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2 Letters

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Chapter Summary

Letter speculations be they of the philosophical, religious, hermeneutical, mystical or magical kind are a common feature of various literary traditions in the ancient world and in Late Antiquity. Letters play a major role in Jewish Kabbalah which evolved during medieval times. Arabic letters are found in Ismāʿīlī sources and in the writings of both Ibn Masarra and Ibn al-ʿArabī. In order to fully understand the various conceptions of Ibn Masarra and Ibn al-ʿArabī regarding the letters of the Arabic alphabet, one must refer, inter alia, to Ismāʿīlī sources. From a typological perspective, the letter speculations that are found in Ismāʿīlī sources and in the writings of Ibn Masarra and Ibn al-ʿArabī are significantly different from those reflected in classical Sufi works that were compiled prior to Ibn al-ʿArabī time.

Keywords:Arabic alphabet; Ibn al-ʿArabī; Ibn Masarra; Ismāʿīlī; Jewish Kabbalah; letter speculations



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