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The Occult Sciences in Pre-modern Islamic Cultures

BTS 138

Beirut 2018, 264 pp., engl. text, several illustr.

BTS 138

This volume examines the occult sciences and their context within the body of scientific knowledge in pre-modern Islamic cultures. The chapters explore the relationships between the phenomena of nature and the supernatural arcana as accounted for in arithmology, physiognomy, astrology, divination, geomancy, lettrism, alchemy, magic, and gnosis. The spectrum of analytic approaches in the studies that are set in the chapters of this volume vary in terms of their methodological directives in historiography, philology, and epistemology. However, they cumulatively reveal the complex nuances in thought that situated the occultist practice within the sphere of science in the pre-modern Islamic milieu.

Nader El-Bizri is a Professor of Philosophy and Civilization Studies at the American University of Beirut. He previously taught at the University of Cambridge, the University of Nottingham, the University of Lincoln, in addition to holding research affiliations at The Institute of Ismaili Studies in London and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. He specializes in Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, Phenomenology and Architectural Humanities, and received various international awards and honors in recognition with his work.


Eva Orthmann has been Professor of Islamic Studies at Bonn University since 2007. She received her MA in Islamic and Iranian Studies from the University of Tübingen in 1995 and her PhD from Halle University in 2000. After being an assistant professor at the Oriental Institute at Zurich University she became a visiting research scholar at the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University. Her work focuses mainly on the history of astrology in the Islamic world as well as on Indo-Iranian studies.