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The Two Ibn Sīnās: Negotiating Literature

In: Intellectual History of the Islamicate World
Author:
M.A. Mujeeb Khan University of Tokyo mujeeb.khan@mail.u-tokyo.ac.jp

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This article investigates developments in medical literature through Ibn Sīnā’s Poem on Medicine (al-Urjūza fī al-ṭibb) to demonstrate how the Poem’s unique organization represents a different, practicable work. While Ibn Sīnā’s Canon of Medicine (K. al-Qānūn fī al-ṭibb) has traditionally been used to understand his approach to medicine, this article argues for a different Ibn Sīnā as seen through his Poem to show that the Poem should not be subordinated to the Canon. As the first comprehensive treatment of the Poem, it contextualizes the Poem in the medical literary tradition of the Islamic world followed by an analysis of the Poem’s structure. Finally, through a study of how this structure compares with other works, it establishes how the Poem is different from these other works to present a different Ibn Sīnā. In doing so, it hopes to draw interest to the role of textual agency in the conceptualization of medical literature.

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