Competition: US & Canada
SUNY Stony Brook
William C. Chittick grew up in Connecticut, attended the College of Wooster in Ohio, and discovered Rumi during a junior year at the American University of Beirut. In 1966 he enrolled in the University of Tehran, where he completed a Ph.D. in Persian literature with a dissertation on Jami, a fifteenth-century follower of the Andalusian sage Ibn Arabi, the greatest of the mystical philosophers. He then taught comparative religion at a technical university in Tehran while continuing his research and participating in the activities of the Iranian Academy of Philosophy. He left Iran right before the revolution and worked for a time as an assistant editor for the Encylopaedia Iranica at Columbia University. In 1983 he was hired in the religious studies program at Stony Brook, where he has continued to teach and write. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Paris, and Peking. In thirty books and two hundred articles he has investigated diverse expressions of the Islamic intellectual tradition from Spain to China. His three NEH fellowships over the years led to two major studies of Ibn Arabi and, most recently, the award-winning Divine Love: Islamic Literature and the Path to God. He has just completed a 900-page translation of selections from Kashf al-asrar, a twelfth-century commentary on the Qur’an that explicates the world view of the Persian love poets. Follow this link to view the translation.