Sebastian Günther is Professor and Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Göttingen. He has held prior appointments at the University of Toronto (where he was promoted in 2003 to Associate Professor of Arabic Language and Literature, with tenure) and Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (from which he received his PhD in 1989). In addition, he has accepted continuing invitations for visiting professorships at various universities in the Middle East. S. Günther is the co-editor of the Islamic History and Civilization series (Brill Academic Publishers) and a board member of the Religion Compass (Blackwell Publishing).
S. Günther’s research focuses on the intellectual heritage of Islam, in particular the Quran, religious and philosophical thought, and Arabic belles-lettres. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and international reference works. Several of his major studies are expressly devoted to core aspects of Islamic education. The most recent edited volume Ideas, Images, and Methods of Portrayal: Insights into Classical Arabic Literature and Islam (Brill 2005) deals with the genesis of selected classical Arabic texts and the implications which these texts had for Islamic societies in medieval times.
Among S. Günther's current projects, the following may deserve special mention:
(1) Medieval Muslim Thinkers on Education, a monograph which will, for the first time in a Western language, comprehensively survey and discuss the educational philosophies offered by major Muslim scholars of the 8th to the 16th centuries.
(2) Roads to Paradise: Eschatology and Concepts of the Hereafter in Islam, a collective volume in progress (in cooperation with Prof. T. Lawson, University of Toronto) which critically examines pertinent key concepts and images that have been standard features of Muslim discourses since the rise of Islam (date of completion: 2016).
(3) Conservatism in Early Islam: Ghulam Khalil (d. 888) and his Manual of Islamic Orthodoxy, a book (co-authored with Prof. M. Jarrar, American University of Beirut) which investigates the early concept of Islamic orthodoxy based on a unique medieval Arabic manuscript.