Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
In association with the The Adler-Aquinas Institute and Aquinas School of Leadership
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Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Great Books of the East - The Islamic tradition

The 1987 edition of The Great Ideas Today, the annual supplement to Great Books of the Western World, included an article by Wm. Theodore de Bary titled "The Great Books of the East". After discussing the idea and history of classics or great books in the four eastern traditions, Islamic, Indian, Chinese and Japanese, he provided lists of great books in each. He described these as the works he
"would consider essential to a basic reading program--a list that could be defined as what might be appropriate for an introductory, one-year course."
The lists could supplement the Ten Years of Reading suggested in each edition of Great Books of the Western World. Here is his list for the Islamic tradition.
Quran (c. 653)
al-Hariri of Basra (1054-1122)
The Assemblies of al-Hariri (Maqamat al-Hariri)
al-Ghazali (c. 1058-1111)
The Deliverance from Error (Al-Munqidh min al-Dalal)
Jalal ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi (1207-1273)
Attar of Nishapur (c. 1145-c. 1221)
The Conference of the Birds (Mantiq-ut-Tair)
Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406)
Prolegomena (Muqaddimah) to World History (al-Kitabu l-'ibar)
"(Options not selected above but obvious candidates for inclusion in a more ample listing: The Seven Odes [Mu'allaqat] of pre-Islamic poetry; The Thousand Nights and One Nights [Alf Layla wa Layla]; other Arab philosophers like Averroes [1126-1198] and Ibn al-Arabi [1165–1240]; other Sufi poets like Hafez [1325/26–1389/90], etc.)"

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