Mysticism and Philosophy in al-Andalus: Ibn Masarra, Ibn al-ʿArabī and the Ismāʿīlī Tradition, by Michael Ebstein

Michael Brett


As its title indicates, this is a thesis which sets out to identify the many features of the mystical writings of the two Andalusians, Ibn Masarra (883-931) and Ibn al-ʿArabī (1165-1240), which they have in common with the mythical and Neoplatonic cosmogonies and cosmologies in the assortment of works from the late ninth and tenth centuries belonging to what Michael Ebstein calls the Ismāʿīlī tradition. His purpose is to demonstrate the causal connection between the two sets of compositions, and in so doing to account for the difference between the mysticism of the two Westerners and that of Sufis writing in the East. It is a task meticulously carried out under five chapter headings: the Word of God and the Divine Will; Letters; the Friends of God; the Perfect Man: from Shīʿī sectarianism to universal humanism; and Parallel Worlds. The first deals with the problem of relating a pre-Islamic concept of creation through a descending order of emanations with a Creator by definition above and beyond His creation...

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Ilahiyat Studies: A Journal on Islamic and Religious Studies, 2009-2019 eISSN 1309-1719

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