Ancient knowledge is the basis on which the patrimony of faith is built: sciences are significant not merely in themselves so much as a partial reflection of the single and unique divine Being. This view, however, is challenged by their attitude, to see the ultimate goal of their gnosiological experience as an attempt of separating the soul from the ties of matter and purifying it to achieve happiness in the hereafter see also Reymond , ; Raymond , For them, purification can be reached by following prophetic revelation with the help of reason.
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Certainly, the study of ancient sciences is not viewed, as by "orthodox theologians", as a vehicle of heresy and even atheism. Rather, sciences explain the underlying reality of the universe and so allow rational understanding of the contents of Revelation and of religious Law.
The blending of scientific and religious issues is evident from the beginning. Sciences should be the main topic in the first and the second sections and, partially, in the third, and theology in the rest of the corpus. Thus religion should not be underestimated in order to attain the best comprehension of its various contents and real aims. Various cultural elements come together in the Epistles: Babylonian, Indian and Iranian astrology, Indian and Persian narrative, biblical quotations and cabbalistic influences, references to the New Testament and Christian gnosis A good survey of these contents can be found in Netton , 53ff.
In spite of the commixtion of Aristotelian and Neoplatonic ideas — e. The encyclopedia can thus be considered a compendium of foreign sciences, deserving attention even by those who are only interested to ascertain the extent of what the Arabs knew of ancient doctrines at that time.
When such comparisons are not possible, the ancient excerpta usually correspond to the extant original texts.
In some cases, they have even preserved the only Arabic fragments of Greek authors known to us, as exemplified by the well-known case of the story of Giges from Plato's Republic in Epistle The story of Giges is analyzed in Baffioni , —, — Platonic references in the encyclopedia are also scarce. The majority of them are found in the fourth section and concern the trial and death of Socrates.
There is also a hint at the doctrine of reminiscence, that is seldom mentioned in Muslim sources; cf. The Platonic references are religiously rather than philosophically oriented. That can perhaps be explained by the influence of the Hellenistic curricula scientiarum courses of study designed for philosophers. This definition immediately clarifies Hellenism as the authors' first theoretical and historical reference.
Their source is here Plato or, rather, his Hellenistic reading Kraus , 99, note 4. Arithmetic, geometry and music are later approached together in Epistle 6 On proportions. References for the various sciences are, generally identifiable: Euclid, Nicomachus and sometimes even Archimedes for mathematical tenets Epistles 1, 2 and 6 ; Ptolemy supports astronomy and geography Epistles 3 and 4 ; the Pythagoreans and again Nicomachus are the sources for musical theory Epistles 5 and 6.
The Greeks already saw arithmetic and geometry as the necessary, though not unique, means of attaining philosophical knowledge. There is no place for poetry or for rhetorical devices in the encyclopedia. Dialectics increases damaging opposition among the learned. Heck , 11 for a new perspective on this issue. The logical treatises include paraphrases of Porphiry's Isagoges , which the later Greeks considered to be the first book of Organon Rhetoric and Poetics were taken to be its last books.
This might be due to the religious aims of the encyclopedia. Logic is no longer a simple instrument of science as it was for Aristotle, but a true science, perhaps the most important one. So, the table can be considered as evidence of the fact that the whole encyclopedia has been produced during a very long period of time. On the one hand, it might have been retained as a first draft of the future enterprise; on the other, it shows the further elaborations of the corpus over the centuries. Epistles 7 and 8 explicitly recall the Aristotelian division of the theoretical and practical sciences.
I, , 20—, 4. Lewis ; Marquet ; Daftary , ; and more recently, Yasien Epistle 9 breaks the series of the scientific treatises. Various moral behaviours are considered, with the support of a long series of anecdotes about prophets and wise men. Epistles 6, 16 and The composed and eclectic character of the whole is even more evident in the three other sections.
In the second section, the Epistles 15—22 follow the Hellenistic arrangement of Aristotle's works on physics. Epistle 15 echoes the themes addressed in the Physics. Epistle 17 deals with De generatione and corruptione. The Ikhwanian treatise deals with mineralogy, geology and gemmology and in the correspondence established between the celestial and sub-lunar worlds, between the stars and minerals, it expresses one of the main tenets of alchemy.
Further Aristotelian echoes are found in Epistle 24 On sense and sensation , to which Epistle 35 On intellect and intelligible corresponds in the third section. It is discussed in terms of the relationship between soul and body in Epistles 27 e 28, life and death in Epistle 29, and pleasures in Epistle The Aristotelian theory of the immovable mover, which is introduced in Epistle 37 On love , to explain the movement imparted to stars by the heavenly Universal Soul accomplishes its religious meaning.
It serves to confirm the love human beings feel for permanence and their hatred for death: God is the most beloved as the everlasting cause of all beings. On the other hand, natural treatises reflect the availability of the rich range of mineralogical, botanical and agricultural works, but none of the works by Aristotle on minerals or plants were known to the Arabs. In fact, it places the whole matter within the well-known metaphysical dispute on the superiority of man on animals besides some attempts of viewing it even in an "ecological perspective"; see, more recently, Darraz ; Raymond , The authors' view of embryology Epistle 25 is also a collection from different sources.
It is considered to be a new idea introduced by Islamic scientists, from whom it passed into the Latin world. Greek sources for Epistle 37 on love also vary. The real deviation from Aristotelianism is Epistle 20 On nature. In that it shows how nature as taught by Aristotle was received and theorized by the authors, this treatise could serve as the perfect introduction to the section on natural sciences.
However, its main part regards angelology. These treatises demonstrate beyond doubt that these authors considered themselves true Muslim Pythagoreans. The Pythagorean idea of the one as the principle of numbers, and not as a number itself explains that God is the origin of beings, and not a being like others.
If God is like the one, the Active Intellect is compared to number 2, the Universal Soul to number 3 and Nature or Matter to number 4 cf. Epistle 40, III, , 5. The whole reality is considered under a numerological perspective. Every aspect of nature — and even of religion — follows a numeric pattern. Among the other philosophical schools and doctrines quoted in the encyclopedia an important role is played by hermetism the religion of the philosophical elite in Ancient Egypt, founded by Hermes Trismegistus , as in Epistle 3 On astronomy and, more broadly, in Epistle 52 Marquet , Ancient theories on the movements of the stars will finally evolve in Epistle 36 On cycles and revolutions into that which, following Cumont, G.
Just like philosophy, as a way towards salvation, is an imitation of God and implies that the disciple is provided not only of an acute mind, but also of a pure heart through which God will be recognized as the sole and the supreme teacher in knowledge and deeds, as the Holy Book demonstrates, cf.
This brings us back to the second aspect of the encyclopedia, its religious commitment. They also deal with doctrinal questions linked to religion. It also develops the apologetic side of Ikhwanian thought. Epistle 45 expounds the organization of the Brotherhood based on mutual help.
Epistle 46 considers the faith, not only of Islam, but also of the former monotheistic religions and of the ancient wise men. Epistle 47 considers prophecy and the imamate. Epistle 48 discusses propaganda. Epistle 50 discusses the various kinds of 'administration' physical, spiritual, personal, familiar, etc.
Epistle 51 duly gathers up the threads of the whole, followed by Epistle 52 on magic.
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Epistle 40 On causes and effects addresses the crucial problem of the origin of the world. So, the ancients are defended from the charge of eternalism cf. III, , 11—18 and, for the sake of the masses, creation is even explained through the comparison of God with a confectioner. The world, then, emanates from God through the hypostases of Intellect and Soul. Emanationism is the philosophical expression of creation; it also explains the encyclopaedic structure of the treatises.
The various levels of reality down to the three kingdoms of the generated beings animal, vegetable and mineral originate continuously through intermediaries from the One. The corpus addresses other main religious issues in Muslim faith: the unity and uniqueness, and the attributes of God, angels, human destiny, good and evil, resurrection. Divine will and power are also considered when trying to explain evil in the world, though, of course, Muslim faith does not allow identifying God as the cause of evil Epistle Epistle 39 On the kinds of movement considers the movement of the whole cosmos, from that of the stars down to those natural and voluntary of human beings.
Its aim is to demonstrate the existence of a God who created the world and who will bring it to an end. The main religious topic is, however, resurrection, thoroughly examined in Epistle 38 where it is also considered as the supreme science III, , 3—5. The theme was already addressed in Epistle 29 wisdom is recognizable in death in that it allows the vision of God, hence the highest sorrow is damnation.
In physical terms it is by caring for the body, which when healthy and balanced is the condition of the purification of the soul. III, , 10—, 5. It has its first origin in Epistle 31 On the diversity of languages now considered from the standpoint mentioned in the title by Albert Reyna Epistle 31, III, , 8—10 and , 8— This is because imamate is of two kinds: prophetic and regal. Usually the tasks of the ruler are neatly distinguished from those of the prophet, because governance is a mundane business and prophecy is related to the life to come III, , 5—6.
On occasion these qualities are combined in a single person, who is then the delegated prophet and also the ruler III, , 18— While the Prophet Muhammad was both prophet and ruler of the Muslim umma , so ensuring its best defence, his possible successors did not always match him in nobility. Subsequently, prophecy and governance are sometimes found in two different persons, one of whom is the prophet delegated to that community and the other the person who has been given power over them.
They support one another III, , 19— The real problem seems, then, to be the dignity of the person appointed as the caliph, which alone is the condition of a legitimate prophetical succession. Hijab, ; Tamir, , 89— Kraemer and Stroumsa In contrast to Baffioni , —, Heck , — seems to side with Netton's reading of the intellect-guide in terms of a rational intellect.
Epistle 31, III, , 11—12 are opposed.
Marquet , ; Hamdani , The defeat of evil people is also often foreshadowed in the encyclopedia cf. Epistle 31, III, , 19—24 and , 2—3. A rigid hierarchy of universe links each level of existence, physical and spiritual, to that which precedes and that which follows it where the beings that belong to the various levels cannot go beyond them. Their content has been transmitted and developed by subsequent thinkers of various persuasions. Al-Farabi Al-Kindi Al-Razi [Fakhr al-Din] Arabic and Islamic Philosophy, disciplines in: natural philosophy and natural science Arabic and Islamic Philosophy, historical and methodological topics in: Greek sources Arabic and Islamic Philosophy, special topics in: prophecy creation and conservation Neoplatonism Pythagoreanism soul, ancient theories of.
Authorship 2. Naming and Dating 3. Ideological commitment 4.
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The extant corpus 5. The classical heritage 6. The religious component Just like philosophy, as a way towards salvation, is an imitation of God and implies that the disciple is provided not only of an acute mind, but also of a pure heart through which God will be recognized as the sole and the supreme teacher in knowledge and deeds, as the Holy Book demonstrates, cf. It is also an opportunity to examine the history of transformations in early America and, broadly, the early modern world, by taking fuller account of scholarship on the politics of primitive globalisation.
In the North-American colonies, the West Indies, India, Latin America, and Africa, entire peoples and their lands were reinvented by trading companies, individual administrators, theoreticians and executors of empires, as well as by those rare voices, many of who were abolitionists, who developed a critical approach to European expansion abroad. Pathos has been a fundamental aspect of literature in every epoch. On the other hand, the novel — the genre dominating literary modernity — has been o! Indeed, in Western cultures, there is a widespread suspicion towards pathos, which has o!
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How is the materiality of the visible world inscribed in its cultural representations? What are the more or less visible actors and mechanisms in the genesis of a cultural artefact? These are just some of the questions that cultural studies, in their innate interdisciplinarity and methodological heterogeneity can formulate with respect to the issue. Existential conceptions of the relationship between Philosophy and Theology. This special issue aims to explore and reflect on the ways in which the relationship between philosophy and theology is conceived, problematised, and illuminated in existential or existentialist thought.
This multi-day forum of panel presentations, a poster session, and interactive breakout sessions on key issues facing Western European collections and public services will encourage both structured and unstructured debate. We will advance our understanding of the challenges and initiate action in three areas: design new models for collaborative collection development and services; explore a growing range of content and format types and what they mean for libraries and researchers, and highlight the evolving role of libraries and librarians in the research process.
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