The Concept of 'The Complete, or Perfect, Human Being'

NOA Community Centre (Ferry Centre)
Summertown, Oxford

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The idea that the human being and the universe are like mirror images of one another - "man the microcosm" - goes back to antiquity. In the monotheistic religions, the same concept is expressed as "man made in the image of God". Within the Islamic tradition, far more than in the Christian or Judaic, this principle has been developed into a comprehensive theory which elucidates in detail the nature of the human constitution and the purpose of human life. Its greatest exponent is the Andalusian philosopher/mystic Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi (1165- 1240), and the tradition which has developed from him. Unlike modern scientific theories in which life and consciousness are merely accidental qualities, this view gives the "complete human being" (al-insān al-kāmil) a central role in the cosmos, and sees the realisation of this reality as the true potential of every person.

Jane Clark has been studying the work of Ibn 'Arabi and his followers for more than 30 years. Originally trained as a scientist, she is a student of the Beshara School and holds a Masters degree in Medieval Arabic Thought. She has lectured and written widely on the relevance of Ibn 'Arabi's unique vision to the contemporary world and this autumn is teaching a seminar series, with Stephen Hirtenstein, at the University of Oxford Department of Continuing Education.

£6.00 (Friends £3.00)