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The Philosophy of Ecstasy: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition
This page has details on “The Philosophy of Ecstasy: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition,” edited by Leonard Lewisohn
Philosophy of Ecstasy, The: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition
Philosophy of Ecstasy, The: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition
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Author(s): 
Subjects(s): 
Comparative Religion
Islam
Poetry
Sufism

Price:  $23.95

ISBN:  978-1-936597-42-0
Book Size:  6" x 9"
# of Pages:  340
Language:  English



Description
Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-73), founder of the Mevlevi Sufi order of “Whirling Dervishes,” is the best-selling poet in America today. The wide-ranging appeal of his work is such that UNESCO declared 2007 to be “International Rumi Year.” However, his writings represent much more than love poetry. Rumi was one of the preeminent thinkers of Sufism, the esoteric form of Islam. In this groundbreaking collection of 13 essays on Rumi, many of the world’s leading authorities in the fields of Islamic Studies and Persian Literature discuss the major religious themes in his poetry and teachings. In addition to discussing the ideas of love, ecstasy, and music in Rumi’s Sufi poetry, the essays offer new historical and theological perspectives on his work. The immortality of the soul, freewill, the nature of punishment and reward, and the relationship of Islam to Christianity are all covered, in order to bring Rumi’s poetry properly into the context of the Sufi tradition to which he belonged.

AWARDS

  • Winner in the “Religion: General” category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards
  • Gold Medal in the “Religion/Philosophy” category of the 2014 Midwest Book Awards
  • Finalist for 2015 Benjamin Franklin Award in the category “Religion”
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Details on “The Philosophy of Ecstasy: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition”

Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-73), founder of the Mevlevi Sufi order of “Whirling Dervishes,” is the best-selling poet in America today. The wide-ranging appeal of his work is such that UNESCO declared 2007 to be “International Rumi Year.” However, his writings represent much more than love poetry. Rumi was one of the preeminent thinkers of Sufism, the esoteric form of Islam. In this groundbreaking collection of 13 essays on Rumi, many of the world’s leading authorities in the fields of Islamic Studies and Persian Literature discuss the major religious themes in his poetry and teachings. In addition to discussing the ideas of love, ecstasy, and music in Rumi’s Sufi poetry, the essays offer new historical and theological perspectives on his work. The immortality of the soul, freewill, the nature of punishment and reward, and the relationship of Islam to Christianity are all covered, in order to bring Rumi’s poetry properly into the context of the Sufi tradition to which he belonged.

Scholar Christopher Shackle has said of this book, “Rumi must be one of the few figures in world history of whom it can truly be said that the more we know about them the greater they are seen to be. Good books about this greatest of Sufi masters are accordingly always to be warmly welcomed, and this collection of papers by leading Rumi scholars, which has been ably edited by Leonard Lewisohn, is one of the very best. Building on the finest modern scholarship, the eleven contributors develop a variety of fascinating approaches to Rumi as a historical figure, as a spiritual teacher, and as a vastly prolific and supremely creative poet.” The distinguished contributors to the volume, in addition to the editor, Dr. Lewisohn, are: Husayn Ilahi-Ghomshei, Roderick Grierson, Kabir Helminski, Franklin Lewis, Shahram Pazouki, Iraj Anvar, Peter Chelkowski, Alan Williams, James W. Morris, Carl W. Ernst, and Simon Weightman.

The Philosophy of Ecstasy: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition, is divided into four sections: “Études in Ecstasy: Leitmotifs of Rūmī’s Poetics,” “Rūmī’s Sufi Ecumenism,”“Historical and Theological Perspectives on Rūmī’s Oeuvre,” and “Designs of Love: Sense and Structure in Rūmī’s Mathnawī,” each containing several essays by the previously mentioned writers. In addition, the volume features a helpful and extensive “Introduction” by editor Leonard Lewisohn, a bibliography, an index, a list of contributors, and a biographical note on the editor. This collection is likely to become an important addition to research collections of scholars and libraries, and to personal collections of readers interested in exploring further dimensions of the great Persian poet’s work.

AWARDS

  • Winner in the “Religion: General” category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards
  • Gold Medal in the “Religion/Philosophy” category of the 2014 Midwest Book Awards
  • Finalist for 2015 Benjamin Franklin Award in the category “Religion”


The Editor of “The Philosophy of Ecstasy: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition”

Leonard Lewisohn

Leonard Lewisohn is a scholar and author who specializes in classical Persian and Sufi literature. He is Senior Lecturer in Persian at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, UK. Dr. Lewisohn is the editor of the upcoming World Wisdom volume (December 2014), The Philosophy of Ecstasy: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition, a groundbreaking collection of 13 essays on Rumi by many of the world’s leading authorities in the fields of Islamic Studies and Persian Literature, in which they explore the major religious themes in Rumi’s poetry and teachings.

Professor Lewisohn has also contributed the essay “‘Ali ibn Abi Talib’s Ethics of Mercy in the Mirror of the Persian Sufi Tradition” to the World Wisdom book The Sacred Foundations of Justice in Islam: The Teachings of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib .

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Reviews of “The Philosophy of Ecstasy: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition”

“Rumi’s work can be exhilarating but also at times daunting and obscure; in this respect, Leonard Lewisohn’s timely edition of a collection of scholarly essays shines much needed light on the exceptional variety of Rumi’s poetical expression.…

The Philosophy of Ecstasy is particularly relevant in today’s climate of widespread Islamophobia (and at the other extreme, Islamism). The essays, written by a ‘formidable roster’ of specialist scholars, aspire to place Rumi’s mystical thought and poetic resonance in the context of the Sufi tradition to which he belonged. They can profitably be read more than once — each time, it is hoped, with further insight into Rumi’s poetic work, much like the symbolic spiral which continually returns to its beginning — each time with greater and deeper understanding.”
Temenos Review



The Philosophy of Ecstasy: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition, which aside from exploring the motifs and structure of Rumi’s poetry ‘aspires to situate Rumi’s mystical thought and poetry in the context of the Sufi tradition to which he belonged’ (p. xv), gives due attention to the importance of historicity in both the composition of Rumi’s works and in the development of his heritage, thus being a timely addition to this growing field of scholarship.…

“The diversity of contributors in the volume is impressive, and includes scholars from different countries and various academic fields such as Religious/Islamic Studies, Theology, Philosophy, Linguistics, Persian Studies, and Iranian Studies, who examine the theme from different perspectives; among them is a Sufi shaykh (Helminski) and contributors with Shi‘ite backgrounds (Pazouki and Anvar). Such diversity, coupled with the variety of topics discussed – from Sufi ecumenism and reader engagement to artistic performance and spiritual advancement – affords the reader a more comprehensive, multifaceted view of Rumi, thereby enriching the multidisciplinary field of Rumi studies.…

“All in all, The Philosophy of Ecstasy is a valuable contribution to the growing efflorescence of the academic study of Rumi’s poetry and thought. The book has been quite successful in shedding light on the historical dimension of Rumi vis-à-vis his overstressed meta-historical, spiritual aspect, as it traces the source of Rumi’s words to the early Islamic period and follows his footprints up to contemporary times. It is thus a book to be seriously read by anyone interested in Sufism in general and in the prominent Sufi poet in particular.”
Mawlana Rumi Review



“This is an excellent collection of insightful and scholarly studies illustrating the breadth and depth of Rumi’s teachings.”
William Chittick, Professor of Asian and Asian American Studies, Stony Brook University, New York



“A delightful read, this work opens up new dimensions to the cherished treasures of Islamic mysticism. Although dozens of books have been written on Rumi, this extraordinary book will remain an inspiring and indispensable source for students and scholars of Medieval Studies, and Islamic Literatures and Mysticism for many decades to come.”
Ali-Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Associate Professor of Persian, Leiden University, The Netherlands



“Dr. Lewisohn’s numerous works in the field of Sufi studies are instructive and well understandable by different types of readers. This book is a fruitful contribution to the study of the great Persian poet Rumi.”
Mohammad Este’lami, Professor Emeritus of Persian Language, McGill University, Montreal, editor of a seven-volume critical edition of the Persian text of Rumi’s Mathnawi



“Good books about this greatest of Sufi masters are always to be warmly welcomed, and this collection of papers by leading Rumi scholars is one of the very best. The best of these papers will certainly have a major influence on future understandings, and the volume should have a permanent place on the shelves of all those who seriously seek to discover what Rumi is all about.”
Christopher Shackle, Professor Emeritus of Modern Languages of South Asia, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London


The Contents of this Book:

Editor’s Introduction: Rūmī’s Life and Works

Acknowledgments

A Note on Transliteration

I. Études in Ecstasy: Leitmotifs of Rūmī’s Poetics

The Symphony of Rūmī, by Husayn Ilahi-Ghomshei

Principles of the Philosophy of Ecstasy in Rūmī’s Poetry, by Leonard Lewisohn

II. Rūmī’s Sufi Ecumenism

“One Shrine Alone”: Christians, Sufis, and the Vision of Mawlānā, by Roderick Grierson

The Contemporary Relevance of Rūmī’s Language of the Soul, by Kabir Helminski

III. Historical and Theological Perspectives on Rūmī’s Oeuvre

Towards a Chronology of the Poems in the Dīvān-i Shams: A Prolegomenon for a Periodization of Rumi’s Literary Oeuvre, by Franklin Lewis

The Revival of the Spiritual Dimension of the Sunna in Rūmī’s Mathnawī, by Shahram Pazouki

From Rūmī’s Mathnawī to the Popular Stage, by Iraj Anvar & Peter Chelkowski

IV. Designs of Love: Sense and Structure in Rūmī’s Mathnawī

Open Heart Surgery: The Poetic Operation of Love in Rūmī’s Mathnawī, by Alan Williams

The Ascension of the Word: Rhetoric and Reader Engagement in Rūmī’s Mathnawi, by James W. Morris

Wakened by the Dove’s Trill: Structure and Meaning in the Preface to Rūmī’s Mathnawī, Book IV, by Carl W. Ernst

Spiritual Progression in Books One and Two of the Mathnawī, by Simon Weightman

In Memoriam: Gökalp Kâmil by Roderick Grierson

Bibliography

Index

List of Contributors

Biographical Note




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