Herb holds a doctoral degree from the University of Toronto's Centre for the Study of Religion where he focused on Islam, Sikhism, and method and theory in the study of religion. His research focus on Islamic origins in the 7th and 8th centuries, and on the birth of the Nation of Islam in the United States.
He has lived in Brazil, Canada, Jordan, and the United Kingdom.
- Elijah Muhammad. Makers of the Muslim World, edited by Patricia Crone. Oneworld Publications, 2013.
- Elijah Muhammad and Islam. New York: New York University Press, 2009.
- The Development of Exegesis in Early Islam: The Debate over the Authenticity of Muslim Literature from the Formative Period. Richmond: Curzon Press, 2000.
Routledge Handbook on Early Islam, edited by Herbert Berg. London: Routledge, (under contract).
New Perspectives on the Nation of Islam, edited by Herbert Berg and Dawn-Marie Gibson (forthcoming).
- Method and Theory in the Study of Islamic Origins, edited Herbert Berg. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2003.
- Islamic Origins Reconsidered: John Wansbrough and the Study of Early Islam, edited by Herbert Berg. Special Issue of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 9.1 (1997).
Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals and Collected Works
"Methodologies in the Study of hadīths: Islamic Origins and the Formation of the Islamic Tradition." In The Oxford Handbook of Hadith Studies, edited by Mustafa Shah. Oxford: Oxford University Press (under contract).
"Exegesis." In Wiley-Blackwell Companion to the Hadith, edited by Daniel Brown. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing (forthcoming).
- "African American Islam." In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).
- "Islamic Origins and the Question of Methodologies." In The Oxford Handbook of Qur'anic Studies, edited by Muhammad Abdel Haleem and Mustafa Shah. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).
"The 'School' of Ibn 'Abbās." In The Meaning of the Word: Lexicology and Tafsīr, edited by Stephen Burge, 67-88. Oxford: Oxford University Press in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2015.
"Black Muslims." In Routledge Handbook of Islam in the West, edited by Roberto Tottoli, 123-136. London: Routledge, 2014.
- "The Divine Sources." In The Ashgate Research Companion to Islamic Law, edited by Peri Bearman and Ruud Peters, 27-40. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2014.
- Review Essay: Muḥammad is Not the Father of Any of Your Men: The Making of the Last Prophet, by David S. Powers. Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 40 (2013): 363-372.
- "Failures (of Nerve?) in the Study of Islamic Origins." Failure and Nerve in the Study of Religion: Working with Donald Wiebe, edited by William E. Arnal, Willi Braun, Russell T. McCutcheon, 112-128. London: Equinox, 2012.
- "The Essence of Essentializing: A Critical Discourse on 'Critical Discourse in the Study of Islam'." Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 24 (2012):1-20.
- "Elijah Muhammad." In Oxford Bibliographies in Islamic Studies, edited by Tamara Sonn. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
- "Nation of Islam." In Oxford Bibliographies in Islamic Studies, edited by Tamara Sonn. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
- "The Needle in the Haystack: Islamic Origins and the Nature of the Early Sources." In The Coming of the Comforter: When, Where, and to Whom? Studies on the Rise of Islam in Memory of John Wansbrough, edited by Basile Lourié, Carlos A. Segovia, Alessandro Bausi, 299-330. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgia Press, 2012.
- "Elijah Muhammad's Redeployment of Muhammad: Racialist and Prophetic Interpretations of the Qur'ān." In Transmission and Dynamics of the Textual Sources of Islam: Essays in Honour of Harald Motzki, edited by Nicolet Boekhoff-van der Voort, Kees Versteegh, and Joas Wagemakers, 321-345. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2011.
- "The Isnād and the Production of Cultural Memory: Ibn 'Abbās as a Case Study." Numen 58 (2011): 259-283.
- "Abbasid Historians' Portrayals of al-'Abbās b. 'Abd al-Muttalib." Abbasid Studies II: Occasional Papers of the School of Abbasid Studies, Leuven, 28 June - 1 July 2004, edited by John Nawas, 13-38. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, 177. Leuven: Peeters Publishers, 2010.
- "The Historical Muhammad and the Historical Jesus: A Comparison of Scholarly Reinventions and Reinterpretations," with Sarah Rollens. Studies in Religion / Sciences Religieuses, 32.2 (2008): 271-292.
- "Early African American Muslim Movements and the Qur'an." Journal of Qur'anic Studies, 8.1 (2006): 22-37. Reprinted as "Wczesne ruchy afroamerykańskich muzułmanów i Qur'an." Translated by Julian Jeliński. In Nowoczesność Europa islam, edited by Selim Chazbijewicz, Mariusz Turowski, and Karolina Skarbek, 283-295. Warsaw: Instytut Studiów nad Islamem, 2012.
- "Context: Muhammad." Blackwell Companion to the Qur'ān, edited by Andrew Rippin, 187-204. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2006.
- "Mythmaking in the African American Muslim Context: The Moorish Science Temple, the Nation of Islam, and the Muslim Society of America." Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 73.3 (2005): 685-703. Reprinted as "Mitotwórstwo w kontekście afroamerykańskich ruchów muzułmańskich: Mauryjska Świątynia Wiedzy, Naród Islamu i Amerykańskie Stowarzyszenie Muzułmanów." Translated by Julian Jeliński. In Nowoczesność Europa islam, edited by Selim Chazbijewicz, Mariusz Turowski, and Karolina Skarbek, 267-281. Warsaw: Instytut Studiów nad Islamem, 2012.
- "Ibn 'Abbās in `Abbāsid-Era Tafsīr." Abbasid Studies: Occasional Papers of the School of Abbasid Studies, Cambridge 6-10 July 2002, edited by James E. Montgomery, 129-146. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, 135. Leuven: Peeters Publishers, 2004.
- "Competing Paradigms in the Study of Islamic Origins: Qur'ān 15:89-91 and the Value of Isnāds." Methods and Theories in the Study of Islamic Origins, edited by Herbert Berg, 259-290. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2003.
- "Weaknesses in the Arguments for the Early Dating of tafsīr." In With Reverence for the Word: Medieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, edited by Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Barry D. Walfish, and Joseph W. Goering, 329-345. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
- "Elijah Muhammad and the Qur'ān: The Evolution of His Tafsīr." Muslim World 89 (1999): 42-55."Elijah Muhammad: An African American Muslim mufassir?" Arabica: Revue d'études Arabes 45 (1998): 320-346.
- "The Implications of, and Opposition to, the Methods and Theories of John Wansbrough." Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 9.1 (1997): 3-22. Reprinted in The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, edited by Ibn Warraq, 489-509. Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2000.
- "Tabarī's Exegesis of the Qur'ānic Term al-kitāb." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 63.4 (1995): 761-774.