Richard Todd

Colleges, School and Institutes

External positions

, University of Aberdeen

20 Sep 2014 → …

Research interests

  • Medieval philosophy, especially Arabic Aristotelianism and critiques of Avicennan thought
  • Ashʿari and Muʿtazili theology
  • Sufism and its interaction with philosophy: I am working on two new projects in this connection: ‘Levels of being in Sufi thought’ in A Handbook of Sufi Cosmology, edited by Alexander Knysh and Christian Lange, (Brill, Handbooks of Sufi Studies), commissioned June 2016; and ‘Philosophical Sufism? Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī’s Miftāḥ al-ghayb’ in A Guide to Sufi Literature,edited by Mohammed Rustom and Joseph Lumbard, (University of California Press), commissioned July 2016
  • Arabic medicine and science, especially post-Jābirian alchemy and its influence on Renaissance and Reformation Europe: I am currently preparing a new monograph on this topic – A History of Arabic Alchemy: from Abbasid Iraq to Ottoman Istanbul
  • Medieval scriptural commentaries, in particular philosophical, theological and mystical hermeneutics
  • Classical Arabic wine songs, Sufi poetry, and didactic verse
  • Islamic codicology


I have taught Islamic thought and culture, and Arabic language and literature, at Durham University and the University of Edinburgh. In 2013-14 I was Visiting Assistant Professor at the American University of Sharjah.

Education/Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

•Islamic philosophy, especially Ibn Sīnā and the Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ
•Islamic theology
•Sufism (especially the school of Ibn ʿArabī) and Sufi literature in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Urdu
•Qur’anic Exegesis
•Islamic medicine and alchemy
•Christian Scholasticism and its reception of Jewish and Islamic philosophy
- The Arabic influence on Renaissance and Reformation Europe