5990Re: On Sufism and Gnosticism
- Jun 7, 2002--- In gnosticism2@y..., pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
> Dr Sayyed Hossein Nasr wrote an interesting comparativeanalysis of
> Sufism and Gnosticism. Specifically he demonstrates Platonicideals
> in medieval Andelusian Sufism. It is interesting that theKabbalah
> comes into existance in the era,Greetings:
while this may be an old thread, it does IMO merit some further
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
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
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.
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