It was with great sadness that I learned of the death, on 20 November 2021, of Professor Josef van Ess. All students of classical Islamic theology and intellectual history stand immensely in his debt, and his long life of dedication to our field has enriched the work of all of us. In particular, his magnum opus Theologie und Gesellschaft im 2. und 3. Jahrhundert Hidschra, recently translated into English, has been an invaluable resource in my own work, and will remain for many years the foundation-stone of the discipline, combining as it does immense erudition with a deep and empathetic insight into the questions which motivated the early theologians of Islam. Our Center for Islamic Theology (ZITh) also owes him a great debt for his unwavering support for us, and for his confidence that we will furnish an indispensable enrichment to the study of Islam in Germany. On a more personal note, I will always remember with affection his visits to our Center and to my office, his consulting of my private library, and even his willingness to share my humble sandwiches and chocolate, as we discussed our research. A great scholar, and a noble soul; may he rest in peace.