Winners of the 35th Iran National Award for Book of the Year and the 25th Iran World Award for Book of the Year received their prizes from President Hassan Rouhani and Culture Minister Seyyed Abbas Salehi, in a ceremony at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on Wednesday.
‘Volumes 39-41 of Epistles of the Brethren of Purity’ co-authored by Carmela Baffioni from the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London and Ismail K. Poonawala from the University of California.
The ‘Ikhwan al-Safa’ (Brethren of Purity), the anonymous adepts of a tenth-century esoteric fraternity based in Basra and Baghdad, hold an eminent position in the history of science and philosophy in Islam due to the wide reception and assimilation of their monumental encyclopedia, the Rasa ‘il Ikhwan al-Safa’ (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity). This compendium contains 52 epistles offering synoptic accounts of the classical sciences and philosophies of the age; divided into four classificatory parts, it treats themes in mathematics, logic, natural philosophy, psychology, metaphysics, and theology, in addition to didactic fables.
Epistles 39 and 40 return to the Aristotelian philosophy of certain earlier Epistles. Epistle 39 explains movement and rest, the kinds of physical movement, and the species of moved beings, before introducing the divine Mover and the idea that when He ceases to move the world, it will end. The highly composite Epistle 40 addresses themes beyond the various types of causes and effects, including ‘divine gifts’, God’s origination and organization of the world, emanation, and the frequently invoked analogy of numbers. The main section of Epistle 41: ‘On the Definitions and Descriptions’ defines variously categorized phenomena and follows a diverse range of chapters detailing colors, numbers, ratios, and geometry.