H. A. R. Gibb

H. A. R. Gibb books and biography

Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb

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Sir Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb, (2 January 1895 - 1971), also commonly referred to as "H. R. Gibb", was a Scottish scholar of Islam and the Middle East.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Gibb returned to Scotland for education at the age of 5 after the death of his father. Studies at the University of Edinburgh were interrupted by World War I, during which he served in France and Italy in the Royal Field Artillery. For his service, he was awarded a 'war privelge' MA. After the war he studied Arabic at the School of Oriental Studies of London University and obtained an MA in 1922 - his thesis was written on the Muslim conquests of Central Asia. He married Helen Jessie (Ella) the same year, and together they had one son and one daughter.

From 1921 to 1937 Gibb taught Arabic at the School of Oriental Studies and received professorship in 1930. He became an editor of the Encyclopaedia of Islam in this period. In 1937 Gibb succeeded D. S. Margoliouth as laudian professor of Arabic at St. John's College at Oxford, and remained there for 18 years. Gibb's Mohammedanism, published in 1949, became the basic text used by western students of Islam for a generation.

In 1955, Gibb became the James Richard Jewett professor of Arabic at Harvard University and also 'university professor', a rare title given to a few scholars 'working on the frontiers of knowledge, and in such a way as to cross the conventional boundaries of the specialties.' Later, he became director of Harvard's Center For Middle Eastern Studies, and in this capacity he became a leader of the movement in American universities to set up centres of regional studies, bringing together teachers, researchers and students in different disciplines to study the culture and society of a region of the world. A library at Harvard, the Gibb Islamic Seminar Library, is named in his honor.

Books and articles by H. A. R. Gibb

[edit Sources

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press (2004).

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Arab Conquests In Central Asia

Mohammedanism A Historical Survey

Mohammedanism An Historical Survey

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