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Eric Linn Ormsby (born 1941 in Atlanta), is a poet, a scholar, and a man of letters. He was a longtime resident of Montreal, where he was the Director of University Libraries and subsequently a professor of Islamic thought at McGill University Institute of Islamic Studies. Presently, he lives and writes in London, England, where he is Professor and Chief librarian at the Institute of Ismaili Studies.

Eric Linn Ormsby
Atlanta, United States
Main interests
Islamic Thought
Islamic Philosophy
English Literature
Comparative Literature
Notable ideas
Theodicy in Islamic Thought

Ormsby began writing poetry as a young man and began publishing in 1985. He has six poetry collections, Bavarian Shrine and Other Poems (1990), which won a Quebec prize for the best poetry of that year, Coastlines (1992), For a Modest God: New & Selected Poems (1997), Araby (2001), Daybreak at the Straits (2004), and Time's Covenant (2006). His poems have been published in various journals and magazines such as The New Yorker and The Paris Review and anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Poetry. He has also authored a book of essays on poetry and translation, including Arabic literature. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times among others publish his book reviews regularly.

As an academician, Ormsby has published widely on the topic of Islamic thought which includes Theodicy in Islamic Thought (Princeton University Press, 1984), Handlist of Arabic Manuscripts (New Series) in the Princeton University Library (1987), Moses Maimonides and His Time (Washington, D.C., 1987), and Ghazali in Ghazali: The Revival of Islam (Oxford: Oneworld, 2008). Ormsby also translated the works of classical Islamic thought by Ghazali and Nasir-i Khusraw as well as the influential writings of modern Persian thinker Mohammad Amir-Moezzi.



  1. ^ "Eric Ormsby". Institute of Ismaili Studies web site. Archived from the original on 2008-03-16. Retrieved 2007-08-12.

Selected worksEdit

  • The Silent Qur'an and the Speaking Qur'an: Scriptural Sources of Islam Between History and Fervor (translation of Mohammad Amir-Moezzi's influential work in Persian). Columbia University Press. 2016.
  • Between Reason and Revelation: Twin Wisdoms Reconciled (An Annotated English Translation of Nasir-i Khusraw’s Kitāb-i Jāmiʿ al-ḥikmatayn). I. B. Tauris. 2012.
  • Al-Ghazali on Love, Longing, Intimacy and Contentment (Kitab al-Mahabba wa'l-shawq wa'l-uns wa'l-rida). Cambridge Islamic Texts Society. 2011.
  • Baboons of Hada. Carcanet Press. 2011.
  • Fine Incisions: Essays on Poetry and Place. Porcupine's Quill. 2010.
  • Ghazali. Oneworld Publications. 2007. pp. 160 pp.
  • Time's Covenant. Biblioasis. 2006. pp. 300 pp.
  • Daybreak at the Straits and Other Poems. Zoo Press. 2004. pp. 72 pp.
  • Facsimiles of Time:Essays on Poetry and Translation. Porcupine's Quill. 2001. pp. 256 pp.
  • Araby. Vehicule Press. 2001. pp. 112 pp.
  • For a Modest God. Grove Press. 1997. pp. 139 pp.
  • Coastlines. ECW Press. 1992.
  • Bavarian Shrine. ECW Press. 1990.
  • Moses Maimonides and His Time. Catholic University of America Press. 1989.
  • Handlist of Arabic manuscripts (new series) in the Princeton University Library / by Rudolf Mach & Eric L. Ormsby. Princeton University Press. 1987.
  • Theodicy in Islamic Thought : the Dispute over al-Ghazālī’s "best of all possible worlds". Princeton University Press. 1984.

External linksEdit