Towards a Genealogy of Avicennism

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*Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī described Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s Sharḥ on Avicenna’s Ishārāt as a jarḥ (“calumny”, or literally, “injury”) rather than a sharḥ (“commentary”), and this label would become almost proverbial in later discussions of Rāzī’s role in the history of Avicennism. A survey of the introductions to Ishārāt-commentaries composed during the 6th/12th to the 8th/14th centuries, many of them still available only as manuscripts, helps us put Ṭūsī’s remark in historical perspective, and contributes to recent attempts to reevaluate Rāzī’s role in propelling the Avicennian tradition forward.

Towards a Genealogy of Avicennism

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2

For an overview see J. Robson“al-Djarḥ wa ʾl-taʿdīl”Encyclopaedia of Islam (Second Edition) (Leiden: Brill 1960–2007) Vol. ii 462.

3

See for example S. SchmidtkeTheologie Philosophie und Mystik im zwölferschitischen Islam des 9./15. Jahrhunderts: die Gedankenwelten des Ibn Abī Ğumhūr al-Aḥṣāʾī (um 838/1434–35—nach 906/1501) (Leiden: Brill2000) 5–6.

4

A. Shihadeh“From al-Ghazālī to al-Rāzī: 6th/12th Century developments in Muslim philosophical theology”Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 15/1 (2005) 141–179 The Teleological Ethics of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (Leiden 2006) and now “Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s response to Sharaf al-Dīn al-Masʿūdī’s Critical Commentary on Avicenna’s IshārātThe Muslim World 104 (2014) 1–61 (I saw this article only when my own was in proofs); H. Eichner The Post-Avicennian Philosophical Tradition and Islamic Orthodoxy: Philosophical and Theological summae in Context (unpublished Habilitationsschrift: Halle 2009) especially Chapter iii (“Observations on Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s method” 61–80). See also T. Street “Concerning the life and works of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī” in P. Riddell and T. Street eds Islam: Essays on Scripture Thought and Society: A Festschrift in Honour of Anthony H. Johns (Leiden: Brill 1997) 135–46 and F. Griffel “On Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s life and the patronage he received” Journal of Islamic Studies 18/3 (2007) 313–344. On the evolution of Avicennism more generally see G. Endress “Reading Avicenna in the madrasa: Intellectual genealogies and chains of transmission of philosophy and the sciences in the Islamic East” in J. Montgomery ed. Arabic Theology Arabic Philosophy: From the Many to the One Essays in Celebration of Richard M. Frank (Leuven: Peeters 2006) 371–422 and R. Wisnovsky “Avicenna’s Islamic reception” in P. Adamson ed. Interpreting Avicenna: Critical Essays (Cambridge 2013) 190–213.

34

I first made this argument in 2005: R. Wisnovsky “Avicenna and the Avicennian tradition” in P. Adamson and R. Taylor eds The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge U.P. 2005) 92–136 at 111–113 and 130–133.

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