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The Lost Way to the Good: Divine Will and Celestial Hierarchies
in Islamic and Christian Platonism

last modified Oct 07, 2020 07:14 PM
New Interfaith Research Project funded by the Spalding Trust

The Cambridge Centre for the Study of Platonism announces a new inter-faith project between a Muslim shaykh and a Christian priest.


Platonism grounds more than just Western philosophy. Its theological influence also stretched from the Middle East to the furthest reaches of the Silk Road. Permeating Islamic philosophy and Eastern Christian spirituality, for centuries, Platonic metaphysics offered a lingua franca for both proselytism and the exchange of ideas among religious thinkers of the East even after its influence in Europe was eclipsed.
Building on his comparative doctoral study of Pseudo-Dionysius and True Pure Land Buddhism, the Rev’d Dr Thomas Plant will work with doctoral student Shaykh Hasan Spiker, who spent twelve years studying the Islamic sciences in Morocco, Turkey and Jordan. Together, they will study both shared and intra-traditional Platonic texts to address questions of the divine will, agency and the goodness of creation, tracing a shared metaphysical path through some of the disputed questions which vex modernity, in particular the popular polarity of fideism versus reason.

 

Working together not only pragmatically but intellectually, Spiker and Plant will offer a common front against the nominalist and materialist assumptions of modernity which tend to promote the very religious divisions they claim to resolve. Instead, they mean to show how orthodox adherents of different faiths can share the quest for truth and goodness and offer a more positive appraisal of the cosmos and the place of humanity in it.

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