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Definitions Of Knowledge

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Chapter Summary

In accordance with the ancient Arabic atomistic concept of knowledge, definitions, like aphorisms, were greatly appreciated in Islam. Ṣûsm, with its willful assignment of meanings to terms and terms to meanings, was particularly fond of them. The mystic philosopher, Ibn Sabʿîn, brought together an extensive and rather mixed batch of definitions of “knowledge” in his Budd al-ʿârif. The basic guidelines for the phrasing of these definitions can be assumed to have been operative at the very beginnings of kalâm and to have produced a small set of denitions which remained fundamentally unchanged but in minor rewordings provided an outlet for intellectual creativity.

Keywords: Ibn Sabʿîn; knowledge



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