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Between Religion and Alchemy. The scholar Ibn Arfa‘ Ra’s (d. 1197) as a model for an integrative Arabic literary and cultural history(Zwischen Religion und Alchemie. Der Gelehrte Ibn Arfaʻ Raʼs (gest. 1197) als Modell für eine integrative arabische Litera

Posted 5/3/2016

Arabo-Islamic alchemy is usually considered as an intellectually marginal field. It has been argued that alchemy did not enjoy much respect and that its practitioners were living at the edge of society and should be considered as some sort of outlaws.

This project takes a different standpoint by focusing on the Moroccan scholar Ibn Arfaʻ Raʼs (d. 1197). As an expert in Islamic law, hadith and Quranic recitation and as an alchemist, he seems to have been a respected figure in the Almohad period. The project will reconstruct his life, his social and intellectual networks and study his influence and his reception. Furthermore, it will make his magnus opus, entitled Shudhūr al-dhahab(“The splinters of gold”) available to research through an edition and commentated translation.


Regula Forster, University Zurich