacred Scripture,” investigates a 13th century epic poem from the Persian and Islamic traditions. He argues that this poem, the Masnavi-e Ma’navi of Jalal al-Din Rumi, forges an explicit and implicit connection with the primary sacred scripture of Islam, the Qur’an. The Masnavi constructs itself, and comes to be, a secondary Islamic sacred scripture—leading the book to come to be referred to as “the Qur’an in Persian.” Matthew received a dissertation fellowship from UNC for the 2016-2017 academic year. He has conducted research in Turkey, Iran, Jordan, and Spain. He was a visiting instructor in the Religious Studies Department at Guilford College in 2015 and 2016, and will be teaching within the Religion Program at Bard College this coming year.


“Jalal al-din Rumi,” Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of World Literature, Volume II (forthcoming).

“Between Cynicism and Sincerity in the Study of Sufism,” Special Issue, “Mysticisms”, English Language Notes (ELN), University of Colorado at Boulder (forthcoming).