Axel is an assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Seton Hall University and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Interreligious Studies. He completed his doctorate at Harvard Divinity School in comparative (interreligious) theology, Islamic Studies, and Catholic theology in 2019. As a constructive theologian, his scholarship aims to read pre-modern sources as resources to contemporary questions. His dissertation and current research focus on poetry, poetics, the imagination, and social imaginary as ways to understand the Christian theology of the Incarnation and the Islamic theology of the imagination. Contemporary concerns of Islamophobia, racism, and white supremacy inform a lot of his research in the field of interreligious studies. His other academic interest attends to how the ideology of capitalism functions as a modern religion that effectively restricts our collective imagination of alternative, more equitable ways to relate with each other. At Seton Hall, he teaches the introductory course of Religions of the World, as well as CORE and upper-level elective courses such as Islamic Spirituality and Mysticism, Islamic and Christian Perspectives on Faith and Reason, Pluralism in Multireligious America: The Politics of Inclusion, and Islamophobia: Theology, History & Contemporary Contexts. He is developing two courses, one entitled God is Beautiful and Loves Beauty: Arts and Literature of Islam and Muslim Cultures, and the other on Interfaith Studies. He lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, with his spouse (Kim), their child (Emery), and two rescue poodles (Donovan and Ducky).
- Harvard Divinity School, Th.D.
- Harvard Divinity School, M.T.S.
- St. Louis University, B.A., B.S.
2022 “Undoing and Unsaying Islamophobia: Toward a Restorative and Praxis-Oriented Catholic Theology with Islam,” Horizons vol. 48, no. 2 (February) (doi.org/10.1017/hor.2021.61)
2021 “Transposing Metaphors and Poetics from Text to World: The Theo-Poetics of Lāhūrī’s ‘Mystical Commentary’ on Ḥāfiẓ’s Love Lyrics,” Journal of Sufi Studies Vol. 9, No. 1 (March): 106–144. (doi.org/10.1163/22105956-BJA10008)
2020 "From Indifference to Dwelling in Difference: Catholic-Muslim Marriages and Families and the Non-Hegemonic Reception of Muslim Migrants." Journal of Moral Theology Vol. 9, No. 2 (June 2020): 115-146.
2022 “Toward a Praxis of Undoing and Unsaying: Catholic Theology, Interreligious Studies, and Anti-Muslim Bigotry,” in the Georgetown Companion to Interreligious Studies, edited by Lucinda Mosher (http://press.georgetown.edu/book/georgetown/georgetown-companion-interreligious-studies)
2020 "Catholic Theology, Interreligious Studies, and Islamophobia: Toward a Restorative and Praxis-Oriented Theology with Islam," in the Georgetown Companion to Interreligious Studies, edited by Lucinda Mosher (forthcoming)
2020 "Comparative Theology and Interreligious Studies: Embracing and Transgressing the Dialogical Relationships among Religious Traditions," in the Brill Companion to Comparative Theology, edited by Pim Valkenberg (forthcoming)
2017 "An Interpreter and Not a Judge: Insights into Christian-Islamic Comparative Theology," in How To Do Comparative Theology, Ed. Francis X. Clooney & Klaus von Stosch (New York: Fordham University Press, 2018) (https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1xhr5zg.8)
Book Review Essays
2021 Religious Hatred: Prejudice, Islamophobia, and Antisemitism in Global Context, by Paul Hedges, in Journal of Interreligious Studies, no. 33. (irstudies.org/index.php/jirs/article/view/655)
2020 Muhammad Reconsidered: A Christian Perspective on Islamic Prophecy, by Anna Bonta Moreland, in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations (forthcoming) (doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2020.1802862)
2018 Rethinking Ibn 'Arabi, by Gregory Lipton, in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 30, no. 1 (2019): 105-11. (doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2018.1541618)
2017 What Is Islam?: The Importance of Being Islamic, by Shahab Ahmed, in Journal of Interreligious Studies and Intercultural Theology, Vol 1, Issue 1, March (doi.org/10.1558/isit.32524)
2022 Sculpting the Self: Islam, Selfhood, and Human Flourishing, by Muhammad U. Faruque, in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations (forthcoming)
2022 Naming Neoliberalism: Exposing the Spirit of Our Age, by Rodney Clapp, in Modern Believing: The Journal of Theological Liberalism (forthcoming)
2021 Theopoetics and Religious Difference, by Marius van Hoogstraten, in Journal of Interreligious Studies, no. 34 (irstudies.org/index.php/jirs/article/view/693)
2021 Decolonial Futures: Intercultural and Interreligious Intelligence for Theological Education, by Christine J. Hong, in Journal of Interreligious Studies, no. 33 (irstudies.org/index.php/jirs/article/view/667)
2021 People of the Book: An Interfaith Dialogue about How Jews, Christians and Muslims Understand Their Sacred Scriptures, by Dan Cohn-Sherbok, George D. Chryssides, and Usama Hasan, in Modern Believing: The Journal of Theological Liberalism 62.4
2021 Understanding Religion: Theories and Methods for Studying Religiously Diverse Societies, by Paul Hedges, in Journal of Interreligious Studies, no. 32 (irstudies.org/index.php/jirs/article/view/609)
2021 Crossing Confessional Boundaries: Exemplary Lives in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Traditions, by John Renard, in Reading Religion: A Publication of the American Academy of Religion (https://readingreligion.org/books/crossing-confessional-boundaries)
2021 Christian Flesh, by Paul Griffiths, in Horizons, Vol. 48, Issue 1 (http://doi.org/10.1017/hor.2021.45)
2021 The Other Prophet: Jesus in the Qur’an, by Mouhanad Khorchide and Klaus von Stosch, in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 31, no. 4: 452-456 (doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2020.1863636)
2021 “Supremacist Theological Entanglements: Christianity, Supersessionism, Racism, and Islamophobia”, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and Georgetown Walsh School of Foreign Service, October 21 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k_Hy-CvkxI)