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Avicenna and Attar of Nishapur: two versions of the legend of the legend of the birds/souls on the quest for God
Fedorova Yuliya

PhD in Philosophy

Scientific Associate, Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences

109240, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. Goncharnaya, 12, str. 1

juliia_fedorova@mail.ru

 

 

Abstract.

This article is dedicated to the research of the stories of two Persian authors: the philosophical proverb “Tale of the Bird” by the most prominent representative of philosophy Avicenna (980-1037), and the “Conference of the Birds” by the illustrious poet and one of the leading representatives of the Persian philosophical Sufism Attar of Nishapur (1145/46-1221). A special attention is given to the comparative analysis of several key episodes of the stories by Avicenna and Attar: introduction to the proverb and the poem, the story of the quest in search of their King, as well as the description of the meeting between the birds and the King. Using a complex of methods of historical-philosophical and textological analysis, as well as the method of philosophical interpretation of literary text, the author successively examines how the similar story of the quest of the soul-bird for God is realized by the philosopher in a small proverb and a poet in a big poem-Masnavi, and determines a number of topics and concepts of Sufi theory and practice, referred to by the separate elements of the story in the proverb and the poem. The author concludes that the allegoric form elected by Attar and Avicenna to relate the theoretical ideas does not pose principle difficulties for understanding of the philosophical concept of both authors. Attar attempted to demonstrate the path of the human soul to God (Sufi method of cognition of God), while Avicenna attempted to describe his own spiritual experience and irrational method of learning the truth.

Keywords: Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Attar, classical Islamic philosophy, falsafa, Persian Sufism, true, irrational knowledge, Persian poetry, allegory, soul-bird

DOI:

10.7256/2409-8698.2015.3.17097

Article was received:

26-11-2015


Review date:

27-11-2015


Publish date:

14-12-2015


This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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