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Visiting Speaker - Noah Gardner, New Research on Aḥmad al-Būnī and the Rise of Sufi Lettrism

Emily Selove in association with her Centre for Magic and Esotericism, is delighted to be able to confirm the visiting speaker Noah Gardner – please note that, for scheduling reasons, this event will be held on a Tuesday rather than the usual Wednesday

Event details

Date: Tuesday November 21st

Time: 5-7pm

Speaker: Dr Noah Gardiner

Position: Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Affiliation: University of South Carolina

Title of lecture: New Research on Aḥmad al-Būnī and the Rise of Sufi Lettrism

Abstract: Aḥmad al-Būnī (d. 622/1225 or 630/1232-3), the subject of my current book project, was among of handful of western-Islamicate Sufis of the seventh/thirteenth century whose writings on the science of letters and names (*ʿilm al-ḥurūf wa-al-asmāʾ*)—known in recent scholarship as
“lettrism”—helped unleash a wave of creative cosmological and occult-scientific thought and practice across the Islamicate world that endured for centuries after his death. His contributions to this emergent science included sophisticated fusions of eastern Sufi thought with emanationist-cosmological and astral-magical discourses long cultivated in al-Andalus, ideas he likely encountered during his time as a Sufi neophyte in Tunis. In this talk, I will discuss his indebtedness
to such Andalusian thinkers as Ibn Masarrah, Ibn al-Sīd al-Baṭalyawsī, Ibn Barrajān, and possibly elements of Jewish Kabbalah, and how he succeeded in bringing such ideas east under the banner of lettrism.


IAIS Building/LT1