Jābir Ibn Ḥayyān

  • S. Nomanul Haq
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_9260

Abū Mūsā /Abū ˓Abd Allāh Jābir ibn Ḥayyān, for a long time the reigning alchemical authority both in Islam and the Latin West, is at the same time among the most important and most enigmatic figures of the history of Islamic science. Doubts already existed in the medieval Arabic tradition as to whether the large corpus of alchemical, philosophical, and religious texts attributed to Jābir were authentic. Scholars of modern times have shared these doubts, and some have gone as far as to conclude that Jābir may never have existed at all, and that contrary to the received view, the Jābirian corpus is not the work of a disciple of the sixth Shī˓ī Imām Ja˓far al‐ṣādiq (d. 765); rather, it was produced piecemeal by several generations of Ismā˓īlī authors, the oldest of whom lived no earlier than the second half of the ninth century.

This essentially is the widely accepted position of Paul Kraus who still remains the greatest Jābirian scholar of modern times. Some historians have disagreed...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • S. Nomanul Haq

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