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The relevance of Ostad Elahi’s Knowing the Spirit

James Morris, Ph. D., is professor of Theology at Boston College. A specialist of islamic philosophy, he has written authoritative studies on Ibn ’Arabi and Mulla Sadra’s metaphysics. His most recent publications include a translation of Ostad Elahi’s Knowing the Spirit (SUNY, 2006), a book which he also prefaced and annotated.

In first part of this video interview published by ostadelahi-indepth.com, Prof. Morris discusses the reasons that led him to study this particular work. He emphasises its relevance and place in today’s modern world by explaining how Ostad Elahi invites his readers to relate the arguments developed in his study to their own personal spiritual experience.

In the second part of this interview, Prof. Morris reflects on the theoretical background of Knowing the Spirit and its affinities with the problems and concepts elaborated in the philosophical doctrines of Plato, Aristotle and the Neoplatonists. He emphasises the different stages of our spiritual progress and destiny, as well as the dual movement that brings us towards God, who is both the ultimate source of the order ruling the world, and the origin of our capacity to understand this order.

In the third part of this interview, James Morris refers to two threads running throughout Knowing the Spirit: the Persian philosophical school represented by Mulla Sadra on the one hand, and the Kurdish Ahl-e Haqq tradition on the other. Ostad Elahi follows this double thread up to a point, and then goes beyond it. In Chapter 7 of the book in particular, he lays out a theory of the process of perfection and successive lives, the modality of which are strikingly original, opening up the unexpected perspective of a metaphysical foundation for what may be an expanded “environmental ethics”.

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  1. Y.E Mar 14, 2011 7:33 pm 1

    Very fascinating and educational. Thank you.

  2. Kamran Mar 14, 2011 11:16 pm 2

    Thank you for everything and a special thanks to the person who told me about this very useful website, dear Soma…

  3. star Mar 15, 2011 2:39 pm 3

    Being able to read Knowing the Spirit in English has been instrumental to understanding the context of Ostad Elahi’s work and thought in the grand philosophical tradition. James Morris’ introduction is also very interesting in that it communicates how Ostad Elahi’s work compares to other wellknown works as well as some of the inspirations for the work. I also enjoyed reading about the style of writing and what that meant to the audience Ostad Elahi was targeting.

  4. nima Jun 07, 2011 5:40 am 4

    thank you so much for this subject and to the person who told me about this very useful website

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