Using This Book


Using This Book
   Should the reader wish to delve deeper into any particular figure, school or topic, we have listed several additional sources at the end of each entry as suggestions for further reading: primarily book-length studies, occasionally specific articles, and wherever possible, translations of primary sources. We have included only works in English, but of course the reader fluent in other languages can discover a world of first-class scholarship by consulting their bibliographies. Apart from the translations, book-length studies and articles we have cited, there are numerous historical overviews, anthologies and reference works, many of which may profitably be consulted for virtually every entry in this book. For the sake of economy, we have not listed these works over and over again in the entries themselves, but encourage the reader to consult them as well – in some cases first – should he or she wish to pursue particular figures or ideas further. Although they are included in the general bibliography, we will mention a few such resources here.
   First, for more detailed accounts of individual thinkers, schools, topics and such, we strongly urge the reader to seek out the anthology edited by S. H. Nasr and O. Leaman, History of Islamic Philosophy (Routledge, 1996), as well as M. M. Sharif’s earlier two-volume collection, A History of Muslim Philosophy (LPP, 1961/99). Both of these collections comprise top-notch essays by outstanding authorities in the field. A recent addition to this genre – also excellent, albeit somewhat less comprehensive – is The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, ed. P. Adamson and R. Taylor (Cambridge, 2005). There are a number of very good encyclopedias worth consulting as well. The most immediately useful will be the comprehensive two-volume Biographical Encyclopaedia of Islamic Philosophy, recently compiled by O. Leaman (Thoemmes Continuum, 2006). After that, I would recommend Brill’s new edition of the Encyclopedia of Islam, ed. P. J. Bearman et al. (Brill, 1960–2005), which also contains many articles on Islamic philosophy and theology, all of the highest quality. The first edition (1913–38, reprinted 1993) still contains many classic, definitive articles. The Encyclopedia Iranica, ed. E. Yarshater (Routledge Kegan and Paul, 1985ff.) can be a very useful source too, as well as the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. E. Craig (Routledge, 1998), which includes numerous entries on the Islamic philosophical tradition by major scholars in the field. Finally, two good book-length historical overviews can be found in H. Corbin’s History of Islamic Philosophy (Kegan Paul International, 2001) and M. Fakhry’s A History of Islamic Philosophy (Columbia University Press, 1970/2004). O. Leaman’s An Introduction to Classical Islamic Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2001) offers a somewhat more selective account, but is a fine entry into key debates in the tradition. We have included transliterated Arabic terms for many of the key concepts, in order to give the reader some sense of the actual technical vocabulary of Islamic philosophy. We have also included Arabic (and in some cases, Persian) titles of books, along with their English translations, since the latter can vary a bit. There are a number of ways in which Arabic can be transliterated into English. We have employed the modified Encyclopedia of Islam system, with a few qualifications. First, because of the non-specialist nature of this book, we have opted for minimal transliteration: all diacritics (macrons and dots) have thus been omitted, while the left apostrophe (‘) represents ‘ayn and the right apostrophe (’) represents hamza. Second, in the interests of comprehension we have occasionally opted for an alternative transliteration of a term or name, if it is more commonly encountered and more easily recognizable. Third, for the sake of clarity, we have as a rule retained Orientalist word endings (e.g. Mu‘tazilite, Shi‘ite, Hanbalite), but again, where the Arabic word ending has become more commonplace, we have opted for that (e.g. Sunni, Isma‘ili, Sufi). Capitalization has been kept to a minimum and is generally used only for formal names of persons, schools of thought or places. Traditional names, titles or standard descriptions of God such as the Creator, the Originator, the Necessary Existent, the First Cause and the One are capitalized; ‘divine’ entities such as the forms, active intellect or universal soul are not. Use of the masculine pronoun when referring to God is used simply out of deference to traditional usage. With regard to dating, most figures are listed first according to the Islamic calendar (AH, i.e. anno Hegirae), then according to the Gregorian calendar (CE, i.e. Common Era). For example, 1266–1323/1849–1905 means 1266–1323 AH/1849–1905 CE; references to whole centuries follow the same general formula. The few exceptions to this are the dates of (1) the Prophet Muhammad, whose birth date (570 CE) precedes the beginning of the Islamic calendar (622 CE), (2) ancient Greek philosophers (listed as BCE, i.e. Before the Common Era) and (3) Jewish philosophers who worked in the Islamicate milieu (only listed as CE, because precise AH dates were not always available). Within each entry, words in bold signal a cross-reference, so that readers may chase down figures or concepts that strike their interest.

Islamic Philosophy. . 2007.

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