Science Examined, The Origin of ‘Scripture’, and Kabbalistic Retreats

Welcome to our April newsletter!
Our first new library addition this month is an article by Philip Sherrard, “Modern Science and the Dehumanization of Man”, a close and detailed look at the foundations of contemporary science, considering them in relation to the traditional pre-modern and religious worldview.

The smell of the rose is still as much the smell of the rose for us as it was for Plato and, in spite of all, our lives are still punctuated by moments of grace and beauty and love… In this sense, everything is still in its place and nothing has been lost. Indeed, since the worldview of modern science is basically false, it cannot ultimately affect the truth of things, however much it may appear to do so. The norm of human and natural existence always remains.

• In a recent contribution, “The Qur’an in Comparison and the Birth of ‘scriptures’”, we can read about early analogies between Homeric poetry and the Qur’an, and we can appreciate the importance of Qur’anic studies in the development of comparative religion as a field of study.

From the outset, the rise of Islam prompted European observers to ask what explained its tremendous success. How had the Qur’an’s teachings won so many hearts, and so quickly?

• Finally, in his article “Solitary Meditation in Jewish and Islamic Mysticism”, Paul Fenton gives us a glimpse at the close relations and methodical parallels between the Sufi practice of solitary retreat, khalwa, and the Kabbalist hitbodedut in Safed (Tzefat), one of the four holy cities of Judaism.

It must be borne in mind that at the time of the inception of Qabbalistic activity in the Land of Israel in the last quarter of the 13th century, Safed, the cradle of Palestinian Qabbalah, was a vibrant centre of Muslim commerce and culture.