Recent Publications – 2010
A mística do coração
A mística do coração – A senda cordial de Ibn ‘Arabi e João da Cruz, by Carlos Frederico Barboza de Souza, Paulinas Editora, São Paulo, 2010. ISBN: 9788535626438
A mística do coração, published in Portuguese in October 2010, may be the first book on Ibn 'Arabi by a Brazilian author. Its title can be rendered in English as The Mysticism of the Heart – the way of the heart according to Ibn 'Arabi and St John of the Cross.
It is in three parts. The first part presents the concepts of the Real (or Absolute), the cosmos, and human being, according to Ibn 'Arabi, underlining the intimate relationship between these three. The second part is focussed on St John of the Cross, and discusses his concepts of God, of nature and human being, concerning itself with his spirital journey towards mystical union. The third part is dedicated to a comparison between the understanding of the heart in Ibn 'Arabi and St John. After showing how the heart is or was understood in the Judeo-Christian traditions and Islam, the heart is discussed as a sacred dwelling-place, centre of the human and the mystical life. The book is the first in a series proposed by SOTER (the Society for Theology and Religious Sciences) in collaboration with publishers Paulinas Editora.
Ilahiyat Studies: A Journal on Islamic and Religious Studies, Volume 1, Number 1, Winter/Spring 2010, Bursa. ISSN 1309-1786
Ilahiyat Studies is a new journal in the English language published in Turkey by the Bursa Ilahiyat Foundation. It is edited by scholars of Uludağ University, but has an editorial board with strong international representation. It could provide an important window into developments in Turkish scholarship for those who don't read Turkish. Since there has arguably been more publishing on Ibn 'Arabi in Turkish in the past decade than in any other language, the opportunity to learn more will be of great interest to members of the Society.
The journal aims to cover a wide range of subjects, "all aspects of Islam and the Muslim people, and religious studies", and the first edition does carry a substantial article on Ibn 'Arabi by Ekrem Demirli, who has translated a considerable amount of the Futuhat al-makkiyya into modern Turkish, as well as important works by Sadr al-din Qunawi. There are five other articles, book reviews and conference reports. For details see ilahiyatstudies.org.
This is a short passage from Ekrem Demili's article, "An Assessment of Discursive Changes in Islamic Metaphysics – Thubūt as an Interpretation of the Concept of Possibility or Nonexistence and the Nonexistence of Nonexistence":
The style of reflection by Ibn al-'Arabi does not allow us to produce firm decisions at any stage of our metaphysical inquiry. Each solution carries us to a new unsolvable situation and to further research, and we find ourselves engaged in trying to comprehend within a continuous renewal of the situation because there is no "golden mean" (i'tidal) in being that would connote death, namely, inertness. Ibn al-'Arabi's dynamic approach can be seen in the expression "the immutable essences have not smelled the external being", a saying of the Sufis who adopt wahdat al-wujud (unity of being). In other words, the truths of things in divine knowing never become externally visible. What then does "external being" mean? External being, namely, the universe of the created, is the shadow of the immutable truths within eternal knowing. Disclosure, appearance or creation (and it is not at all important which of these terms we utilize) is nothing but the appearance of the shadow. This time, Ibn al-'Arabi applies the expression "nonexistent-existent" for the universe and interprets the universe as "shadow being". Shadow is something that exists in one side and does not exist in another. The universe exists in eternal knowing with respect to its immutable truth but not regarding itself. Other words that, in this context, are synonymous with shadow are imagination (al-khayal) and mirage; both exist in one sense and do not exist in another. Imagination is synonymous in this context with guessing. The universe is an imagination. Man-in-the-universe is an imagination within an imagination. According to Ibn al-'Arabi, who is a moralist and humanist thinker, "to be human" means to be able to interpret an imagination or dream when one is already in it. The ones who can interpret a dream without waking up are actually dead, which is to say, the ones who have reached at the truth.
Toshihiko Izutsu, Sufismo e taoismo
Sufismo e taoismo by Toshihiko Izutsu, Mimesis Edizioni, Milan 2010, pp. 544. ISBN 9788857501673. Introduction by Giangiorgio Pasqualotto. Translated into Italian by Alberto De Luca.
This is the first appearance in Italian of the famous book by Toshihiko Izutsu, published in English in 1983. His works have now been translated into 30 languages. "In this deeply learned work, Toshihiko Izutsu compares the metaphysical and mystical thought systems of Sufism and discovers that, although historically unrelated, the two share features and patterns which prove fruitful for a transhistorical dialogue." The part of the book concerned directly with Ibn 'Arabi is based almost exclusively on the Fusus al-Hikam, and contains many passages from it in translation as well as passages from the commentaries of al-Qashani and others. The translator, Alberto de Luca, has previously rendered a number of Sufism-related books into Italian. The final paragraph of Sufism and Taoism reminds of why this book has enduring value:
It is remarkable that neither in Sufism nor in Taoism is the ontological Descent – from the Mystery of Mysteries down to the stage of phenomenal things – made to represent the final completion of the activity of Existence. The descent is followed by its reversal, that is, Ascent. The ten thousand things flourish exuberantly at the last stage of the descending course, and then take an ascending course toward their ultimate source until they disappear into the original Darkness and find their resting place in the cosmic pre-phenomenal Stillness. The whole process of creation forms a huge ontological circle in which there is in reality neither an initial point nor a final point. The movement from one stage to another, considered in itself, is surely a temporal phenomenon. But the whole circle, having neither an initial point nor a final point, is a trans-temporal phenomenon. It is, in other words, a metaphysical process. Everything is an occurrence in an Eternal Now.
Mawlana Rumi Review, Vol. 1, 2010
A publication of the Rumi Institute, Near East University, Cyprus, and the Rumi Studies Group at the Centre for Persian and Iranian Studies, Institute of Arab & Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, in association with Archetype Books. ISSN 2041-3357, ISBN 972-1-901383-38-6
An awesome ancient light is Love – to those
with eyes, though lumpen folk just see form, lust.
The Mawlana Rumi Review is a newly launched academic review devoted to the life, thought, poetry and legacy of Jalal al-Din Rumi (d.1273), the incomparable author of the Mathnawi and the Divan-i Shams-i Tabriz.
It is the first journal in any language dedicated to Rumi's legacy and thought, and establishes a platform for the publication of modern scholarship in this field. It is jointly produced by the Rumi Institute (Near East University, Cyprus) and the Rumi Studies Group at the Centre for Persian and Iranian Studies, University of Exeter. The list of editors and the Review's advisory council underlines the breadth of collaboration involved. The first volume has contributions from scholars in nine or more countries.
The Review promises to engage with its subject in the widest way. At this time English can serve as a common language of learning, allowing contributions from scholars in Iran and Turkey to appear beside those from people working in the Russia and the USA, and with those of a Mevlevi shaykh. In the English language world as such, a startling development came about in the last part of the Twentieth century through modern American poets such as Robert Bly and Coleman Barks. Seeking to translate Rumi's ideas into contemporary idiom, they touched something real in a lot of people, to the extent that Rumi has been the best-selling poet in English in the United States for the last two decades. This aspect of the heritage of Mawlana is also represented in the Review.
You can read here (www.jadidonline.com) the comments of the editor, Dr Leonard Lewisohn, at the launch of the Mawlana Rumi Review at the British Library on May 12, 2010.
From just one single thought, a crowd has filled the plain
Like sluices opened when the the floodgates are let drain.
That thought the mass of men think insignificant,
But puny thought rushed through the world and ate it.
Ishraq – Islamic Philosophy Yearbook, No. 1, 2010
Co-published by the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Iranian Institute of Philosophy. ISBN 978-5-9551-0402-7.
The first issue of the Islamic Philosophy Yearbook, Ishraq ("Illumination"), contains more than 30 articles in Russian and English, devoted to a wide range of issues current in Islamic philosophical studies, written by leading Russian and foreign scholars. This is the first periodical of its kind in Russia.
In the editor's forward, Yanis Eshots of the University of Latvia writes that the yearbook has three goals – to encourage interest in Islamic philosophy and philosophical aspects of Islamic culture among Russian, English and French-speaking audiences; to provoke discussions among scholars on important issues of Islamic philosophy; and to call attention to major research projects in Russia, Iran, and other countries.
The papers are divided into six main sections, entitled Dialogue of Philosphies, Ontology and Epistemology, Ethics and Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion and Kalam, Islamic Mysticism, Philosophy of Art. There are contribution in all these sections by people well-known to readers of the Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society Journal, some of whom are also part of the editorial board.
The yearbook was published with financial support from the Islamic Cultural and Research Foundation, Moscow. The Foundation was established in 2007 and encourages the translation of scholarly literature from eastern and western languages into Russian, and cooperates with academic centers in Russian and beyond.
One could wish that the papers of the Russian scholars were translated into English, and those of the "foreign" scholars into Russian.
Proceedings of the International Symposium on Molla Fanari, December 2009, Bursa
Uluslararası Molla Fenari Sempozyumu (Bursa : 2010) ed. Tevfik Yücedoğru. ISBN 978-605-60984-3-7.
Molla Fanari (1350-1431), the first Ottoman Shaykh ul-Islam, is significant because of central ideas that he contributed to Ottoman intellectual life. Like Davud-I Kayseri before him, he worked to introduce major Arabic works into Turkish, while making Ibn 'Arabi's ideas on the unity of existence the basis of the philosophical and religious systems being developed among the ulema in training for the emerging Ottoman state. His famous commentary on the Miftah al-Ghayb of Sadr al-din Qunawi is still studied today. In spite of his importance, and his renown in Turkey and Iran, he has until recently largely been ignored by Western scholars.
The Proceedings of symposium on Molla Fenari, held in Bursa on December 4-6, 2009 make up a substantial volume of 676 pages with numerous illustrations. The majority of the contributions are in Turkish. With the kind permission of the editors of the Proceedings we are able to republish here the paper entitled Molla Fanari and the Misbah al-Uns: The commentator and the Perfect Man, by Alan Godlas.