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Spiritual Discourse: Learning With an Islamic Master (University of Pennsylvania Publications in Conduct and Communication) Hardcover – January, 1993


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Product Details

  • Series: University of Pennsylvania Publications in Conduct and Communication
  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Pennsylvania Pr (January 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812231651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812231656
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,889,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Frances Trix --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Triesch on December 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
There are few books in English about the Bektashi Sufi Order or its most famous American practitioner, the late Baba Rexheb, so I approached this book with great anticipation. Regrettably, it was a huge disappointment.

Author Frances Trix was for many years a student of Baba Rexheb, and this book promised to be an inside look at the teachings and methods of a modern spiritual master. Unfortunately, the man and his teachings remain largely a mystery as Trix instead focuses on the phenomenology of the interaction between student and teacher. We thus find Trix going to great lengths in order to state the obvious, such as that Rexheb sometimes expressed himself with facial expressions or gestures rather than via the spoken word! Time and again, Trix narrowly focuses on the minutiae of a particular teaching moment, describing everyday verbal and gestural patterns as if they point to something profound or revealing. The effect is like those old Cotton Dockers commercials where we see the pants up-close, we hear various witty comments from a "bull" session, but we don't know who those people are, we never see their faces, and we ultimately don't give a rip one way or the other.

This is the kind of book that gives scholarship a bad name - dry and pedantic, unable to see the forest for the trees, and draining the life out of a topic which had shown so much promise. My only hope is that someday, unencumbered by the need to prove her academic bona fides, Trix will write the book that she should have written already, and that Baba Rexheb and his teachings will come alive for those who were not fortunate enough to know him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gogol on March 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
As there are very few books concerning the Bektashi Sufi order and to my knowledge none regarding a Bektashi Sufi Sheikh I was to say the least interested in reading this book.

A previous reviewer was disappointed with this book as I was too but for entirely different reasons. First of all I certainly would not say that the Sheikh this book is about is one of the most famous Sufi Sheikhs in the United States I would doubt that he is even known outside of his small circle (Which is probably a great pity) However this book is far less a biography of the Sheikh but rather a book about lessons the author took with the Sheikh in Sufism.

My main complaints with this book are that for one the author seems to get far too bogged down with flowery language, over technical linguistic terms, odd analogies and basically using half a page to explain something that could be told in about 3 lines. There are a number of books written in English about Sufi Sheikhs which fall into this category often giving the impression that the author is simply trying to make Sufism appear something of an elitist club rather than an interpretation of a world religion.

While it may be an attempt to appeal to the university educated class in the west or to try and adapt Sufism to an almost elitist clique it just doesnt meet the form of what Sufism actually is in well, Muslim majority countries.

The second problem with the book is its sometimes muddles understanding of Islam and history. For example the author says that the names of the 1st 4 Caliphs of Sunni Islam are often found on the corners of Qurans!
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