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5995Re: On Sufism and Gnosticism

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  • pmcvflag
    Jun 8, 2002
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      Hey Morph.

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

      I think this topic is in fact relevent to this list. While this club
      is dedicated to "Gnosticism" as it is historically defined, the
      Platonic framework within, and historical connections to, other forms
      of esoteric thought can certainly add to the overall discussion here
      (as long as we don't go TOO far from the subject)

      >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.<

      Undoubtedly true. In fact, this is true of almost any era, or social
      order, we can name. I tend to take a middle ground when it comes to
      the critical examination of such things, which is to say that I would
      caution against romanticism, but would also avoid dimminishing the
      accomplishments of such groups at the other extreme. These are people
      after all, they had thier good times and bad.

      Even esoteric groups fall victim to the failing of conservatism in a
      political and religious venue. Y.V. Andrea decried his own role as
      one of the inventers of the Rocicrucians in his later life. Many of
      the most illustrious members of the Florintine Camerata, including M.
      Ficino, Pico della Merindola, and Botticelli, bacame followers of the
      fanatic Dominican, Savoranola, and spoke out against thier own
      previous works.

      >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<

      I have doubts about this one. Raymond was active in the late 1200s,
      and the Platonic diffusion in the west can be shown very actively in
      the 1100s. The Spanish Kabbalah school comes later than the Provencal
      school (the Bahir was published in 1178 in Provance, which is
      obviously before Lully), and several courts in Languadoc (William vi
      for instance) made overtures to Platonic studies even before that.

      I am convinced that too much emphasis is sometimes placed on the
      influence Islam had on the disimination of some of these
      philosophies. The influence is clearly there, but, in my view, it is
      only an influence not a source. What's more is it went both ways. For
      instance, much has been made of the Adelusian influence on the
      Troubadours, but there was also a Troubadour influence on the Moorish
      love poets in Spain (BTW, I noticed you also joined my troubadour
      club Morph)... it wasn't a one way street.

      However, there does seem to be an ideological connection between
      certain Sufic, early Kabbalistic, and Gnostic systems of thought
      (which is of course largely the Platonic element) as you very nicely
      point out next.......

      >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.<

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