Issa J. Boullata
Issa Joseph Boullata died peacefully on May 1, 2019 at the age of 90, surrounded by his children. He is now reunited with his beloved wife, the late Marita Seward Boullata.
A dedicated father and loving grandfather, he leaves behind his children Joseph (Laurel), Barbara, David (Sophie), and Peter, as well as grandchildren Christopher, Angela, Nicolas, and Vincent. Issa is survived as well by his brother Kamal (Lily), sister Souad Shammas, sisters in law Thérese and Annette. Siblings Renée, Jamil, and André predeceased him.
A distinguished literary scholar, translator, and professor, he will be missed by the many people whose lives he touched, the students, colleagues, readers and others who benefitted from his teaching and his cultural and academic accomplishments. Knowledge of a language is more than being instructed in its rules, it is an immersion into its culture and thought. This conviction is what made Issa a memorable and beloved educator.
Issa was born in Jerusalem, Palestine, on February 25, 1929. He obtained from the University of London a first class Bachelor of Arts in Arabic and Islamic studies in 1964 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Arabic literature in 1969. He taught Arabic at the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut until 1975 when he became a professor at McGill University, teaching graduate courses in Arabic literature, Quranic studies, and modern Arab thought in the university’s Institute of Islamic Studies. Issa authored numerous scholarly books, articles, and book reviews as well as fiction, and was the notable translator of many works of poetry, fiction, memoir, and criticism. In 2014, he published a memoir of his early life entitled The Bells of Memory: A Palestinian Boyhood in Jerusalem.
Inspiration, introspection, and individuality defined Issa’s love for literature and life.
The family will receive relatives and friends at :
3955 ch Côte-de-Liesse, Saint-Laurent
||May 06, 2019
||2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
||7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Funeral will take place on May 07, 2019 10:30 AM at the following address: St-George Antiochian Orthodox Church: 555 Rue Jean-Talon, Montréal, QC H2R 1T8.
Messages in memory of Issa J. Boullata
June 18, 2020
Today I learned of Prof. Issa Boullata's passing. I was not a stellar student, and struggled to catch up during the one year I learned in his Arabic class. But I always remember him, among all of my professors, as sort of radiating. Rocking a bit on his heels sometimes, displaying a true delight in the Arabic language, and for teaching me the word "verily" in English, which I had never heard. I am glad he lived a long life, and am lucky to have met such a remarkable man. Yerhamaku Allah.
December 05, 2019
Issa J Boullata was not only a teacher, he was an excellent father for his students. I took his classes on The Miraculous Nature of The Qur'an (I'jaz Al-Qur'an), Classical Qur'anic Exegesis, and Modern Qur'anic Exegesis. His deep knowledge on these subjects were successfully demonstrated during the teaching-learning. I like the way he taught and supervise my thesis when I was studying at McGill's Institute of Islamic Studies. To respect his intellectual impact on my academic life and disseminate his thought in Indonesia, I translated one of his book on I'jaz Al-Qur'an which is now widely used by many Indonesian scholars and students who love his thought on the I'jaz Al-Qur'an. I am sure God will reward him in his life after life, Insha Allah.
October 30, 2019
Today I learned of the passing of dear Professor Boullata. I am filled with sadness that it had been so long since seeing him. Life is simply too short to forget those who are important to one. I will never forget him: he was an exceptional teacher, embuing al with his deeply felt and deeply learned love of Arabic, especially the Qur'an. His classes were exceptional as he was. Such kindness, such sensitivity. Deepest sympathy to his family from Barbara and me.
May 05, 2019
I will ever remember his wise words and continuous advices that showered my intellectual journey as my unforgettable mentor.. I was his last PhD proud student. As I promised him I am marching on the way he taught me and transmitting the knowledge that I gained from him to my students.. you are always in my mind and heart and you will be greatly missed my beloved professor and my great mentor and master.
May 05, 2019
We have just heard this very sad news about our dear friend and colleague Issa J Boullata. What a great and generous scholar he was, his memory will never leave us. He was a tremendous supporter of Banipal, Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, for many years, advising, translating poetry and fiction, writing and discussing. We were very pleased to publish his own short stories "A Retired Gentleman and Other Stories". We send all our sympathies and condolences to his family spread around the world. Now he will be with his beloved Marita.
May 04, 2019
May his soul rest in Peace our beloved uncle and mentor. Jerusalem will never forget him!
We shall hold a memorial service for him in Jerusalem on Sunday 12 May with family members and friends. My uncle Attallah sends his deepest condolences to you all.
Saba Hanna Boullata
May 04, 2019
May his soul rest in peace.
My deepest condolences for your father, my close cousin and my admired teacher.
Saba Hanna Boullata and family