Mulla Sadra Shirazi: His Life and Works and the Sources for Safavid Philosophy
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Sajjad Rizvi (ed.)
OUP Oxford (2007)
Mulla Sadra Shirazi is the first attempt in English to produce a thorough preparatory study of the intellectual biography of this famous Safavid thinker. Previous attempts by other thinkers have been marred by ideological prejudice and the lack of serious intellectual rigour. A proper understanding of Islamic intellectual history requires the study of canonical thinkers, of which Mulla Sadra is certainly one in the philosophical tradition of Iran. The book eschews legends and theoretical constructs of bibliography in favour of a rigorous life that draws upon a wide range of primary sources, many of which are unpublished, and that demonstrate the significance and context of the intellectual contributions of Mulla Sadra. Mulla Sadra Shirazi is quite a traditional biography in that it seeks to locate the life of the thinker and his works in his historical and intellectual content. The course of ideas in Islam is an area of research that is of great interest at the moment; even the study of philosophy has flourished in recent years. Consistently, with recent works on other Islamic philosophers, this book sets the standard for approaching Islamic intellectual history by insisting upon an historical and source-critical approach, allied with a keen philological, but also philosophical, appreciation of the intellectual life of a thinker. The life is based upon the most recent scholarship on Safavid history and draws widely upon primary sources in Arabic and Persian, including a number of works in manuscript. For students of Islamic thought in the early modern period and those with a particular interest in philosophy in Safavid Iran, this book should be the first point of reference. Mulla Sadra Shirazi will become the foundation for further research both on Mulla Sadra and his thought, as well as the thought and intellectual trends of his period.
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