Josef van Ess

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Josef van Ess, 2014

Josef van Ess (born April 18, 1934 in Aachen ) is a German scholar of Islam . Until his retirement in 1999 he taught at the University of Tübingen .


Josef van Ess is the son of the needle maker Johann van Ess. From 1953 to 1957 he studied Islamic studies, Arabic , Turkish , Persian , classical philology and medieval philosophy in Bonn and Frankfurt am Main . In 1959 he was charged with a suggested by Hellmut Ritter dissertation on Islamic mysticism of the Bonn doctorate . The habilitation took place in Frankfurt in 1964 with a thesis on epistemology in Islamic scholasticism. He was visiting professor at the University of California Los Angeles (1967) and at the American University of Beirut (1967/1968). In 1968 he succeeded Rudi Paret as full professor at the Oriental Seminar of the University of Tübingen at the chair for "Islamic Studies and Semitic Studies".

His main work is theology and society in the 2nd and 3rd centuries hijra. A history of religious thought in early Islam , in the six volumes of which he reconstructs the ideas of early Islamic theologians, which are mostly only handed down by later authors.

Awards and honors


  • The world of thoughts of Harith al-Muhâsibî. Illustrated and explained on the basis of translations from his writings. Bonn: Self-published by the Oriental Seminary of the University of Bonn 1961. (Bonn Oriental Studies. New Series. Volume 12.)
  • The epistemology of 'Adudaddîn al-Ici. Translation and commentary of the first book of his Mawaqif. Steiner, Wiesbaden 1966. (Academy of Sciences and Literature. Publications of the Oriental Commission. Volume 22.) ISBN 3-447-03558-7
  • Traditionalist polemic against ʿAmr Ibn ʿUbaid. On a text by īAlī Ibn ʿUmar ad-Dâraquthnî. Steiner, Beirut / Wiesbaden 1967. (Beirut texts and studies. Volume 7. Reprint Ergon, Würzburg 2004.) ISBN 3-89913-006-5
  • Early Muʿtazilite heresiography. Two works by Nâschi 'al-Akbar (died 293 H.). Orient Institut, Beirut 1971. (Beirut texts and studies. Volume 11. Reprint Ergon, Würzburg 2003.) ISBN 3-89913-277-7
  • The Kitâb an-Nakth des Nazzâm and its reception in the Kitâb al-Futyâ des Jâḥiz. A collection of the fragments with translation and commentary. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 1972. (Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen. Philological-historical class. Third part, volume 70.)
  • The biographical lexicon of Salâhhadîn Halîl ibn Aibak as-Safadî. Part ninth: From Asab ibn Ibrâhîm to Aydekîn al-Bunduqdâr. Published by Josef van Ess. Steiner, Wiesbaden 1974. (Bibliotheca Islamica. Volume 6i.)
  • Between hadeeth and theology. Studies on the Origin of Predestinian Tradition. De Gruyter, Berlin and New York 1975. (Studies on the language, history and culture of the Islamic Orient. New series. Volume 7.) ISBN 3-11-004290-8
  • Beginnings of Muslim Theology: Two Anti-Qadaritic Treatises from the First Century of the Hijra. Steiner, Wiesbaden 1977. (Beirut texts and studies. Volume 14. No reprint here.) ISBN 3-515-01842-5
  • Chiliastic Expectations and the Temptation of Divinity. The Caliph al-Hâkim (386-411 H.). Winter, Heidelberg 1977. (Treatises of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences. Philosophical-historical class. Born 1977. 2. Paper.) ISBN 3-533-02662-0
  • Theology and Science. The case of Abû Ishâq an-Nazzâm. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 1978. (The second annual United Arab Emirates Lecture in Islamic Studies.)
  • The Thailasân of Ibn Harb. “Mantle poems” in Arabic. Winter, Heidelberg 1979. (Treatises of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences. Philosophical-historical class. Year 1979. 4th paper.) ISBN 3-533-02792-9
  • Unused texts on karrâmîya. A collection of materials. Winter, Heidelberg 1980. (Treatises of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences. Philosophical-historical class. Year 1980. 6th paper.) ISBN 3-533-02849-6
  • The vizier and his scholars. On the content and genesis of the theological writings of Raschîduddîn Fazlullâh (d. 718/1318). Steiner, Wiesbaden 1981. (Treatises for the customer of the Orient. Volume 45.4.) ISBN 3-515-03359-9
  • Une lecture à rebors de l'histoire du Mu'tazilisme . Revue des études islamiques 14, Paris 1984.
  • Together with Hans Küng, Heinrich von Stietencorn and Heinz Bechert: Christianity and world religions. Introduction to the dialogue with Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism . Piper, Munich 1984. ISBN 3-492-03517-5
  • The youthful god. Anthropomorphism in early islam . Arizona State University, Tempe 1989. (The university lecture in religion.)
  • Theology and Society in the 2nd and 3rd Century Hijra. A History of Religious Thought in Early Islam. De Gruyter, Berlin 1991–1997. (Six volumes.)
  • The scholar's misstep: The "Plague of Emmaus" and its theological aftermath (= supplements to the writings of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, Philosophical-Historical Class, Volume 13). Winter, Heidelberg 2001, ISBN 3-8253-1200-3
  • Les prémices de la théologie musulmane (= Lectures de l'institute du monde arabe). Albin Michel, Paris 2002
  • The one and the other. Observations on Islamic heresiographic texts (= Studies on the History and Culture of the Islamic Orient, New Series, Volume 23). De Gruyter, Berlin 2011, two volumes, ISBN 978-3-11-021577-9
  • Jihad yesterday and today (= Julius Wellhausen Lecture, Volume 3). De Gruyter, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-024569-1
  • The dreams of school wisdom. Life and work of 'Als ibn Muhammad al-Ǧurgānī (d. 816/1413) (= Treatises for the news of the Orient, Volume 86). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2013, ISBN 978-3-447-06821-5
  • In partial shade. The orientalist Hellmut Ritter (1892–1971) (= publication of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, Philosophical-Historical Class). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2013, ISBN 978-3-447-10029-8
  • Small writings (= Islamic history and civilization, Volume 137). Brill, Leiden 2018, three volumes, ISBN 978-90-04-31224-1

Web links

See also

Individual evidence

  1. a b Prof. Dr. phil. Josef van Ess . In: Attempto , Jg. 29-30 (1968), pp. 132-133, here p. 132.
  2. Josef van Ess: Jihad yesterday and today . De Gruyter, Berlin 2012, p. VIII.
  3. ↑ Directory of members: Josef van Ess. Academia Europaea, accessed July 24, 2017 .
  4. ^ High distinction for Tübingen orientalists. In: Information Service Science . July 20, 2010, accessed August 2, 2010 .
  5. Josef van Ess. The Order Pour le mérite for Sciences and Arts, accessed on August 24, 2012 .