Top critical review
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Great poet but controversial translation
on November 9, 2007
Almost all the great religions have a mystical side, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism. Gnosticism, Khabalah, the Nagas within Hinduism, Vajrayana Buddhism, Sufism, the Eleusine Mysteries within ancient Greek religion, Hermetism (a fusion of western and eastern mysticism by the third century, A.D., philosopher, Iamblichus), Avesta, Taoism, Confucianism, and even Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry all had mystical sides.
Sufism is one of the mystical traditions within Islam, of which there are a number not well known in the west. Rumi is one of the greats in that tradition, and one of the few eastern poets I've read (such as Omar Khayam) and there is no doubt he is one of the greatest poets of all time, whether western or eastern. I enjoy Rumi's poems but have to agree with a reviewer that the translations may not be the best since the author admits he knew no Persian, and Sufis are quite definite on the point that their poems are very precise and even technical in their wording and phraseology. As I'm not an expert I'll leave the final opinion on this book to the experts and those more knowledgable than I. Fortunately, as there are other translations you should also try one of those and compare those renderings with this book. But whichever way you decide to go, Rumi should be essential reading for anyone wishing to expand their literary and intellectual horizons beyond the "usual suspects."