Lena Salaymeh was awarded the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in Textual Studies for her 2016 book, The Beginnings of Islamic Law: Late Antique Islamicate Legal Traditions, published by Cambridge University Press.
The Beginnings of Islamic Law is a major and innovative contribution to the understanding of the historical unfolding of Islamic law. In the book, Salaymeh challenges the embedded assumptions in conventional Islamic legal historiography by developing a critical approach to the study of both Islamic and Jewish legal history and examines how Muslim jurists incorporated and transformed ‘Near Eastern’ legal traditions. Salaymeh received her JD from Harvard Law School and her PhD in Legal and Middle Eastern History from UC Berkeley. She is an Associate Professor at Tel Aviv University, a Robbins Collection Associate Research Fellow, and a Visiting Research Scholar at the Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University for the 2018-2019 academic year. While at the Robbins Collection, Salaymeh revised her dissertation, which became the basis for The Beginnings of Islamic Law.