Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship



history, publication, politics, Islam, conference


There are few figures in the history of Islamic thought whose stature can rival that of Ibn Sina (980–1037), or Avicenna, as he came to be known in the Latin West. Educated at Bukhara, in modern-day Uzbekistan, Avicenna was, by his own admission, a prodigy and recognized as such early on. If there is a certain lack of modesty in his making that claim, there is no disputing that he had the credentials to back it up. He was forced by the turbulent politics of his day to move a number of times, but through it all he never stopped practicing medicine or writing treatises in his native Persian, as well as in Arabic. Avicenna’s output was massive, and his many contributions to fields as diverse as medicine, philosophy, and mysticism were groundbreaking and precedent setting and remain influential (and sometimes controversial) to this day.