Peace, one and all…
Alongside other reading material, I am currently reading three immensely enjoyable books. Ma sha Allah!
The first book is The Charismatic Community: Shi`ite Identity in Early Islam (by Maria Massi Dakake). Although I only purchased this book recently, I have enjoyed reading it immensely. I can already see its usefulness in my teaching. However, beyond such utilitarian concerns, I have to say that I have personally enjoyed it. Its main aim is to explore the formation and development of identity within early Shi`ite thought.
Book number two is entitled Neoplatonism (by Pauliina Remes). Its aim is to explore the history and ideas of this important and influential school of ancient philosophy. I’m reading this book for two reasons: firstly, Neoplatonic thought was deeply influential in certain parts of the later Islamic world, and so I want to understand the ideas themselves before exploring their subsequent history within Muslim thought. Secondly, I am eager to find out more about the connections between Neoplatonism, magic and mysticism. That is, as I understand things, Neoplatonism was not a philosophical system in the sense we might understand it today; it also had a strongly ‘spiritual’ quality to it, for want of a better word.
I took my third book out of the library this morning. It is entitled The Search for God in Ancient Egypt (by Jan Assmann). I have only had a chance to flick through the contents page and introduction, but I can tell it will be an interesting read. So far, I’ve read his opening section: Religion: Divine Presence and Transcendence (which has been fascinating). I am a complete amateur when it comes to Ancient Egypt. I own a copy of Erik Hornung’s influential (and enjoyable) work Conceptions of God: the One and the Many. I found his ideas interesting, though I had little to compare them with (until now that is).
Fascinating stuff indeed! Praise be to God for the ability to read.