“He is beautiful, and He loves beauty”: Beauty and the Mysteries of Love and Persistence
Lecture by Dr. James Morris
Friday, November 9, 2018 / 8:00 pm
Admission: $15 (Tickets available at door)
Throughout life, moments of transforming revelation and spiritual insight—of dhikr Allah—arrive in very different forms and contexts, sometimes serendipitous, sometimes the fruits of long practice and meditation. While music and poetry, calligraphy and sacred architecture are perhaps the most influential and familiar forms of spiritual expression in Islamic civilization, visual arts have often played similar roles. The extraordinary miniature painting that we will explore on this occasion is a kind of Islamic “mandala”—a comprehensive, intentionally highly personal and individualized evocation of the human condition in all its levels and dimensions. And its imagery is largely recognizable from the masterworks of Islamic mystical poetry, together with their own root symbols in the Qur’an and hadith. In this session, we can share what each participant recognizes and discovers in contemplating this complex, vibrantly cinematic image of the ways each of us gradually discovers the spiritual meaning, direction, and inherent promises of life.
Professor James Morris (Boston College) has taught Islamic and comparative religious studies at the Universities of Exeter, Princeton, Oberlin, and the Sorbonne, and lectures widely on Sufism, the Islamic humanities, Islamic philosophy, the Qur’an, and Shiite thought. Recent books include Ostad Elahi’s Knowing the Spirit (2007); The Reflective Heart: Discovering Spiritual Intelligence in Ibn ‘Arabi’s ‘Meccan Illuminations’ (2005); Orientations: Islamic Thought in a World Civilisation (2004); and Ibn ‘Arabi’s The Meccan Revelations (Pir Press, 2003).