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Course Details

Fall 2013-2014
* NES 323 (EM)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Introduction to Early Sufism (ca. AD 800-AD 1200)

Michael Barry

Popularized through translations of world-famous poets like the 13th-century Rûmî, the Sufi mystical strain pervaded Islamic culture for a thousand years and played a major historic role in furthering friendly relations between Muslims and other religious communities through endorsement of spiritual tolerance. This two-term course examines Sufism's origins, growth, social role, guiding ideas, impact on Islamic literature, and even on medieval European thought as filtered through Spain, and the profound but controversial influence of the Spanish-Muslim Ibn `Arabî (1165-1240) as far as India.

Sample reading list:
R.A. Nicholson, Translations from Rûmî, Dîvân; Masnavî
Miguel Asín Palacios, La Escatología musulmana en la Divina Comedia
Henry Corbin, Avicenna and the Visionary Recital
R.J.W. Austin, Translation of Ibn Arabî's Fusûs al-Hikam
Toshihiko Izutsu, Sufism and Taoism

Reading/Writing assignments:
75-100 page reading per week. Students are expected to submit a short (ca. 12-page) midterm essay and longer (ca. 20-page) final essay.

Paper in Lieu of Mid Term - 25%
Paper in lieu of Final - 50%
Class/Precept Participation - 25%

Other information:
The Fall term discusses Early Sufism (ca. AD 800 - AD 1200), its social organization and the growth and flowering of the Neoplatonic and Gnostic currents in Islamic thought under the Baghdâd caliphs and Seljuk sultans in the Near East and Almohad rulers in Spain, while the Spring term addresses Later Sufism, ca. AD 1200 - modern times and the overwhelming influence of the Spanish-Muslim Ibn `Arabî (d. 1240 AD) on all higher Islamic mystical speculation and poetical literature.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
20101 L01 01:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm Th   Frist Campus Center   307   Enrolled:21 Limit:25