- Seminar leader: Jeffrey Johnston
- Frequency: Weekly Sessions
- First Session: Monday January 17th 2022
- Day and Time: Mondays 9:00pm Eastern/8 pm Central/7 Mtn/ 6 Pacific
- Length of Session: 1.25 Hours per week
- Average pages per week: 3-5 pages, or at the instructor’s discretion
- Duration of Reading Pathway: the completion of the work determines end date
- Private Discussion Forum for Reading Pathway Group (non-Facebook)
- Quarterly Subscription Rate: $250
- Annual Subscription Rate: $750 (1 Free Quarter)
Current Study: Al-Farabi and Islamic Philosophy
Mondays at 9 pm EST/8 pm CST.
New members welcome every quarter.
Next Opening: June 2022.
We live in a time of upheaval. Different societies meet in clashes where resolving disagreements is often a matter of life and death. While this may seem new, it’s happened before: during the Middle Ages, kings and caliphs, bishops and rabbis and imams, tried to solve the puzzle of these collisions. One of the most influential attempts was a revival of Philosophy, an ancient Greek tradition founded by Plato and Aristotle; much later, this revived Philosophy eventually led to what we call the Enlightenment. The first people to revive Philosophy were Muslims; and the first and the greatest of these, the one who took seriously the ways Philosophy could solve the problems around us, was Alfarabi. We might look to Alfarabi for some philosophical and political solutions – and for the ways that we, both as individuals and as whole communities, can attain happiness.
We will be reading four relatively short works:
1. The Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle
– available in “Alfarabi: Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle” [revised edition] translated by Muhsin Mahdi – Cornell University Press, 1969 (reprinting with new foreward, 2001, acceptable but not necessary)
2. Opinions of the Citizens of the Best Regime
– available in “On The Perfect State” translated by Richard Walzer – Oxford University Press, 1985 (the 1998 reprint by Great Books of the Islamic World is identical and much more easily found, so that is recommended)
3. The Book of Religion
– available in “Alfarabi: The Political Writings – Selected Aphorisms and Other Texts” translated by Charles E. Butterworth – Cornell University Press, 2001
4. The Book of Dialectic
– available in “Alfarabi’s Book of Dialectic (Kitab al-Jadal): On the Starting Point of Islamic Philosophy” translated by David M DiPasquale – Cambridge University Press, 2019
On the instructor:
My name is Jeff Johnston. I did my graduate work in Political Science – mostly the Medieval kind – and wrote my Master’s Thesis on al-Ghazali at Boston College. When I’m not reading Medieval books, I’m usually at a keyboard – either at my day job as a computer programmer, or playing jazz piano.
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