Mirror of the Intellect

Essays on Traditional Science and Sacred Art

By Titus Burckhardt
Edited and translated by William Stoddart

Subjects: Islam
Series: SUNY series in Islam
Paperback : 9780887066849, 269 pages, October 1987
Hardcover : 9780887066832, 269 pages, October 1987

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Table of contents


Titus Burckhardt: An Outline of his Life and Works

I Traditional Cosmology & The Modern World

1. The Cosmological Perspective

2. Traditional Cosmology and Modern Science

(I) Cosmologia Perennis

(II) Modern Physics

(III) Traditional Symbolism and Modern Empiricism

(IV) Evolutionism

(V) Modern Psychology

3. 'Riding the Tiger'

II Christian Themes

4. The Seven Liberal Arts and the West Door of Chartres Cathedral

5. Because Dante is Right

6. Contra Teilhard de Chardin

7. The Heavenly Jerusalem and the Paradise of Vaikuntha

8. Two Examples of Christian Symbolism

9. The Theological Message of Russian Icons

III Symbolism and Mythology

10. The Symbolism of the Mirror

11. The Symbolism of Water

12. Insight into Alchemy

13. The Symbolism of Chess

14. The Sacred Mask

15. The Return of Ulysses

16. The Sun Dance

IV Islamic Themes

17. The Traditional Sciences in Fez

18. The Prayer of Ibn Mashîsh

19. Concerning the 'Barzakh'

20. Commentary on the Divine Names by Imam Ghazâlî

21. The Role of the Fine Arts in Moslem Education

22. Perennial Values in Islamic Art

23. The Void in Islamic Art

24. The Impact of the Arabic Language on the Visual Arts of Islam

V Envoi

25. A Letter on Spiritual Method


Bibliography of Titus Burckhardt



Titus Burckhardt was Swiss and an eminent member of the traditionalist school. He is perhaps best known to the English-speaking public as the author of the following books: Sacred Art in East and West; Siena, City of the Virgin; Moorish Culture in Spain; and Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul. A generation ago, he won much acclaim for producing and publishing the first successful, full-scale facsimiles of the Book of Kells and other ancient manuscripts. In more recent years, he acted as a specialist advisor to UNESCO, with particular reference to the preservation of the unique architectural heritage of Fez, which was then in danger.

The present volume is a complete collection of Burckhardt's essays, originally published in a variety of German and French journals. They range from modern science in its various forms, through Christianity and Islam, to symbolism and mythology. It is a rich collection. Burckhardt blends an accessible style with a penetrating insight. He interprets the metaphysical, cosmological, and symbolic dimensions of these sacred traditions from the perspective of timeless, spiritual wisdom.


"An exceptionally penetrating study of many different facets of religion, traditional cosmology, and art, the like of which is difficult to find in any other work. " — H. Nasr