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The Leaven of the Ancients: Suhrawardi and the Heritage of the Greeks
     

The Leaven of the Ancients: Suhrawardi and the Heritage of the Greeks

by John Walbridge
 
The twelfth-century Persian philosopher Suhrawardi was the key figure in the transition of Islamic philosophy from the neo-Aristotelianism of Avicenna to the mystically oriented Islamic philosophy of later centuries. Suhrawardi's "Illuminationist" philosophy was a vigorous reassertion of Neoplatonism at a time when Sufism was becoming a major presence in Islamic

Overview

The twelfth-century Persian philosopher Suhrawardi was the key figure in the transition of Islamic philosophy from the neo-Aristotelianism of Avicenna to the mystically oriented Islamic philosophy of later centuries. Suhrawardi's "Illuminationist" philosophy was a vigorous reassertion of Neoplatonism at a time when Sufism was becoming a major presence in Islamic thought and society.

This book traces the intellectual background of Suhrawardi's thought and of the Greek roots of non-Aristotelian philosophy in the Islamic world. Suhrawardi placed himself in an intellectual tradition that sprang From the "Ancients, " the philosophical and mystical tradition of Hermes Trismegistus and his successors in both Greece and the Orient. The author argues that Suhrawardi typifies an approach to philosophy characteristic of Neoplatonism, in which Pythagoras is the key pre-Socratic, Plato is the central figure in the history of philosophy, Aristotle is respected but corrected by reference to Pythagoras and Plato, and philosophy is ultimately an eclectic revelation known symbolically by different nations. Mystical intuition is a key philosophical tool and symbolism is of particular importance.

The Leaven of the Ancients provides a translation of Suhrawadi's famous dream, in which Aristotle reveals the epistemological foundations of Suhrawardi's Illuminationist system. The book also analyzes the role played by Suhrawardi and his approach to philosophy in turning Islamic civilization away from physical science toward a subtle mystical psychology.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Suhrawardi, a 12th-century Persian philosopher, was a key figure in the transition of Islamic thought from the neo-Aristotelianism of Avicenna to the mystically oriented philosophy of later centuries. Walbridge (Near Eastern languages and philosophy, Indiana U.) traces the intellectual background of his thought and of the Greek roots of non-Aristotelian philosophy in the Islamic world. He finds an approach to philosophy characteristic of Neoplatonism in which Pythagoras is the key pre-Socratic, Plato is the central figure, Aristotle is respected but corrected by the earlier two, and philosophy is ultimately an eclectic revelation known symbolically by different nations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"This is an original and provocative work in the area of Suhrawardian studies that challenges the existing interpretations of Suhrawardi's concept of the history of philosophy and offers an alternative perspective." — Mehdi Aminrazavi, author of Suhrawardi and the School of Illumination

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791443606
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
12/28/2000
Series:
SUNY series in Islam Series
Pages:
305
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

John Walbridge is Associate Professor in the Departments of Near Eastern Languages and Philosophy at Indiana University. He has published several books including The Science of Mystic Lights: Qutb al-Din Shirazi and the Illuminationist Tradition in Islamic Philosophy.

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