Grunebaum, Gustav Edmund von

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Grunebaum, Gustav Edmund von


Born 1909, in Vienna. American Arabist and Islamic scholar.

Grunebaum is a graduate of the universities of Vienna and Berlin. In 1938 he left Austria for the USA. From 1938 to 1942 he was an assistant professor at the Asia Institute in New York, from 1943 to 1956 he was professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Chicago, and since 1957 he has been teaching at a university in Los Angeles. He takes a sociological approach to the history of Islam. He assigns a prominent place in the history of its inception and evolution to sociopolitical factors; he brings out at the same time the important role played by Islam in altering the social structures and spiritual world of the peoples professing it. Grunebaum regards the history of cultural life in the Muslim East as the continuous interplay of “greater” and “lesser” traditions—that is, of a single “common Muslim ideal” and local cultures. He shows the notions of a “single” Islam and a “single” Muslim civilization to be untenable.


Medieval Islam. Chicago, 1946.
Islam.... [Menasha] 1955.
Unity and Variety in Muslim Civilization. Chicago, 1955.
Classicisme et déclin culturel dans l’histoire de l’Islam. Paris, 1957. (Co-author and publisher.)
Modern Islam. Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1962.
Classical Islam. London, 1970.
Studien zum Kulturbild und Selbstverständniss des Islams. Zürich-Stuttgart, 1969.


Batunskii, M. A. “O nekotorykh tendentsiiakh v sovremennom zapadnom islamovedenii.” In the collection Religiia i ob-shchestvennaia mysl’ narodov Vostoka. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.