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Muḍṭariban maǧnūnan: A Case of Phraseology and Evolving Motifs of Literary and Medical Love-Sickness in the Tale of Salāmān and Absāl

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AbstractThe Tale of Salāmān and Absāl presented as a translation from Greek, attributed in the text’s opening lines to Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq, is saturated with references from a wide-ranging variety of sources with an array of religious, cultural and textual orientations; these, as well as its generic affiliations, ideological leanings, location on the spiritual-metaphysical spectrum and Vorlagen have been studied by many. In this paper, I focus on the wording and literary forms of the text, some of which have been glossed over in the rendition of Henry Corbin, by which this text is often known. My point of departure is a collocation which draws on motifs and phraseology from popular sources, the canons of poetry and poetry in prose (including belles lettres elements in the Qurʾān), as well as terminology in medical literature in Arabic and Greek traditions. Through an analysis of phrasing drawing on philological methods of Blachère, Von Grunebaum, Arazi and others, a contextualization of this Tale (which is not covered in research on “profane love theory” e.g. by Lois Giffen) may lead to a reading of this Hermetic text within a repertoire of “romantic” commonplaces and innovations of expression.

Affiliations: 1: Classics Dept., Hebrew University of Jerusalem


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