Deceased, January 1, 2017; Professor Emeritus, Arabic and Islamic studies


Professor Emeritus of Religion, University Professor; William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of History and Religious Thought; Professor of History and Religion, College of Arts and Sciences.
A.B., A.M., Ph.D., Harvard University.
In addition to covering the special field of Arabic and Islamic studies, Professor Mason’s teaching included the presentation of world views as synthesized in the major systems of religious thought and practice, and in the classical Mediterranean and Mesopotamian and early Celtic traditions of mythology and literature. His best-known work is Gilgamesh, A Verse Narrative, which was nominated for the National Book Award in 1971. Other publications include his four-volume translation of La Passion d’al-Hallaj of Louis Massignon for the Bollingen Series (1983); and also Hallaj (1995). Among his other books are Reflections on the Middle East Crisis (1970), Two Statesmen of Medieval Islam (1971), The Death of al-Hallaj: A Dramatic Narrative (1979), and Moments in Passage: A Memoir (1979). He has also published the novels Summer Light(1980), and Haythu Taltaqí al-Anhar (Where the Rivers Meet, 1988; United Arab Emirates, 1998); the novella Gilpin’s Point (1980). Several of his books have been translated into French, German, Persian, Arabic, Urdu, and Japanese, among other languages.