Prof. Eric Ormsby’s translation of Nasir-i Khusraw’s Jami‘ al-Hikmatayn under the title ‘Between Reason and Revelation: Twin Wisdoms Reconciled’ receives World Book Award

IIS (Institute of Ismaili Studies) Publication Receives World Book Award
June 2014

Professor Eric Ormsby has received The World Book Award of the Islamic Republic of Iran for his translation of Nasir-i Khusraw’s Jami‘ al-Hikmatayn under the title Between Reason and Revelation: Twin Wisdoms Reconciled.

The award, given for works that further an appreciation of Islamic culture and thought, was conferred in Tehran at a formal ceremony on 8 February 2014, presided over by a number of leading Iranian scholars and religious leaders. The secretariat of the World Book Award, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, commended Professor Ormsby’s work as the first complete English translation of the final work of the great 11th-century Ismaili philosopher and poet, and praised the accuracy and stylistic beauty of his translation.

Between Reason and Revelation was published by I.B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies in 2012 as a volume in the Institute’s Ismaili Texts and Translations Series. It was the culmination of a project carried out over four years by Professor Ormsby in his position as Senior Research Associate in the Department of Research and Publications.

The award, which was the 21st in the history of World Book Award, included winners from several countries, including Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Pakistan and the United States.


About the Work

I. B. Tauris Publishers in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2012.
ISBN (Hardback): 978-1780761329


View Publication page on Google Books

This is the first English translation of the last known philosophical work of the great eleventh-century Ismaili thinker, poet, and Fatimid emissary,Nasir-i Khusraw. Appointed from Cairo by command of the Fatimid Imam-caliph al-Mustansir to serve first as a daʿi, and then as the hujjat, for the entire region of Khurasan, he maintained his allegiance to both his mission and his Imam for the rest of his life, even when threatened and driven into exile.

Written during his exile in Badakhshan in the year 1070 CE, Nasir-i Khusraw here develops a powerful presentation of both Aristotelian philosophy and Ismaili exegesis, or taʾwil, and strives to show that they are ultimately in harmony. The work is presented as a learned commentary on a long philosophical poem, written in the previous century and sent to Nasir by the amir of Badakhshan, ʿAli b. Asad, who copied the poem out in his own hand from memory and asked the poet-philosopher to explicate it.

In doing so, Nasir ranges over a huge span of topics from logic and language to the nature of the physical world, from the spheres of the highest heavens to the plants and animals of the earthly realm, and, most importantly, hidden spiritual realities: the esoteric (batin) as well as the exoteric (zahir) realms. He thus discusses the nature of God, the creation of human beings, and the mysteries concealed in the physical world, itself a reflection of a higher, transcendent realm.

Between Reason and Revelation: Twin Wisdoms Reconciled is an annotated translation of the Persian text prepared by Henry Corbin and Mohammed Muʿin based on the single surviving manuscript of the work, now in the Süleymaniye Mosque Library in Istanbul. It is a work of great philosophical and spiritual insight, which is also a pioneering attempt to tackle difficult intellectual problems in the Persian language; it is at once lucid and lyrical, precise and speculative. Nasir’s influence has been immense as both a poet and a thinker, and the Kitab-i Jamiʿ al-Hikmatayn is his crowning work.




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