Born on 14 January 1953, Garth Lowther Fowden was educated at Merton College, Oxford; he graduated in 1974 and then completed a doctorate there; his DPhil was awarded in 1979 for his thesis "Pagan philosophers in late antique society: with special reference to Iamblichus and his followers". Fowden was a research fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge, from 1978 to 1982 and then at Darwin College, Cambridge, until he took up a lectureship at University of Groningen in 1983, which lasted for three years. He became a researcher (specialising in late antique and early Islamic history) at the National Research Foundation at Athens in 1985, and remained there until being appointed Sultan Qaboos Professor of Abrahamic Faiths at the University of Cambridge in 2013.
According to his British Academy profile, Fowden's research focuses on the "intellectual currents and imperial horizons in the first millennium CE, from Augustus to Avicenna, Central Asia to the Atlantic" as well as "emergent Islam in its late antique context".
Awards and honours
- The Egyptian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind (Cambridge University Press, 1986).
- Empire to Commonwealth: Consequences of Monotheism in Late Antiquity (Princeton University Press, 1993).
- Quṣayr 'Amra: Art and the Umayyad Elite in Late Antique Syria (University of California Press, 2004).
- Before and after Muḥammad: The First Millennium Refocused (Princeton University Press, 2014).
- Abraham or Aristotle? First Millennium Empires and Exegetical Traditions. An Inaugural Lecture by the Sultan Qaboos Professor of Abrahamic Faiths Given in the University of Cambridge, 4 December 2013 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2015).
- "Fowden, Prof. Garth Lowther", Who's Who (online edition, Oxford University Press, December 2017). Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- "Pagan philosophers in late antique society: with special reference to iamblichus and his followers", EthOS (British Library). Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- "Professor Garth Fowden", British Academy. Retrieved 30 June 2018.