Josef van Ess (born April 18, 1934 in Aachen) is a German Islamic scholar. Until his retirement in 1999, he taught at the University of Tübingen. In 1959, van Ess graduated in Bonn with a thesis on Islamic mysticism. The Habilitation took place in 1964 in Frankfurt with a thesis on epistemological theory in the Islamic scholasticism. He has held guest professorships at the University of California Los Angeles (1967) and at the American University of Beirut (1967/1968). In 1968 he followed Rudi Paret as a professor at the Oriental Seminary at the University of Tübingen at the chair of "Islamic Studies and Semitic studies".