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MESAS 490 Mysticism, Magic, and Mystery in the Middle East and North Africa (Main)

Unit 1: Magic, Science, and Religion

Massimo Pigliucci, “Scientism and Pseudoscience: A Philosophical Commentary,” Journal of Bioethical Inquiry (2015) 1-7 (pdf.)

Matthew Melvin-Koushki, “Is (Islamic) Occult Science Science?” Theology and Science (2020), 1-22 (pdf.)

Joseph Rouse, “Kuhn’s Philosophy of Scientific Practice” in Thomas Nickles, Ed., Thomas Kuhn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 101-121.

Michael Muhammad Knight, Magic in Islam (MII)

Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (MTJM)

Unit 2: Esotericism and the Occult

Amira El Zein (IWJ), “The Poetics of the Invisible,” 1-12.

Olav Hammer, “Mysticism and Esotericism as Contested Taxonomical Categories,” Approaching Mysticism and Esotericism: Cultural Influences, Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis 29 (2020), 5-27

Liana Saif, “What Is Islamic Esotericism?” Correspondences 7.1 (2019), 1-60 (pdf.)

Matthew Melvin-Koushki, “Introduction: De-orienting the Study of Islamicate Occultism,” Arabica 64 (3-4), 2017, 287-296

Stanley J. Tambiah, “The Magical Power of Words,” Man, Vol. 3 (2), 1968, 175-208

Unit 3: Alchemy from Science to “Pseudo-Science”

P. G. Maxwell-Stewart (TCC) “China: The Golden Road to Immortality,” “India: The Way of Tantra and Mercury,” “Roman Egypt: The White and the Yellow Arising from Blackness,” “The Islamic World: Balance and Magic Numbers,” “Medieval Europe: Translations, Debates, and Symbols,” “Theology Wearing a Mask of Science: The Later Seventeenth Century,” “A Child of Earlier Times: The Twentieth Century,” 1-82, 123-136, 153-166.

Unit 4: Hermeticism and the “Ancient Philosophy”

Brian P. CopenhaverCorpus Hermeticum IV (The Mixing Bowl), CH VIIICH XII (On the Mind Shared in Common), in idem, Hermetica (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992)

Hermes, “The Discourse of the Eighth and Ninth,” in The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, Edited by Marvin Meyer (New York: HarperOne, 2007)

Vincent J. Cornell, “The Way of the Axial Intellect: The Islamic Hermetism of Ibn Sab‘īn,” Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society, vol. 23, 1997, 41-79

Unit 5: Occult Technologies: Jewish and Islamic Magic and Theurgy

oshua Trachtenberg (JMS), “The Legend of Jewish Sorcery,” “The Truth Behind the Legend,” “The Powers of Evil,” “In the Name of…,” “The Bible in Magic,” “The Magical Procedure,” “Amulets,” “Medicine,” “Divination,” “Dreams,” “Astrology,”

Michael Muhammad Knight (MII), “Magic in the Revealed Sources,” “The Force of the Letters,” “The Stars Are Muslims,” “Your 1/46th Share of Prophecy: Dreaming Muḥammad,”

Amira El Zein (IWJ), “Magic, Possession, Diseases and the Jinn,” 70-88

Noah Gardiner, “Stars and Saints: The Esoteric Astrology of the Sufi Occultist Aḥmad al-Būnī,” Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft, Spring 2017, 39-65

Unit 6: Angels (Malā’ika) and Demons (Jinn)

Amira El Zein (IWJ), “Correspondences Between Jinn and Humans,” “Beings of Light and Fire,” “Divination, Revelation, and the Jinn,” “Jinn in Animal Shapes,” “Love Between Humans and Jinn,” “Jinn Inspiring Poets,” “Conclusion: The Sentience of Inside Out/Outside In,” Appendix: The Different Classes of the Jinn, 13-69, 89-147

S. R. Burge, “Angels in Classical Islam and Contemporary Scholarship,” “Naming Angels,” “Imagining Angels,” “Angelic Companions,” “Angels and Theology,” Angels in Islam: Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūṭī’s al-Ḥabā’ik fī akhbār al-malā’ik (London and New York: Routledge, 2012), 3-15, 29-108 

Michael A. Morgan, trans.Sefer Ha-Razim: The Book of the Mysteries (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1983), “Introduction” and selected texts 

Unit 7: Saints, Sages, and Holy Wisdom

John Anthony McGuckin (BMI) “Introduction” (1-12) and selections from PraktikosTheoretikos, and Gnostikos (13-180)

Vincent J. Cornell (WAM), “Introduction: The ‘Junayd of the West’ and the World of Maghribi Sufism in the Twelfth Century A.D.,” Bidāyat al-Murīd (Basic Principles of the Sufi Path), Uns al-Waḥīd wa Nuzhat al-Murīd (aphorisms), “The Qaṣīda in Rā’,” “The Qaṣīda in Nūn,” 1-38, 54-159

Mark Verman, “Introduction” and “The Books of Contemplation and The Fountain of Wisdom,” The Books of Contemplation: Medieval Jewish Mystical Sources (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1992), 1-120 

Unit 8: Heikhalot, Merkabah, and Kabbalah

Gershom Scholem (MTJM), “General Characteristics of Jewish Mysticism,” “Merkabah Mysticism and Jewish Gnosticism,” “Abraham Abulafia and the Doctrin  e of Prophetic Kabbalism,” “The Zohar I: The Book and Its Author,” “The Zohar II: The Theosophic Doctrine of the Zohar,” 1-79, 119-243.

The Books of Enoch (2010), “Enoch 3 (The Hebrew Book of Enoch) by R. Ishmael Ben Elisha the Hight Priest,” 84-119