Islamic allegory is the product of a cohesive literary tradition
to which few contributed as significantly as Ibn Sina (Avicenna),
the eleventh-century Muslim philosopher. Peter Heath here offers a
detailed examination of Avicenna's contribution, paying special
attention to Avicenna's psychology and poetics and to the ways in
which they influenced strains of theological, mystical, and
literary thought in subsequent Islamic-and Western-intellectual and
Heath begins by showing how Avicenna's writings fit into the
context and general history of Islamic allegory and explores the
interaction among allegory, allegoresis, and philosophy in
Avicenna's thought. He then provides a brief introduction to
Avicenna as an historical figure. From there, he examines the ways
in which Avicenna's cosmological, psychological, and
epistemological theories find parallel, if diverse, expression in
the disparate formats of philosophical and allegorical narration.
Included in this book is an illustration of Avicenna's allegorical
practice. This takes the form of a translation of the Mi'raj Nama
(The Book of the Prophet Muhammad's Ascent to Heaven), a short
treatise in Persian generally attributed to Avicenna.
The text concludes with an investigation of the literary dimension
Avicenna's allegorical theory and practice by examining his use of
description metaphor. Allegory and Philosophy in Avicenna is an
original and important work that breaks new ground by applying the
techniques of modern literary criticism to the study of Medieval
Islamic philosophy. It will be of interest to scholars and students
of medieval Islamic and Western literature and philosophy.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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