Hans Jansen

17 Nov 1942
5 May 2015
Offer Flowers
Light a Candle
Pray for the soul
Seek Blessings

Johannes Juliaan Gijsbert “Hans” Jansen (17 November 1942 – 5 May 2015) was a Dutch scholar of contemporary Islam, author and politician.

Hans Jansen belongs to the “revisionists” in Islamic Studies, i.e. he fundamentally doubts the historicity of the Islamic traditions on early Islam which were written only 150 to 200 years after Muhammad. Moreover, Jansen doubts the existence of Muhammad as a historical person.

Hans Jansen’s parents were strict Calvinists. At the age of 17, Jansen began studying theology at the University of Amsterdam, yet changed the subject after one year to Arabic and Semitic languages. In 1966 he spent one year in Cairo in order to learn Arabic. Then he continued his studies at the University of Leiden where he made his Ph.D. in 1974.

Jansen taught at the universities of Groningen, Leiden and Amsterdam, and was director of the Dutch Research Institute in Cairo. Then he became associate professor at the University of Leiden. 2003-2008 he was Houtsma Professor of Modern Islamic Thought at the University of Utrecht.

In 1988 Jansen converted to Catholicism. He later said that he then thought also about a conversion to Islam: Islam has “a very attractive and powerful culture, a high culture, great beauty. An enormous suction effect.” Jansen was married twice. His first wife Eefje van Santen was daughter of the communist politician Joop van Santen. With his second wife he had three children. A son is cabaret artist who does not mince his words about Islam.

Jansen died of a cerebral infarction at the age of 72.

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