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11. Littérature
11.1. Littérature persane
11.1.1. Littérature persane classique

Fāṭeme Ḥeydarī. Pendār-hā-ye yūnānī dar Maṯnavī. Tehrān, Rowzane, 1384/2005, 394 p.

Franklin Lewis

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1The underlying premise of this book is that though the two systems of Greek Platonic/neo-Platonic thought and Islamic mysticism stem from different conceptual bases and arrive at somewhat divergent conclusions, an undeniable similarity (qarābat-e qaṭ‘ī, 11) exists between Sufi theosophy and the teachings found in Pythagoras, Plato and especially Plotinus. The author briefly reviews the 9th and 20th century theories of the orientalists about the origins of Sufism, and whether or not there are direct lines of transmission to other traditions, but without proposing any new theory or synthesis. Nevertheless, she does insist upon the numerous similarities, particularly as regards the concepts of eros and agape (‘ešq and moḥabbat), beauty, the world of forms, the eternality of spirit, etc. The book’s comparisons are based on a limited number of Greek primary sources – mostly Plato and Plotinus’ Enneads – referenced in Persian translation, rather than the original Greek; these are supplemented by some secondary studies of Greek thought, again translated to Persian (such as Bertrand Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy).

2The book’s major strength lies not so much in the comparison to Greek neo-Platonism, as in the author’s knowledge about Islamic mysticism and the background of Mowlānā Rūmī’s thought, and her ability to succinctly and clearly present it, drawing upon relevant passages from the works of Rūmī (most often the Maṯnavī, but also Fīhe mā fīh, his correspondence, and the Dīvān-e kabīr). All in all, it provides one of the better thematic discussions of Rūmī’s mystical thought, and will be useful to scholars as well as general readers. However, an index would have been helpful.

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Electronic reference

Franklin Lewis, “Fāṭeme Ḥeydarī. Pendār-hā-ye yūnānī dar Maṯnavī. Tehrān, Rowzane, 1384/2005, 394 p.”Abstracta Iranica [Online], Volume 28 | 2007, document 338, Online since 18 September 2007, connection on 21 June 2024. URL:; DOI:

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About the author

Franklin Lewis

University of Chicago

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