University of St Andwers

Philosophy and Religion

in Ancient Greece and the Islamic World

Description and organization

The School of Classics at St Andrews is holding a one-day workshop on the interface between philosophy and religion in the ancient Greek and Islamic worlds. The workshop will be held in person (School of Classics, Room S11) and online (via MS Teams).

Organisers: Olaf Almqvist ( and Alex Long (



9.30am Olaf Almqvist, St Andrews
‘God is day night, winter summer, war peace, golden winged, two horned, and born from an egg: Reflections on the Orphic Protogonos and Presocratic Theology’

10.30am Tom Harrison, St Andrews
‘The unknowability of the divine in classical Greek thought’

[short break]

12 noon Zhenyu Cai, Cambridge
‘Al-Fārābī, Avicenna, and Averroes on Reason and Revelation’


1.30pm Fedor Benevich, Edinburgh
‘Personal Identity in Islamic Philosophy of Religion’

2.30pm Feriel Bouhafa, Cambridge
‘Different Grounds for Human Moral Obligation (Taklīf) in Islamic Theology and Philosophy’

[short break]

4pm Peter Adamson, LMU
‘Do Giraffes Have an Afterlife? A Muslim Theologian-Philosopher on Animal Souls’



LMU Munich

Intellect and Contemplation in Ancient Greek

and Medieval Islamic Philosophy


Friday, 1 October 2021

9:30–10:00 Welcome and introduction

  Section 1 Chair: Laura Castelli (LMU Munich)

10:00–11:00 Mauro Bonazzi (Utrecht University)
“Antiochus, Ulysses and the Limits of Contemplative Life”
11:00–12:00 Bert van den Berg (Leiden University)
“Living Statue and Confusion: Reading the Great Myth in Plotinus’ School and Proclus’ Academy”

Section 2 Chair: Rotraud Hansberger (LMU Μunich)

14:00–15:00 Tommaso Alpina (LMU Munich)
“Contemplating the Contemplator. Human Soul as the Object and the Subject of Contemplation”
15:00–16:00 Bethany Somma (LMU Munich)
“Externalized Contemplation in Ibn Ṭufayl’s Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān”

16:45–17:45 Keynote talk: Peter Adamson (LMU Μunich)
“From Known to Knower: Affinity Arguments for the Mind’s Incorporeality in the Islamic World”

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Section 3 Chair: Mareike Hauer (KU Leuven)

09:30–10:30 Riccardo Chiaradonna (Roma Tre University)
“Life and Contemplation in Plotinus’ Hierarchy of Being”
10:30–11:30 Thomas Bénatouïl (University of Lille)
“Porphyry on the Digression of the Theaetetus and Intellectual Detachment from Sensations and Social Activities”

12:00–13:00 Julia Trompeter (Utrecht University)
“Michael of Ephesus on the Objects of Contemplation”

 Section 4 Chair: Tommaso Alpina (LMU Munich)

15:00–16:00 Jari Kaukua (University of Jyväskylä)
“Knowledge of Essences in Suhrawardī: Presence or (Modified) Avicennian Science?”
16:00–17:00 Cécile Bonmariage (UC Louvain)
“‘Knowledge is the seed of vision’: Contemplation, Knowing Things as They Are, and the Intellect in Ṣadr al-Dīn Shīrāzī”

17:00–17:30 Concluding discussion


Rotraud Hansberger (LMU Munich)
Mareike Hauer (KU Leuven; member of the project ‘PlatoViaAristotle’ that has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 885273)

This will be a hybrid event. For more information please contact and

This conference is supported by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation

(Text by the organisers)


Studies in Interreligious Dialogue

Leuven: Peeters


Studies in Interreligious Dialogue is an academic peer-reviewed journal. It welcomes scholarly works on encounters between believers of different religions and worldviews from a practice-theory point of view. It invites discussion of practical issues concerning interreligious relations, such as interreligious learning, worship, marriage, welfare. The journal publishes articles by adherents of various religious traditions and academic disciplines. In particular, Studies in Interreligious Dialogue aims to enhance practical religious studies as a new field in the academic study of religion.

Studies in Interreligious Dialogue is abstracted and indexed in ATLASerials; Index Theologicus; Index to the Study of Religions Online; New Testament Abstracts; Elenchus Bibliographicus (Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses); ERIH PLUS (European Reference Index for the Humanities and Social Sciences); Scopus; CrossRef.

Studies in Interreligious Dialogue is a peer-reviewed journal.

(Text by the editors)


The Qur’an

The Basics 

Massimo Campanini, London: Routledge, 2016


This second edition of a popular introduction to the Qur’an includes an essential updated reference guide, including a chronology of the revelation, links to internet resources, and suggestions for further reading. Exploring the Qur’an’s reception through history, its key teachings, and its place in contemporary thought and belief, this volume analyzes: the Qur’an as the word of God; its reception and communication by the Prophet Muhammad; the structure and language of the text; conceptions of God, the holy law, and jihad; and Islamic commentaries on Qur’anic teachings through the ages. The Qur’an: The Basics, Second Edition is a concise and accessible introduction.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

  1. Islam and the Qur’an
  2. Structure and Composition
  3. God, Humanity and Prophecy
  4. The Qur’an and the Qur’anic Science
  5. Contemporary Approaches to the Qur’an

Appendix I: Glossary of Essential Terms

Appendix II: Concise Traditional Chronology of the Revelation

Appendix III: Websites on the Qur’an

Works Cited and Bibliography



The Digital Humanities and Islamic & Middle East Studies

Elias Muhanna, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016


Over the past few decades, humanistic inquiry has been problematized and invigorated by the emergence of what is referred to as the digital humanities. Across multiple disciplines, from history to literature, religious studies to philosophy, archaeology to music, scholars are tapping the extraordinary power of digital technologies to preserve, curate, analyze, visualize, and reconstruct their research objects. The study of the Middle East and the broader Islamic world has been no less impacted by this new paradigm. Scholars are making daily use of digital tools and repositories including private and state-sponsored archives of textual sources, digitized manuscript collections, densitometrical imaging, visualization and modeling software, and various forms of data mining and analysis. This collection of essays explores the state of the art in digital scholarship pertaining to Islamic & Middle Eastern studies, addressing areas such as digitization, visualization, text mining, databases, mapping, and e-publication. It is of relevance to any researcher interested in the opportunities and challenges engendered by this changing scholarly ecosystem.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents


Islamic and Middle East Studies and the Digital Turn – Muhanna, Elias

Uncertainty and the Archive – Zadeh, Travis

Of Making Many Copies There is No End: The Digitization of Manuscripts and Printed Books in Arabic Script – Riedel, Dagmar

Al-Kindi on the Kindle: The Library of Arabic Literature and the Challenges of Publishing Bilingual Arabic-English Books – Rossetti, Chip

Working with Grassroots Digital Humanities Projects: The Case of the Tall al-Zaʿtar Facebook Groups – Yaqub, Nadia

Toward Abstract Models for Islamic History – Romanov, Maxim

Quantifying the Quran – Brey, Alex

Mapping Ottoman Damascus Through News Reports: A Practical Approach – Grallert, Till

“Find for Me!”: Building a Context-Based Search Tool Using Python – Peralta, José Haro / Verkinderen, Peter

Pedagogy and the Digital Humanities: Undergraduate Exploration into the Transmitters of Early Islamic Law – Blecher, Joel

From Basmati Rice to the Bani Hilal: Digital Archives and Public Humanities – Reynolds, Dwight F.

Subject index