Skip to main content
HomeAbout the AOS


The AOS (American Oriental Society) is the oldest learned society in the United States devoted to a particular field of scholarship. The Society was founded in 1842, preceded only by such distinguished organizations of general scope as the American Philosophical Society (1743), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1780), and the American Antiquarian Society (1812). From the beginning its aims have been humanistic. The encouragement of basic research in the languages and literatures of West, Central, South, and East Asia has always been central in its tradition. This tradition has come to include such subjects as philology, literary criticism, textual criticism, paleography, epigraphy, linguistics, biography, archaeology, and the history of the intellectual and imaginative aspects of these civilizations, especially of philosophy, religion, folklore, and art.


The regular serial publication of the Society, issued quarterly, is JAOS (Journal of the American Oriental Society). The first volume, published in 1843–49, set the tone for all time in the broad scope of subject matter and the solidity of its scholarship. It included studies of Arab music, of Persian cuneiform, and of Buddhism in India, and brought to a wide audience the then novel theories of Pierre E. Du Ponceau, assailing the doctrine of the ‘‘ideographic’’ character of the Chinese script. From that year to the present day, the Journal has brought to the world of scholarship the results of the advanced research of the most distinguished specialists in the literatures and civilizations of the Islamic world, ancient Near East, and South, Central, and East Asia. The pages of the Journal are always open to original and interesting contributions from scholars. To assure competent and impartial appraisal of the scholarly level of the material submitted for publication, the editorial staff is composed of recognized scholars in each of the major areas served by the Society.


The Society also publishes an open access Essay series for shorter work as well as a monograph series. The monographs are published as physical and e-books; among the 100 volumes published so far are Frank R. Blake, A Grammar of the Tagalog Language (Vol. 1, 1925); Zellig S. Harris, A Grammar of the Phoenician Language (Vol. 8, 1936); Millar Burrows, The Basis of Israelite Marriage (Vol. 15, 1938); Roland G. Kent, Old Persian: grammar, texts, lexicon (Vol. 33, 1953); Jack M. Sasson, ed. Studies in Literature from the Ancient Near East dedicated to Samuel Noah Kramer (Vol. 65, 1984); Jacob Lassner, Islamic Revolution and Historical Memory (Vol. 66, 1986); Douglas Q. Adams, Tocharian Historical Phonology and Morphology (Vol. 71, 1988); and Sean W. Anthony, Crucifixion and Death as Spectacle: Umayyad Crucifixion in Its Late Antique Context (Vol. 96, 2014).


All publications of the Society are available to members at discount, and occasionally special sales of publications are held at greatly reduced prices, especially at the Annual Meeting. Membership includes an annual subscription to the Journal.



Membership in the Society is open to every student, professional or amateur, of the languages and cultures of West, Central, South, and East Asia. The addition of new members helps to perpetuate the 180+ year humanistic tradition of the AOS. Anyone wishing to become a member is invited to email the Secretary,