Studies in Comparative Religion
The First English Journal on Traditional Studies - established 1963
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A.J. Arberry
Arthur John Arberry (1905-1969) was a British orientalist, scholar, translator, editor, and author who wrote, translated, or edited about 90 books on Persian- and Arab-language subjects. He specialized in Sufi studies, but is also known for his excellent translation of the Koran. AJ Arberry attended Cambridge University, where he studied Persian and Arabic with R. A. Nicholson, an experience which he considered the turning point of his life. After graduation, Arberry worked in Cairo as head of the classics department at Cairo University. During the war years, he worked at various posts in London to support the war effort with his linguistic skills. In 1944 Arberry was appointed to the chair of Persian at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University, and then two years later to the chair of Arabic. In 1947 Arberry returned to Cambridge as the Sir Thomas Adams Professor of Arabic. Professor AJ Arberry remained there till his death in 1969. Arberry himself recounted in an autobiographical sketch how he had come to lose his Christian faith, despite his family roots as "strict believers of the Christian evangelical school"; however, paradoxically, his faith was restored following his long in-depth studies of the mystics of Islam. In this regard, A.J. Arberry commented, "I am an academic scholar, but I have come to realize that pure reason is unqualified to penetrate the mystery of God’s light, and may, indeed, if too fondly indulged, interpose an impenetrable veil between the heart and God. The world in which we live is certainly full of shadows. I have had my full share of personal sorrows and anxieties, and I am as acutely aware as the next man of the appalling dangers threatening mankind. But because I have experienced the Divine Light, I need not wish for any higher grace."


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Type TitleAuthor/
Reviewed Author*
Author 2/
Book Review
In this review RWJ Austen discusses the topic of this book as well as the background of the author, Ain al-Qudat al-Hamadhani, who was a Sufi and Shafi’ite lawyer. This man was accused of being a heretic and had to defend himself by writing an explanation that his statements were misinterpreted and that the accusers were not properly informed regarding the topic. Austen concludes in his review that the book is well translated and very helpful for the public.
A Sufi MartyrArberry, A.J. *Austin, Ralph Vol. 3, No. 4. ( Autumn, 1969) Islam
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