Some of the foremost living scholars in Islamic thought have come together to create a standard and definitive work on the subject of Islamic thought. Noted scholars from North America, Europe, and the Middle East offer new and generative interpretations of major themes in the field. They address perennial theological and philosophical questions: the nature of the God-head, the ultimate constitution of matter, the world's origin, causality, divine providence and the existence of evil, freedom and determinism, political wisdom, and the reaches of human knowledge, The contributions include historical and analytical expositions of these issues in medieval Islam as well as discussions of individual thinkers, translations of Arabic texts with commentary, comparisons of Greek and Islamic thought, and bibliographical and textual sources. As a whole, these essays offer a wealth of philosophical, theological, bibliographical, philological, and historical information.
Among the outstanding contributions are: an article by Charles Butterworth on Aristotle's rhetoric and how it was understood by al-Farabi, Avicenna and Averroes; Richard M. Frank's essay on the concepts of atoms and bodies, one of the most complex subjects in Islamic theology; and an article by Shams Inati on Ibn Sina and single expressions that discusses how language relates to mental processes and the unknown. Michael E. Marmura develops a new perspective on the subject of efficient causality, emphasizing the paradigmatic position of God's relationship to the world; Muhsin Mahdi analyzes a treatise of Averroes' that deals with the relationship between philosophy and law.
Michael E. Marmura is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto.