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5990Re: On Sufism and Gnosticism

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  • morphodyte
    Jun 7, 2002
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      --- In gnosticism2@y..., pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:

      > Dr Sayyed Hossein Nasr wrote an interesting comparative
      analysis of
      > Sufism and Gnosticism. Specifically he demonstrates Platonic
      ideals
      > in medieval Andelusian Sufism. It is interesting that the
      Kabbalah
      > comes into existance in the era,


      Greetings:

      while this may be an old thread, it does IMO merit some further
      investigation.

      A prevailing idea is that Muslim Spain was an ecumenical
      exchange of theology and philosophy in an atmosphere of
      religious tolerance, which it really was not.

      Andalus was characterized by brief periods of tolerance
      interspersed with longer periods of conflict of religious and
      political nature.

      In particular, much of the diffusion of Aristotelian and Platonic
      philosophy back into the West was due to the efforts of Raymond
      Lully to evangelize the Saracens, a move which later got hime
      stoned to death by his saracen audience.

      Part of this effort based itself on the requirement of missionaries
      to study the peripatetic philosophers of Islam like Ibn Rushd
      (Averroes) of refuting the aristotelian premises in favor of
      Catholic sacramentalism.

      While the study of Aristotle and Plato in the works of the Islamic
      peripatetic philosophers with the aim of refuting their
      foundations had the reverse effect of introducing the methods of
      hellenistic philosophy to feudal Europe, it cannot be said that
      this was done in the spirit of ecumenism.

      I wonder if kabbalah was developed in Toledo with a similar aim
      of defending jewish mysticism in the face of the onslaught of the
      sophisticated mysticism of Ibn Sina and Ibn Arabi?

      Clearly Ibn Sina and later al Kirmani developed an Islamic
      mysticism which was platonic and valentinian in nature with
      ranks of hypostases originating from an ineffable Truth.
      Similarly, the fallof Sohia, the descent of the Tenth Intellect and
      the kabbalistic "breaking of the vessels" all share a common
      theme in all three traditions and point to a common source.

      However, the undermining of Islamic idealism was not to come
      from without but from within in the formalization of the ashari
      aqeeda and shariah under Abu Hamid Al Ghazzali, a step which
      fossilized Islamic thought and led to the wholesale rejection of
      Platonic idealism and speculative philosophy.

      But perhaps this is a discussion best suited to another list.

      Morph
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