David D. Grafton

Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations

Office hours: Tuesday 3-5:30 PM
Wednesday 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
By appointment
Email: dgrafton@hartfordinternational.edu
Phone: 860-509-9538

Dr. David Grafton


The Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton is the Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations on the faculty of the Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford International University. The Duncan Black Macdonald Center is the oldest center of its kind in the United States. Dr. Grafton holds a PhD in Islamic Studies, from the Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, University of Birmingham, England, an MDiv from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a BA from Capital University, Columbus, Ohio.

Prior to his appointment at Hartford International University, Dr. Grafton served as the Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian Muslim Relations at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and Director of Graduate Studies (2008-2016), the Coordinator of Graduate Studies and Director of the Center for Middle East Christianity at the Evangelical (Presbyterian) Theological Seminary in Cairo (2003-2008), and adjunct lecturer in Islamic studies at the Dar Comboni Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Cairo, Egypt (2000-2008).

Dr. Grafton’s academic interests focus on the history of Christian-Muslim relationships, Lutheranism and Islam, Christian theological perspectives on Islam, the history of Christianity in the Middle East, American Christian perspectives of religion and society in the Middle East. He is the author of numerous articles, and chapters of books on Christian-Muslim relations, as well as The Christians of Lebanon: Political Rights in Islamic Law (I.B. Tauris, 2004), and Piety, Politics and Power: Lutherans Encountering Islam in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, 2009), The Contested Origins of the 1865 Arabic Bible: Contributions to the Nineteenth Century Nahda (Brill, 2015). He was the North American Sections editor for the bibliographic history Christian-Muslim Relations: A Biographical History 1500-1900 (Brill, 2016, 2020), including vols. 11 and 16, and An American Biblical Orientalism: The Construction of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Nineteenth-Century American Evangelical Piety (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019). His most recent publication is More Than a Cup of Coffee and Tea: a generation of Lutheran-Muslim Relationships (2021).

Dr. Grafton often speaks to community groups, congregations, mosques and Islamic centers about interfaith dialogue and relationships, Islam, and Christian-Muslim relations. He is an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and has served Lutheran congregations in New Jersey, England, and an international congregation in Cairo, Egypt.


  • B.A. (Capital University)
  • M.Div. (Luther Seminary)
  • Ph.D. (University of Birmingham, England)

Areas of Study

  • The history of Christian-Muslim relationships
  • Christian theological perspectives on Islam
  • Lutheranism and Islam
  • History of Christianity in the Middle East
  • American Christian perspectives of religion and society in the Middle East

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