(Калифорнийский университет Беркли)
Light: The Orient of Thought
The figure of Light is already present in Greek philosophy from the time of Plato (for example Republic) but it is with Neoplatonists that acquires an unprecedented level of complexity and dynamism (for example, in the teachings of Plotinus or Enneads). And in between the two comes Aristotle (in particular De Anima) using Light as the figure for Active Intellect. On the other hand, Muslim thinkers as early as 10th C. capitalized on Light: The Verse of Light in Quran is commented on by Ghazali, Avicenna, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, and many other prominent Muslim thinkers until centuries later for example by Mulla Sadra. But most importantly, it is the 11th C. philosopher, Suhrawardi, who defines, establishes and elevates the supra-sensory, incorporeal figure of Light as the metaphysical principle of an original philosophy famous to Illuminationism or Ishraq in the Islamic/Iranian tradition of hikmat. I argue that the apogee of the thought of Light with Neoplatonists on the one hand and with Suhrawardi on the other hand depicts a similar but at the same time independent development of philosophical capacities on the both sides of the civilizational history of Light. And of course in this double development, the role of translation, transmission, and transformation of the Greek tradition cannot be ignored in shaping the Islamic trajectory parallel to it. However any such historical accounts cannot do without reckoning with the specificity, creativity, and maturity of Muslim thinkers continuing to philosophize with Light for many centuries after the Greeks. This picture is even more complicated if we take heed from the contemporary French metaphysician Gilles Deleuze for whom the Neoplatonist concept of Light already reveals an "Oriental" phenomenon present from Ancient Egypt to Byzantine painting.