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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Middle Eastern Studies
Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic
Email address: 
+44 (0)1223 335127
Fellow of: 
Trinity Hall

J.E. Montgomery is Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic. He studied Arabic and Ancient Greek at Glasgow University (1980-1984), spent two years on an unfinished DPhil at Oxford (1984-1986), where he was a Snell Exhibitioner at Balliol College before taking up a lectureship at Glasgow (1986-1992), where he decided to do a different PhD which he submitted just before the birth of his daughter Natasha in 1990. Senior Lectureships at Oslo and Leeds preceded his move to Cambridge in 1997.

Teaching responsibilities: 

Professor Montgomery is currently on sabbatical

Supervision information: 

Professor Montgomery is currently on sabbatical

Research interests: 

My long-term project is to explore the third/ninth century through the writings of ʿAmr ibn Baḥr al-Jāḥiẓ (d. 255/868-9). This is complemented by a project to edit and translate the early tenth century historiographical masterpiece by al-Ashʿarī, The Doctrines of the Islamicists.

My other major interest revolves around literary translation and the translation of classical Arabic poetry in particular. A two volume edition and translation of the hunting poems of Abū Nuwās and Ibn al-Muʿtazz is in preparation, and my edition of al-Shantamarī's recension of al-Aṣmāʿī's collection of the poetry of ʿAntarah ibn Shaddād al-ʿAbsī is due to appear next year. This will accompany a collaborative translation of the poems by the Editors of the Library of Arabic Literature and will be published by New York University Press as part of the Library of Arabic Literature.

Current PhD students

Gabrielle Russo: The Turkic military guard in third/ninth-century Arabic praise writing


Loss Sings Sylph Editions (2018)
War Songs NYU Press (2018)
Diwan 'Antarah ibn Shaddad: A Literary-Historical Study NYU Press (2018)
Ibn Faḍlān, Mission to the Volga, in: Two Arabic Travel Books New York: New York University Press (2014)
On Geography: An Arabic Edition and English Translation of Epistle 4 Oxford: Oxford University Press/Institute of Ismaili Studies (2014)
Al-Jāḥiẓ: In Praise of Books Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (2013)
The Vagaries of the Qaṣīdah. On the Tradition and Practice of Early Arabic Poetry Warminster: Aris & Phillips (1997)

Further publications