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The twelfth century CE was a watershed moment for mysticism in the Muslim West. In al-Andalus, the pioneers of this mystical tradition, the Mu'tabirun or 'Contemplators', championed a synthesis between Muslim scriptural sources and Neoplatonic cosmology. Ibn Barrajān of Seville was most responsible for shaping this new intellectual approach, and is the focus of Yousef Casewit's book. Ibn Barrajān's extensive commentaries on the divine names and the Qur'an stress the significance of God's signs in nature, the Arabic bible as a means of interpreting the Qur'an, and the mystical crossing from the visible to the unseen. With an examination of the understudied writings of both Ibn Barrajān and his contemporaries, Ibn al-'Arif and Ibn Qasi, as well as the wider socio-political and scholarly context in al-Andalus, this book will appeal to researchers of the medieval Islamic world and the history of mysticism and Sufism in the Muslim West.Read more
- Offers a broad introduction and reappraisal of Andalusî intellectual history from the ninth to the twelfth century
- Recasts the formative Andalusî mystics as a distinct tradition from Sufism, self-identifying as Muʿtabirûn, or 'Contemplators'
- Introduces the central Qurʾânic hermeneutics and cosmological teachings of a major Islamic thinker for the first time, positioning Ibn Barrajân at the forefront of twelfth century Andalusî mystical thought
- Contributes to the renewed debates in Arabic biblical studies by highlighting the crucial, but neglected role, of Ibn Barrajân in the Islamic exegetical tradition
Reviews & endorsements
'The book, like other works in the Cambridge Studies [in] Islamic Civilization series, effectively illustrates the picture of a polycentric Middle East and North Africa, where Cordoba and Marrakesh were deeply intertwined with developments further east in cities like Cairo and Baghdad. Casewit's contribution is productive at a theoretical level for both medieval and modern historians. … [His] monograph will undoubtedly inspire a new generation of historians to explore the manuscript libraries around the world - from Fez to Istanbul - where lost Arabic texts have been found but remain unexamined.' Ali Humayun Akhtar, The American Historical Review
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- Date Published: June 2017
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107184671
- length: 372 pages
- dimensions: 235 x 157 x 23 mm
- weight: 0.65kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. The beginnings of a mystical discourse in al-Andalus: Ibn Masarra, Mālikism, and the politics of an epistemological debate
2. The rise of the Andalusī Muʿtabirūn: the influence of Ghazālī, markers of the Muʿtabirūn tradition, and the onset of institutional Sufism
3. The life of a contemplative: Ibn Barrajān's educational formation, spiritual practices, political views, and decease
4. The works of Ibn Barrajān: chronological sequence, manuscript tradition, and central themes
5. The divine descent: bridging the chasm between God and creation
6. The hermeneutics of certainty: harmony, hierarchy, and hegemony of the Qurʾān
7. A Muslim scholar of the Bible: biblical proof-texts for Qurʾānic teachings in the exegetical works of Ibn Barrajān
8. The human ascent: Iʿtibār, cycles of time, and future predictions.
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