Member of the National Science Policy Council
Director, Avicenna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies
He graduated from ELTE in 1967 with a degree in Classical languages (Latin and Greek) and in Semitic philology (Arabic). In 1972 he graduated from ELTE in Assyrian. He defended his PhD thesis in 1970, entitled “Central Asia in al-Khwarizmi’s Revision of Ptolemy’s Geography”. He was a student at the University of Baghdad from 1964 to 1965 and a fellow at the University of Vienna from 1973 to 1974.
He worked for the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1967-1970). He was a member and later a scientific advisor of the Research Group of the Department of Classical Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1970-2011).
He obtained Candidate of Sciences degree in 1974 and Doctor of Sciences degree in 1988, both in language sciences.
In 1978, he was a research fellow at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Leningrad, and later a visiting scholar at Harvard University. Between 1976 and 1990, he was an external staff member of the Turfan Collection of the Academy of Sciences of the GDR.
In 1991, he started to organize the Faculty of Humanities at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University, where he became the founding dean and head of the Department of Classical Studies and Philology and the Arabic Department in 1992. He served as dean until 1999.
He was elected a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1995 and a full member in 2004. He was also appointed chair of the Committee for Classical Studies and Philology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. From 2005 to 2008, he was chair of the Unit of Language and Literature, and in 2008 he was elected vice-chair for social sciences of the Academy. He held this position until 2014. He also became a member of the European Academy in London, and later a member of its Board.
In 2002, he became director of the Avicenna Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.
In 2007, he was elected president of the Union Académique Internationale, and became honorary president in 2010.
He is a member of the Society of Classical Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Society, the Committees of Oriental Studies, the European Society of Arabists and Islamic Studies (UEAI), Academia Europea, the International Society for the Studies of the History of Sciences in Islam (Paris), and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts/Salzburg.