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The Symposium

Each year the Society organizes Symposia in the UK and the USA on an aspect of Ibn 'Arabi's work.

These international gatherings bring together people from many different fields and traditions, and include scholars, students, and anyone interested in what Ibn 'Arabi has to say. These events provide a unique opportunity for both speakers and delegates, specialists and non-specialists, to enrich their understanding of the Shaykh's teachings and their relevance today. The Society also encourages public seminars and lectures and can provide speakers on request.




Reason, Revelation and Inspiration

Ibn 'Arabi and the Philosophers

Symposium – London May 6, 2017

This symposium is jointly organized by the Society and Professor Stefan Sperl of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London. It will be held on May 6th, 2017, at the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, London WC1H 0XG. More information will be posted as it becomes available.


Summary Statement

Ibn ‘Arabi, in reporting meetings with Ibn Rushd (Averroes) on two occasions – once as a ‘beardless youth’ and once at the great Aristotelian philosopher’s funeral – highlighted the differences between their ways of thinking. Philosophical knowledge, he declared, is based on reason (aql) and revelatory knowledge is based on insight (kashf) and inner certainty (yaqin). In some cases they are the same and in others they differ.

However, a difference between points of view is not an essential separation. The Shaykh al-Akbar would surely have agreed with the last recorded words of the great Neo-platonist Plotinus “Strive to give back the Divine in yourselves to the Divine in the All." Greek philosophical texts, first translated in Baghdad in the 8th and 9th centuries, were widely available in Muslim Spain. Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi, who is sometimes called Ibn Aflatun ‘The Son of Plato’, would have had access to these, both directly and indirectly through the Islamic philosophical schools. This symposium aims at delving into these roots by exploring Ibn Arabi’s engagement with the philosophical heritage of his time.


Speakers

Pablo Beneito is currently Professor at the Department of Translation and Interpreting in the Faculty of Letters, University of Murcia, Spain. He has been studying the works of Ibn ʿArabi since he chose to do his doctorate in Arabic philology at the Complutense University of Madrid, after which he spent 9 years teaching at the University of Seville in the Department of Arab and Islamic Studies. He has also been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne in Paris (Ecole Pratique des Hauts Etudes), in Kyoto University (ASAFAS) and in Toledo (Escuela de Traductores). As a specialist in Sufi thought, he has given courses throughout the world, and helped organise more than 14 international conferences. He heads MIAS Latina, a branch of the Muhyiddin Ibn ʿArabi Society for speakers of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. He has edited and translated (into Spanish) Ibn ʿArabi’s Mashahid al-asrar and Kashf al-ma’na. He is currently working on several of Ibn ʿArabi's shorter treatises, including K. al-ʿAbādilah. He has collaborated with Stephen Hirtenstein on the English translation of “ The Seven Days of the Heart” and with Cecilia Twinch on “ Contemplations” and has spoken many times at Ibn ‘Arabi Society Symposia in Oxford. He edits El Azufre Rojo which is the Journal of MIAS LATINA and published by Puertas de Castilla.

Salman Bashier: Dr. Bashier was born in Israel in 1964. His Phd was published in 2004 under the title ‘Ibn Al –‘Arabi’s Barzakh: the Concept of the Limit and the Relationship Between God and the World’. He has since been a research scholar at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute pursuing his research, “Past and Present: Ibn al-Arabi’s Mysticism, Religious Fundamentalism and the Sense of History,” which focussed on the relevance of Islamic mysticism and the role it can play in balancing Religious fundamentalism. He has spoken before at a Society Symposium in Oxford (2007) and at the New York Symposium in 2009. His most recent book (2012) is ‘The Story of Islamic Philosophy:Ibn Tufayl. Ibn Al-‘Arabi, and Others on the Limit between Naturalism and Traditionalism’

Maria de Cillis: Dr de Cillis completed her undergraduate studies in the field of Languages and Literatures (English and Arabic) graduating from the Università degli Studi di Napoli - L’Orientale in Naples, Italy in 2001 (cum laude). She carried out her MA and then PhD studies at SOAS, graduating in October 2010. Her Thesis is entitled: The Discourse of Compromise: Theoretical Constructs of Free Will and Predestination in the Works of Avicenna, Ghazali and Ibn ʿArabi which has since been published . The thesis examines the contributions made by these scholars to the discourse on the doctrines of free will and predestination in classical Islamic thought. Her work shows how these luminaries were committed to compromise between philosophical, theological and mystical outlooks. She is currently working at the Ismaili Institute researching early Shi’ite mystics, especially Hamid Kirmani.

Eric Geoffroy: Professor Geoffroy is an expert in Islamic thought and spirituality, he teaches Islamic studies at the University of Strasbourg, and other centers (including the Catholic University of Louvain). He is specialist of Sufism and also works on issues of spirituality in the modern world (globalization, ecology). He is president of the International Foundation "Sufi Conscience”.He is a member of several international research groups, such as Kalam Research & Media (KRM), and acts as scientific advisor and editorial on Islam ( Fondapol, The notebooks of Islam, Religion-Adyan...). He is a columnist in the magazine Ultreïa, and writes regularly for The World Religions. He wrote twenty articles in the Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2 and 3, and is the author of over a dozen books. Several of his works are translated into different languages. Eric Geoffroy spoke at the Society Symposium in Oxford in 2012 on ‘ al-Tahqiq through Daily Awakening’

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