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A Comparitive Analysis of The Cosmological Doctrines Of Eriugena And Ibn Arabi

Qaiser, Shahzad (2011) A Comparitive Analysis of The Cosmological Doctrines Of Eriugena And Ibn Arabi. PhD thesis, University of the Punjab, Lahore .



In this dissertation we propose to undertake a comparative analysis of the cosmological doctrines of Eriugena and Ibn ‘Arabi> in order to show that in spite of belonging to different religious, historical and geographical contexts, their views show remarkable similarities on the concept of God, nature and man and their correlation.Their conceptions of totality and its division are similar, while Ibn ‘Arabi>’s picture is more comprehensive in view of his accommodating absolute not-being. Both connect ontology with intelligibility and present perspectival ontologies. Eriugena and Ibn ‘Arabi> alike extend the term “God” to include “theophanies.” They are agreed on Divine unknowability, self-creation and they both synthesize negative and affirmative theologies.However, in view of their different conceptions of “knowledge” they disagree on the possibility of Divine Self-knowledge. Eriugena's “primordial causes” which mediate God and creation, are shown to be functionally similar to Ibn ‘Arabi>’s “fixed entities” and the ontological status of both is similar. However, the former are contained within the Logos while the latter are not contained within the Perfect Man. We argue that the way Eriugena and Ibn ‘Arabi> relate the world to God is similar by showing resonance between Eriugena’s notion of “participation” and the doctrine of “Divine roots” we reconstruct from scattered passages of Ibn ‘Arabi>’s magnum opus. We also show that Eriugena’s understanding of “theophany” is completely in line with Ibn ‘Arabi>’s view of the nature of al-tajalli>. Our exposition of the Divine roots theory also includes a discussion of Ibn ‘Arabi>’s views on the relationship between God and ten categories which he, unlike, Eriugena, connects ontologically to the Divine nature.Finally, we show how, on the one hand, Eriugena and Ibn ‘Arabi> alike relate man to God via the notion of imago dei, on the other, they relate man to the created nature by viewing nature to be contained by man. It is shown that Eriugena and Ibn ‘Arabi> agree not only on broader outlines but in certain important details as well, for instance, the way they understand the meaning of human deiformity is same. On the methodological side, the most prominent feature that is shared by these two philosophers is their keenness to relate philosophical doctrines and notions to their respective Scriptures. We observe, however, that whereas Eriugena’s interpretation of the Bible seems in most of the cases to be allegorical and arbitrary, when Ibn ‘Arabi> interprets the Qur’a>n he is extremely careful regarding its letter and offers his creative interpretation more often than not within the interpretational space allowed by the text itself. Another methodological insight that is common to both is that instead of aligning themselves with extreme positions on most of the important questions, they usually prefer midway house standpoints which enable us to see the pros and cons of all options. We conclude by making a case for the importance and practical relevance of the results of our comparative analysis. We argue that by considering the world to be a theophany and contained within man who is created upon Divine image Eriugena and Ibn ‘Arabi> give us the conceptual keys to reconstruct a worldview that is based on perfect harmony between God, man and created nature and it is this view that is really needed to come to terms with the environmental crisis our world is facing. Moreover, their tendency to take middle positions and indeed the way they situate the world between absolute goodness and absolute evil offers us a cosmology of tolerance. This cosmology requires that instead of having recourse to “either/or” logic of the sword we see everything as consisting of elements of goodness and imperfection.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Division, Analysis, Arabi, Cosmological, Geographical, Eriugena, Categories, Comparative, Doctrines, Theory, Nature, Divine, Evil, Emviromental
Subjects:Social Sciences(g) > Philosophy(g14)
ID Code:7514
Deposited By:Mr. Javed Memon
Deposited On:15 Nov 2012 10:02
Last Modified:15 Nov 2012 10:02

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