Rice University

Events at Rice

Lecture/Lecture Series

Dean of Humanities

Speaker: Robert Wisnovsky

Muhammad Abduh and the Avicennian Tradition

Monday, November 7, 2016
4:30 PM  to 6:30 PM

117  Humanities Building
Rice University
6100 Main St
Houston, Texas, USA

Muhammad Abduh (d. 1323/1905) is most famous for his writings on Islamic reform. Less well known is that early in his career, he composed a lengthy scholastic treatise: his Gloss on Jalal al-Din al-Dawani’s (d. 907/1501) Commentary on Adud al-Din al-Iji’s (756/1355) Creed. My paper will begin by discussing recent challenges to, and defenses of, Abduh’s authorship of this work. Abduh’s treatment of central problems of Islamic philosophical theology will then be surveyed, and one problem will be analyzed, with a view to locating him in the long tradition of post-Avicennian kal?m as well as in the context of late-19th-century Islamic, Arab and Egyptian intellectual history.

Biography of Robert Wisnovsky:
Robert Wisnovsky is a specialist in the history of Islamic philosophy, with a particular interest in the origins, development and reception of the metaphysics of Avicenna (Ibn S?n?, d. 1037). Wisnovsky received his BA (1986) in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from Yale, and his MA (1990) and PhD (1994) in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton. He then took up a Postdoctoral Research Assistantship (1994-1996) in Prof. Richard Sorabji’s Ancient Commentators on Aristotle project, in the Philosophy Department of King’s College London. His first teaching job was in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department at Harvard, where he was Assistant Professor (1996-2002) and then Associate Professor (2002-2004) of Islamic Intellectual History. In 2004 Wisnovsky came to McGill, where he is currently James McGill Professor of Islamic Philosophy and Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies, having served previously as Director from 2005-2008.

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