The symposium, themed ‘Roads to Paradise: Eschatology and Concepts of the Hereafter in Islam’, was organised by Sebastian Günther of the University of Göttingen and Todd Lawson of the University of Toronto. Hosted by the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, of the Georg-August University in Göttingen, the symposium was held in the magnificent Lecture Hall of the State and University Library of Göttingen, a former church.
Dr Alí-de-Unzaga's paper was entitled 'Spiritual Vision, Resurrection and the Adamic Drama Actualised: The Linguistic and Esoteric Understanding of the Afterlife in the Epistles of the Pure Brethren (Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa')’
and was part of a panel presentation on ‘Shi‘i, Philosophical and Esoteric Contemplations of Paradise and the Eschaton’.
The paper discussed how the Pure Brethren argue for a spiritual and intellectual understanding of the concepts of qiyama (resurrection) and ba'th (awakening), through a discussion on the issue of ‘bodily’ resurrection and an interpretation of passages from the Holy Qur'an: the authors view paradise as ‘the spiritual realm’ and hell as ‘the corporeal realm’.
The paper also discussed how the story of Adam’s creation, where all angels bowed to him except Iblis, as portrayed in the Holy Qur’an, is seen in the Rasa’il as an actual event that takes place inside each human being.
Another IIS scholar, Dr Karen Bauer, chaired a panel on ‘Reincarnation, Afterlife, and the Awaited Mahdi. IIS Senior Research Fellows, Profs Hermann Landolt and Wilferd Madelung gave papers entitled ‘Being-Towards-Resurrection as a Theme of Philosophical Shi'ism’ and ‘Al-Ghazali’s Philosophical Interpretation of Traditional Islamic Eschatology in his Masa’il al-Madnun’, respectively.
For more information, see: University of Göttingen