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History Of Islamic Philosophy Hardcover – April 15, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

About the Author

Published here for the first time in English, this highly important work by Henry Corbin, the Islamic scholar, philosopher, and historian of religion, is a definitive interpretation of traditional Islamic philosophy from the beginning to the present day.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 445 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (April 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0710304161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0710304162
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,708,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
_History of Islamic Philosophy_ by French esotericist and expert on Islamicism Henry Corbin is an account of some of the philosophical schools which have sprung up out of the traditions of the Arab peoples (composing one of the three principal Abrahamic faiths - that of Islam). The book is translated with help from the traditionalist Greek Orthodox Christian theologian Philip Sherrard, who himself was an early follower of Rene Guenon (a convert to Islam and founder of the Traditionalist School). The book is published by the Institute for Ismaeli Studies based in London, which attempts to examine the esoteric and gnostic tradition within the theological and religious heritage of Islam. The book is divided into two parts splitting up the tradition with the death of Averroes. The first section of the book is devoted to showing the uniqueness of the Quran as the primary study tool for Islamic philosophers. Indeed, interpretation of the Quran, and mystical interpretation of the hadith or tradition, plays an essential role in the understanding of Islamic mysticism. For Muslims, there is no Magisterium (teaching authority) as there is for Christians residing in the Church. Thus, interpretation of the Quran is subject to various rules and methods for doing so.Read more ›
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By A Customer on February 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A very informative and easy to read book. Author does a good job intoducing his readers to a wide range of thinkers in the Islamic world. Recommend it as a text book for serious students of religion and philosophy.
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Format: Hardcover
This is by far the best work of its kind. If you aren't familiar with Henry Corbin, start with some of his other, more popular works, and then come back to this. It's key to understanding the scope of this book.

Henry Corbin comes from the Traditionalist School (along with Frithjof Schuon, Martin Lings, Huston Smith, René Guénon, Seyyed Hossein Nasr , et al) and this influences his perspective. This is not a negative thing as it does help in presenting an "alternative" Islam that is beautiful, profound and filled with wisdom, a far cry from the Islam portrayed in more "popular" media today. He has found that the esoteric (batin) Islam, especially as manifest in Shi'ite and, in particular, Isma'ili Shi'ite Islam continues a long line of "gnostic" truth that gets lost in the more orthodox, exoteric approach to faith. This colors his emphasis and is key to accepting this book as it it.

Respecting this, the book takes you on an in-depth journey through Islamic (not Arabic) philosophy. Philosophy and Islam? Yes, it does have a history in Islam and yes, it continues to exist. Islam is not a monolith and there are more alternatives to it than the legalistic and/or Rumi versions so popularized in the mainstream. It has been through many schools and many variations as it made its way across the globe, colored, as it is by influences, both theological and cultural. Corbin tackles this broad subject brilliantly.

There are other "historical" books on philosophy in Islam and these may be beneficial in providing a more "traditional" view of the subject but Corbin presents an Islam worthy of study. While it may not be your imam's Islam it may just be the Islam of the Imam of your own being.

Highest recommendation.
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