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Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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The Challenge of Islam: The Prophetic Tradition Paperback – August 4, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Norman O. Brown (1913—2002) was one of the twentieth century’s most influential American intellectuals. Jerome Neu is Professor of Humanities at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Jay Cantor teaches at Tufts University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books; Original edition (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556438028
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556438028
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #743,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
H. Talat Halman, Ph.D.
Central Michigan University

In The Challenge of Islam, Norman O. Brown (1913-2002) poses three vital and interconnected challenges. First, Islam presents the challenge of the prophet against the institutions of the priesthood and the kingdom, the temple and the city. Second, Islam challenges Church Christianity. And third, Islam poses the challenge Brown takes up as a major theme - Brown's challenge to the reader -- to make one's life a work of art. The Challenge of Islam is a recent posthumously-published set of seven transcribed lectures originally delivered at Tufts in 1981, and one previously unpublished essay, the written text of a conference paper.
Throughout the work Brown reframes and reinforces the esoteric traditions of Ruzbihan, Suhrawardi, Ibn `Arabi, and their rich testimonies of epiphany and beauty. Trained as a classicist Brown's syntheses of symbol, myth, and ritual, especially "Life Against Death" (1959) and "Love's Body" (1966) stand as landmarks of visionary and psychoanalytic approaches to history and literature. Some of the material in these lectures appeared in condensed form in two chapters of Brown's Apocalypse and/or Metamorphosis (1991).

Late in his career Brown began studying Islam. His classical training enriches his representation of Henri Corbin's signature The Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn `Arabi as a central theme in this book. It is this creative imagination of the artist that Brown advocates: "Man is the vicegerent of God on Earth...His work is to make the invisible reality of God visible. To make...to be an artist. That is what art is." (p. 36) This is one of the major themes of the book, as well as to show how Muhammad is the "Great Erotic," the exemplar of "the amourous ardor of `ishq....
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An exquisite reevaluation of Islam by an academic genius who, in his mid-sixties, decided that his previous understanding of the world had been rendered inadequate by the Iranian revolution of 1979. Dead since 2002, Norman O. Brown secured his legacy with these lectures, which, unfortunately have yet to make much of a splash--a situation that will no doubt be remedied by time. Given the vast influence of his earlier books, LIFE AGAINST DEATH and LOVE'S BODY, which were sort of a mashup of Freud and Blake (to mention only two particularly potent influences), THE CHALLENGE OF ISLAM was fated to be considered by its own generation as something done on the side. But even though Brown never meant these lectures to be published in their present form, they manage to go to the heart of the Islam and are indispensable for gaining a clearer understanding of what this 'challenging' faith is all about. See also Brown's two essays on Islam that are included in his 'Apocalypse and/or Metamorphosis' and entitled 'The Prophetic Tradition' and 'The Apocalypse of Islam.' Your world, like Brown's, will change.
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I have been a long time admirer of N.O. Brown's innovative thinking. I have been recently rereading his work and came across reference to this title which I did not previously know. It is really fantastic and deepens by understanding of Islamic history and is fascinating to read today.
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Although I've heard these lectures as they were delivered at Santa Cruz, it is a delight to have a transcribed copy.

The introduction by Jay Cantor is outstanding.

We must finally face the fact that Norman O. Brown may well be the most important thinker of the 20th century.
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Norman O Brown's take on Islam and its relations with Judaism and Christianity are brilliant.
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