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On Sufism and Gnosticism

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  • pmcvflag
    Hey Market and Ernst had made some comments recently (triggered by a spam) concerning Sufism and Gnosticism. I thought the subject brought up some interesting
    Message 1 of 10 , Mar 31, 2002
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      Hey Market and Ernst had made some comments recently (triggered by a
      spam) concerning Sufism and Gnosticism. I thought the subject brought
      up some interesting points, but didn't get a chance to delve.

      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, and that it is through these sources
      that some works by Plato, as well as Hermetica, are reintroduced to
      the west. It is not to say that Sufism is identical to Gnosticism,
      but that the process by which it came about is identical, and that
      it's belief system is more than roughly equivalent. Departing from Dr
      Scholem a little here though (as compared to the equation of the
      Kabbalah with Gnosticism), Dr Nasr seems to think of these religions
      as directly related sisters rather than forms of the same thing. It
      is also my impression that he holds this more valid of the earlier
      Andalusian schools than of later orders.

      PMCV
    • lady_caritas
      ... a ... brought ... PMCV, . . interesting topic. The comparative analysis by Seyyed Hossein Nasr sounds good. There is an online article by Nasr, which
      Message 2 of 10 , Apr 1, 2002
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        ---(Message #5723) In gnosticism2@y..., pmcvflag <no_reply@y...>
        wrote:
        > Hey Market and Ernst had made some comments recently (triggered by
        a
        > spam) concerning Sufism and Gnosticism. I thought the subject
        brought
        > up some interesting points, but didn't get a chance to delve.
        >


        PMCV, . . interesting topic.

        The comparative analysis by Seyyed Hossein Nasr sounds good. There
        is an online article by Nasr, which discusses mystical philosophy in
        Islam, including connections with with Hermetic, Pythagorean and
        Neoplatonic teachings:

        http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/rep/H004.htm

        The homepage for the website where this article is found also
        includes other articles by various authors discussing Islamic
        philosophy, including influences of Greek philosophy (Neoplatonism,
        Platonism, Pythagoreanism, Stoicism, Aristotelianism), for anyone
        interested:

        http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep.htm

        A couple more links, discussing mysticism of Islam and borrowings
        from Neoplatonism and Gnosticism:

        http://answering-islam.org/Books/Zwemer/Heirs/chap10.htm

        http://www.khamush.com/greek/gr.htm

        Cari
      • morphodyte
        ... analysis of ... ideals ... Kabbalah ... Greetings: while this may be an old thread, it does IMO merit some further investigation. A prevailing idea is that
        Message 3 of 10 , 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
        • beautiful2afault
          A book by Raphael Patai, the Jewish Mind under the chapter Hebrew arabesque starting on page 130 and continuing to the end of that chapter explains the
          Message 4 of 10 , Jun 8, 2002
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            A book by Raphael Patai, "the Jewish Mind" under the chapter Hebrew
            arabesque starting on page 130 and continuing to the end of that
            chapter explains the development of the kabbalistic thinking into
            europe, through the arab/muslim mystic suffusion by way of hindue
            religion.

            its a nice overview.

            i personally think there is more to the kabbala than this overview
            tells as to religion or love. i think the kabbala among other things
            tells of the creation of humanity the equality between man and woman
            and our, the male and female, potential development, intellectual and
            spiritual toward god through love and through life.

            beautiful2afault



            --- In gnosticism2@y..., "morphodyte" <morphodyte@y...> wrote:
            > --- 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
          • pmcvflag
            Hey Morph. ... 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
            Message 5 of 10 , 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.<

              PMCV
            • hey_market
              There s much to say about this, but perhaps on another list. Perhaps not. Do you have your own theory about the origins of Kabballah and Sufism? Do you see a
              Message 6 of 10 , Jun 8, 2002
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                There's much to say about this, but perhaps on another list. Perhaps
                not. Do you have your own theory about the origins of Kabballah and
                Sufism? Do you see a common Gnostic source? Hermetic? Neoplatonic?
                Mysteries?

                --- In gnosticism2@y..., "morphodyte" <morphodyte@y...> wrote:
                > --- 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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