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Russian Studies in Philosophy 31 (3):7-39 (1992)
The fact that the names of two philosophers who lived and worked in such different periods, under conditions of quite dissimilar cultures and civilizations, share the title of this article is in itself enough to require clarification. Nikolai Berdiaev, who belonged to a current of Russian philosophy that called itself mystical, hardly needs to be presented to the reader. Muhyiuddin ibn-'Arabi , the greatest mystic of the Arab Middle Ages, is known as the founder of a philosophical conception that was later referred to as the "unity of being" and enjoyed broad popularity among Islamic thinkers, philosophers, and poets of the late Middle Ages. Moreover, motifs of this conception are not difficult to find in the works of contemporary literati enthralled by the ideas of Islamic mysticism, i.e., of Sufism. Hence these two outstanding figures can be compared on the common ground that they belonged to the current of philosophical thought of mankind that is called mysticism or mystical philosophy. Despite all the differences that doubtlessly exist among Russian, Arabic, and, let us say, European mysticism, there are also certain fundamental common features of this way of looking at the world that enable us to bring all these currents together under a single generic concept
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