135 - Undercover Brothers: Philosophy in the Būyid Age

Miskawayh, al-‘Āmirī, al-Tawḥīdī, the Brethren of Purity and Ismā'īlī missionaries bring together philosophy with Persian culture, literature and Islam.

Press 'play' to hear the podcast: 

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Further Reading: 

• P. Adamson, “The Kindian Tradition: the Structure of Philosophy in Arabic Neoplatonism,” in C. D’Ancona (ed.), Libraries of the Neoplatonists (Leiden: 2007), 351-70.

• P. Adamson (ed.), In the Age of al-Fārābī: Arabic Philosophy in the Fourth/Tenth Century (Warburg Institute Colloquia 12), London: Warburg Institute, 2008.

• N. El-Bizri (ed.), The Ikhwān al-afāʾ and their Rasāʾil: an Introduction (Oxford: 2008).

• J. Kraemer, Philosophy in the Renaissance of Islam (Leiden: 1986).

• J. Kraemer, Humanism in the Renaissance of Islam (Leiden: 1992).

• I.R. Netton, Muslim Neoplatonists: An Introduction to the Thought of the Brethren of Purity (London: 2002).

• E. Rowson, A Muslim Philosopher on the Soul and its Fate (New Haven: 1988).

• E. Rowson, “The Philosopher as Littérateur: al-Tawīdī and his Predecessors,” Zeitschrift für Geschichte der arabisch-islamischen Wissenschaften 6 (1990), 50-92.

• P.E. Walker, Early Philosophical Shiism: the Ismaili Neoplatonism of Abū Ya‘qūb al-Sijistānī (Cambridge: 1993).

• P.E. Walker, amīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī: Ismaili Thought in the Age of al-ākim (London: 1999).

Declan Foley's picture

Wonderful series

Having being educated in 1950s Ireland in a catholic education system, which averred there was only one truth, I find this series fascinating.

Thank you so much for these podcasts

Brian's picture


Hi, Peter, very much enjoying your podcasts on Islamicate philosophy. You mentioned in this episode that Al-Amri was responsible for assigning Quranic terminology to Neoplatonist concepts, like Aql/Pen, Nafs/Tablet, &c. Which text does Al-Amri mention this in? This is a fascinating topic for me as I am looking at a later text with Rajab al-Bursi and it would be great to know more about the tradition from which this is derived.

It is mainly due to your work that I no longer mind getting caught in traffic :)

Peter Adamson's picture


"Traffic antidote," I'll add that to the potential uses of the podcast!

The text I was thinking of is his reworking of the Liber de Causis/Arabic Proclus. It is called Kitab al-Fusul fi-l Ma'alim and has been studied and translated in an excellent book (in German) by Elvira Wakelnig. Here's a link to the book.