Professor Thomas has been a specialist in Islam and Christian-Muslim relations for many years. After undergraduate work at Oxford, he worked in the northern Sudan, where his interest in Islam was kindled. He took this further in theological studies at Cambridge and in PhD research at Lancaster.
Professor Thomas worked in parts of the UK for some years on relations between the churches and Muslim communities, and in 1993 he was appointed Lecturer at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Selly Oak. In 2004 he was promoted to Reader in the Department of Theology and Religion, and in 2007 was appointed Professor of Christianity and Islam. In 2011 he was made Nadir Dinshaw Professor of Interreligious Relations.
My main areas of research are Islamic religious thought and the history and theology of Christian-Muslim relations. These are largely expressed in the following current research activities:
Christian-Muslim Relations, a bibliographical history an AHRC-funded project, aims to compile a definitive history of works written by Christians and Muslims against and about one another in the period 600-1900. The outcomes are published by E.J. Brill, Leiden, in print online by Brill. By July 2013, 5 volumes appeared covering the period 600-1500. I head an international team of 25 specialists who are currently working on volume 6, covering the period 1500-1600.
He is Islam editor of The Encyclopaedia of the Bible and its Reception, which traces the reception of themes and figures from the Bible in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, world faiths, literature, music, art, theatre and film. Published by De Gruyter, Berlin, it will appear in 30 volumes over 12 years, of which 7 volumes have appeared.
He is managing editor of the Brill series The History of Christian-Muslim Relations.
and senior editor of the journal Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations.