Dimitri Gutas, PhD

  • Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Research summary

Dimitri Gutas studies and teaches classical Arabic and the pre-modern intellectual tradition in Islamic civilization from different aspects. At the center of his concerns lies the study and understanding of Arabic in its many forms as a prerequisite for the proper appreciation of the written sources which inform us about the history and culture of Islamic societies. He also has an abiding interest in the transmission of Greek scientific and philosophical works into the Islamic world through the momentous Graeco-Arabic translation movement in Baghdad during the 8th-10th centuries AD (2nd-4th Hijri). In addition to his lexicographical interests in Graeco-Arabic studies, Dimitri Gutas has devoted a large part of his scholarly career to the edition and study of Greek philosophical texts translated into Arabic and their influence in the Islamic world. The significance of the Graeco-Arabic translation movement for Arabic letters and Islamic civilization in general led Dimitri Gutas also to investigate its position in the social history of the early Abbasid caliphate in which it took place. This study led to the publication of Greek Thought, Arabic Culture (London and New York 1998), which looked into the major social, political, and ideological factors that occasioned the translation movement. The social history of intellectual currents in early Islamic civilization, which includes an investigation of the multicultural elements that constituted it, is increasingly becoming the focus of contemporary research worldwide. Pursuing his interest in this subject, Dimitri Gutas is currently engaged in a book-length study on translations from and into Greek, Syriac, Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin from the Hellenistic period to the Renaissance.

  • PhD, Yale University, 1974
  • MA, Yale University, 1969
  • BA, Yale University
  • Greek Thought, Arabic Culture: The Graeco-Arabic Translation Movement in Baghdad, London, 1998;
  • “The Heritage of Avicenna: The Golden Age of Arabic Philosophy, 1000 - ca. 1350,” Avicenna and His Heritage (2002)
  • “The Study of Arabic Philosophy in the Twentieth Century. An Essay on the Historiography of Arabic Philosophy” Brit J of MEern Studies ( 2002)
  • Theophrastus, On First Principles. Greek Text and Medieval Arabic Translation (ed. & translated, 2009)
International activities
  • Greek and Arabic Lexicon (GALex)
    Germany (2007-Present)
    Professor Gutas is involved in a collaboration with Professor Gerhard Endress of the University of Bochum, Germany, in producing A Greek and Arabic Lexicon. This consists of creating materials for a Dictionary of the Medieval Translations from Greek into Arabic. The lexicon is being produced in fascicles. It started publication in 1992, and so far eight fascicles have been published by the house of Brill in Leiden, the Netherlands. Funds for the research effort come from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German NEH), from NELC moneys (Viscusi fund), and from research funds provided by the Yale Provost.

    Univ of Bochum, Univ of Bochum

  • Philosophy in the Islamic world
    Switzerland (2007-Present)
    Professor Gutas is working in a collaborative project aiming to produce a three volume history of philosophy in the Islamic world, from the beginning to the present, in the series, "Ueberweg. Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie."

    Univ of Zurich, Univ of Zurich

Arabic, Greek, Persian