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'Prince of Physicians, Avicenna’s Legacy in the Modern Islamic Societies', eendaagse conferentie op 16 januari in Leiden

22 november 2011

Op 16 Januari vindt de eendaagse conferentie 'Prince of Physicians, Avicenna's Legacy in the Modern Islamic Societies'' plaats georganiseerd door Asghar Seyed-Ghorab. Ook nieuw lid Erik Kwakkel geeft een lezing.

Conferentiezaal van de universiteitsbibibliotheek (Witte Singel 27), in samenwerking met de Scaliger Institute van 9.00 tot 17.00 uur.

One of the greatest Muslim polymaths the world of Islam has produced, is Ibn Sina or Avicenna. Avicenna is among the few scholars who contributed to various scientific disciplines: philosophy and logic, music, medicine and psychology, religion and mysticism, literary studies, etc. He was born in Afshane, a village near the city of Bukhara in today's Uzbekistan, around 980, and died 1037 in Esfahan, Iran. As his father had a high position at the Persian court of the Samanids, he had access to libraries and excellent teachers. His professional career began at the age of seventeen, when he became the physician of the Samanid ruler Nuh ebn Mansur (r. 976-997). He travelled extensively in the Persian-speaking lands - from Gorganj to Ray, and Hamadan -serving several rulers, till he settled at Alā al-Dawla's court in Esfahan, where he was received with much honours.

Avicenna's scientific writings range from philosophy, logic, and music, but especially medicine, for which he became primarily known in Europe. In Europe, between the 12th and 16th century, he was respected in the same way as Hippocrates and Galen. He is one of the early Islamic scholars whose works were translated from Arabic into Latin in the 12th century. His works had a lasting influence on European medical studies, and some of his works were taught at European universities till the 18th century.

In the Muslim world, he was known by his honorific title sheykh al-ra'is, or 'Chief master', of all sciences. But his fame in Europe has been limited to his medical writings. As Weisser states, it is hard to assess Avicenna's impact "on the rise of scientific medicine in the West because systematic studies of the various fields are still, on the whole, lacking. A catalogue of the manuscripts of Latin versions of Avicenna's writings on medicine is still a desideratum, and there is no critical bibliography of the printed editions which came out in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries." (Weisser, U., 'Avicenna xiii', Encyclopaedia Iranica) In addition to the field of medicine, Avicenna had a huge impact on natural sciences and philosophy.

This conference aims at filling the undesirable gap in various disciplines. The strong merit of this conference is its multidisciplinary character: scholars from various scientific fields will be invited to contribute a paper on one of the aspects of Avicenna and his reception in the West. Scholars from medieval studies, philosophers, orientalists, history of medicine will be invited.

In addition to this scholarly dimension of the conference, papers will be presented by psychiatrists and psychologists on medical and psychological aspects of the contemporary reception of Avicenna. Several papers will be presented to show how Avicenna's medical treatise, the Canon (Al-Qanun fi’l-Tibb), is still used, and how Avicenna still inspires medical doctors in Iran and abroad.

Please contact Asghar Seyed-Gohrab for further information at:

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