Archive for the ‘Anunnaki’ Category

Watchers from Eden?

Posted: March 19, 2017 by noxprognatus in Anunnaki, Illuminism, Spirituality

Ok so you are all familiar with the Anunnaki. Some Authors have portrayed these beings as being Aliens from outer space. The truth could not be further from that, but rest assured the truth is no less intriguing. How about the Anunnaki , instead of being Aliens from outer space , were Angels or Watchers as they became known as from the book of Enoch. Yes these Angels , or actually Gods before they were relegated to Angels by the Monotheism of contemporary religion. Yes, the Anunnaki are the pagan Gods of old , of renown. Have a look at the researcher Andrew Collins and his thoughts both on the Anunnaki and the site known as Gobekli Tepe. It seems Angels were on Earth in those days…..

It is time to rethink Monotheism and embark on the religion of the Angels, you may call it Angelism…



Nabu is a Babylonian god, the son of Marduk and his consort Sarpanitum, and grand-son of Ea. The etymology of his name is disputed: could be derived from nb´ or to call, announce, meaning something like “He who has Called”, or it could be from ne/abu, for shining, brilliant, or from a quite different unknown old-Syrian root. His power over human existence is immense, because He engraves the destiny of each person, as the Gods have decided, on the tablets of sacred record. Thus, He has the power to increase or diminish, at will, the length of human life. His symbols are the clay/stone tablet with the writing stylo, and his sacred animal is t he winged dragon who is initially his father´s. He wears a horned cap, and stands with hands clasped, in the ancient gesture of priest/esshood

Originally, Nabu was a West Semitic deity, mentioned among the Ebla gods. By the beginning of the second millennium BCE, the Amorites had introduced him to Mesopotamia, probably at the same time as Marduk. The two gods continued to have close connections throughout their history (well into the Persian period and beyond). While Marduk became Babylon´s main deity, Nabu resided in nearby Borsippa in his temple E-zida. He was first called the “scribe and minister of Marduk”, later assimilated as Marduk´s beloved son from Sarpanitum, Marduk´s consort. Nabu is accorded the office of patron of the scribes, taking over from the Sumerian goddess Nisaba. His consort is Tashmetum, whose name derives from the Akkadian “shamu”, meaning something like “the granting of requests”, thus being a merciful mediator, protector against evil and goddess of love and potency. Astronomically, Tashmetum is identified with the sign of Capricorn. It is important nevertheless to point out that in Sumer the goddess of writing was Nisaba/Nidaba, not Nabu. Thus, He represents a futher stage of perception of knowledge

A fair number of beautifully written tablets were deposited in Nabu´s sanctuary as ex-voto offerings, but so far no literary text extolling the deeds and functions of His have been found. Nabu was also worshipped in Assyria: Shalmanesser I built the first Nabu sanctuary in Ashur ca. 1300 BCE, and others followed in Nineveh, Kalah and Khorsabad. Following the expansion of the Assyrian empire from Sargon II onwards, he became one of the great gods of the realm and was frequently invoked in royal inscriptions. His popularity among the Assyrians is also well documented by numerous private names, letters and prayers. Being the patron of the scribal arts, he also represented the cultural traditions of the South, which were greatly admired. After the downfall of Assyria, Nabu rose to a high rank in the Neo-Babylonian pantheon, first as Marduk´s son and then in his own right. His cult in fact endured well into the Parthian period. With his elevation to the ranks of the great gods, Nabu became a cosmic deity, entrusted with the Tablets of Destiny, ‘pronouncing the Fate” of humankind. The texts equate him with Ninurta. He was also sometimes mentioned as the god of water and of the fertility of fields, maybe through his descent from Ea/Enki, with whom he also shares the epithet of god of wisdom.


During the Akitu, the New Year´s Festival in Babylon, Nabu is the royal prince of the gods who comes to liberate his father Marduk, ritually held in the Underworld, and as such behave as the Avenger of his Father and Hope for Balance Restored in the Land. Nabu´s role in Assyria is taken up by Ninurta. Thus, on the sixth day of festivities, Nabu comes from Borsippa to Babylon together with foreign high dignataries and other gods, taking up residence in his chapel in Marduk´s temple. The following day, accompanied by these gods, Nabu liberates Marduk from the ritual representation of the Underworld on earth, and in the eighth day in triumph father and son return to Babylon to proceed to the First Determination of Destiny. For those interested in comparisons between Egypt and Babylon, here we have an interesting parallel. In Mesopotamia, Marduk or Ashur are not dying or dead gods who are not restored to power and as such succeeded by the royal prince. This is the case of Egypt, where Osiris really dies and Horus takes up his place. In Babylon and Assyria, Marduk and Ashur face the Underworld initiation to return in triumph to the Heights Above. The bond both gods have with their divine sons is a bond forged in life, loyalty and love and joy. Compare then with Egypt: the saga of betrayal and revenge, whereas in Mesopotamia we have a life-affirming ritual that speaks of the depth of family ties to restore harmony and celebrate union in all levels and spheres.

There is a wonderful reference on the Sacred Marriage of Nabu and Tashmetum, which reads as follows:

‘ Tomorrow, that is, on the fouth day of Iyyar, toward evening, Nabu and Tashmetum will enter the bedchamber. On the 5th day, they shall be given of the king´s food to eat, the temple overseer being present. A lion´s head and a torch shall be brought to the palace. From the 5th to the 10th both gods will stay in the bed chamber, the temple overseer staying with them. On the 11th day Nabu will go out, he will exercise his feet; he will go to the hunting park; he will kill wild oxen, then he will go up and dwell in his habitation. He will bless the king… I have written to the king my lord in order that the king my lord know about it” (Zimmern, “Zum babylonischen Neujarfest” pg. 152


Finally, let´s examine what The Phoenician Letters say about Nabu. The letter attributed to Nabu is the second, after the considerations of the first, which involved Adad and the knowledge and knowing of Nature and the physical world. The second letter calls Nabu the god of speech, the god of letters and the god of science, and then asks:

” and why is it that the god of speech can speak to earth? Can we speak to earth? But the earth speaks. Can we speak to the water? But the water speaks. And the fire. They speak and and we recognise. Why the god of writings? In the sky, signs; in the fire, visions; in the water, shapes; and on the earth, letters. Know the signs and your eyes will speak for them. The Black men, the Yellow men, the Brown men speak. We hear, listen, and do not understand. In the signs they write we may understand their speech. But the eyes must recognise (Lishtar´s emphasis).

Why the god of science? The laws of the beasts, the law of the arts, the laws of growth and decay, seed time and harvest, sickness and health. The laws of water, earth, fire and air. When we recognise them, them we know how we may act, in the smallest way for the best result. ” page 15

Knowledge thus under the aegis of Nabu includes all sorts of symbolic and practical understanding one can get by being and living in the world, by observing and learning, so that the eyes can recognise, and the mind, heart, body and soul never forget. This way Nabu is the inspired voice, and “from Him all that can be communicated comes, the laws and the signs and the symbols – all are His, and the eyes and ears, the mouth and the nose and the fingers, the common senses”, as well as all the numbers: “Nabu is the architect, He also measures and weighs, He plans the foundations and measures the heights”.

Summing up, it is clear that in the bright figure of Nabu, the Heavenly Crown Prince of Babylon, there was a statement of faith in the continuity of life based on all sorts of knowledge and knowing to be applied in all facets of human endeavour. Another mighty healing that should be brought to light because it is grounded in the voices of our soul ancestors. Voices which never really ceased to speak up to the hearts, minds, bodies and souls those who dared to listen to the Call, and inflamed the works of Kramer, Bottéro, Oppenheim, Jacobsen, Adapa, Esharra, Shem, Lilinah…


Posted: July 30, 2014 by phaedrap1 in Anunnaki

The ancient Babylonian deity Marduk was associated with the planet Mars and was the origin of the legends and lore of that planet as well as many later gods and heroes. Marduk originated as the apotheosis of the biblical Nimrod. The book of Genesis lists Nimrod as a descendant of Ham, the third son of Noah. After the flood when men began to multiply once again and to establish settlements, the majority of Noah’s descendants evidently settled together in the valley of Mesopotamia, though a few spread out into Palestine and north-west Africa. After about a thousand years (exact date unspecified in the Bible), Nimrod was born in what is now Ethiopia.

According to tradition, Nimrod set out to establish himself an empire and began by conquering the cities which had become established in Mesopotamia. Among these were Babel, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh in Sumeria, and in Assyria the cities of Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen. Besides conquering these seven cities he also founded Ninevah. The Bible is specific in stating that he was the first man after the flood to become an emperor. He seems to have been impelled and empowered by super-human force and his onslaught was irresistible. Genesis 10 describes Nimrod as a “mighty hunter before the LORD.” The term is not complimentary, but implies ruthlessness and a lust for power.

After establishing his kingdom in the Tigris/Euphrates region Nimrod consolidated his power by establishing a state religion. He constructed a religion that included deification and worship of the emperor (himself), worship of Satan and his demons, and star-worship (corrupted from a pure antediluvian astronomy). A key unifying factor in his religion was to be an astronomical/astrological observatory built upon the pinnacle of a pyramid, or tower, at Babel. It has been suggested that Nimrod spent some time in Egypt before moving up to Mesopotamia and that while in Egypt he studied the Egyptian mystery religion perpetuated there from before the flood by the wife of Ham, whom tradition takes to be a descendant of Cain.

The building of this pyramid (or ziggurat) was interrupted by God himself in order to prevent Nimrod from extending his sway over all of the inhabited earth, according to Genesis. God halted the work by confusing their language so they could no longer cooperate easily with one another, nor indeed easily inhabit the same region together. As a consequence the human race was dispersed, and as men scattered they carried with them remnants of primeval revelation from God, and Satan/hero worship which Nimrod had invented as well. This system of muddled half-truths is known today to Bible scholars as the “Babylonian Mystery Religion.” From a biblical point of view this religious system is described as the well-spring for all subsequent false religion and endless mythological systems, (For example see Isaiah 47 and revelation Chapters 17 and 18).

After their deaths, Nimrod and his wife Semiramis (the ancient “queen of heaven”) were confirmed by their priests as gods and given homage as Marduk and Astarte. The name Marduk was not revealed to the masses but his attributes were set forth under pseudonyms of various gods constructed for the public interest. Some of his alter-egos include:

ENKI The god of wisdom, incantations, and the deep waters of the oceans. This god was also called APSU, from which comes the name Poseidon.

ASTALLUHI The son of ENKI/APSU was the god of healing and exorcism. The temple of Marduk at Babylon was called the Esagila after him. This name is the original of the Greek Aesculapius. Astalluhi was also the god of wisdom like his father but in addition the god of instruction and the tutor of many of the other gods and heroes of the Babylonian pantheon. This aspect of his personality became associated with the Greek centaur Chiron who fulfilled a similar function. The Titan Atlas also derives his name and personality from this god.

BEL/BAAL This was the primary name by which other nations (including Israel) were introduced to the worship of Marduk. Baal means “lord” or “master”. Under this name with many prefixes and suffixes he was worshiped by the Canaanites, Phoenicians, Syrians and to some extent by the Egyptians. Later, the Greeks associated him with Hercules under the name Melkarth which is a transliteration of Marduk. The name Baal sometimes occurs in connection with a locality such as “Baal-Peor” or “Baal-Hermon”. More frequently it occurs with compound attributes such as “Baal-zebub”, “lord of the flies”, still today one of the epithets of Satan. “Baal-zephon” later to be the god Triton means “lord of the black north, or the northern void”, and “Meri-Baal” translates as “lord of the rebellion”.

NABUL/NEBO The prophet. This god was the son of Marduk associated with prophecy received by singing, chanting and muttering (in “other tongues”); as well as oracles. He was the original of both Apollo (Nabul) and Hermes as the Greeks knew them. The names Nabul and Bel were the official names of Nimrod/Marduk in later periods and were popular in later periods among the ruling classes of Babylon as name elements as in NEBUchadnezzar and BELshazzar.

As a note on the Babylonian mystery religion, the original cult of the mother and child, Semiramis and Tammuz, became later Isis and Osiris, Venus and Adonis, the madonna and child in various cultures down to this day.

There is one common element to Nimrod/Marduk in all his manifestations and that is the symbol of the snake/serpent/dragon. Nimrod took the dragon as his personal emblem, so that from him spring various dragon myths and their special association with apocalyptic events. Strikingly the only favorable accounts of dragons are found among the Hamitic peoples of the world (like Nimrod) including the Ethiopians, Hittites, Chinese, Japanese and American Indian.

The thread of serpent lore is evident in all of Marduk’s guises regardless of nation, pantheon, or role. Poseidon was accompanied by creatures who were half man and half snake as well as by the sea serpent Leviathan (mentioned in Job). Aesculapeus/Chiron/Hermes were all associated with the cadduceus of entwined serpents. The story of Apollo and the python is well known as that of Hercules/Melkarth and the Hydra. The god Triton was half snake. That the worship of Nimrod and Semiramis is the origin of all the pagan systems on earth is well documented by Alexander Hislop in his book, The Two Babylons which contains many sound facts in spite of the author’s anti-Roman-Catholic sentiments which appear to some readers as too strong.

The Bible reveals that the ultimate source of all this evil is not to be sought in Nimrod the man (the first of the post-flood antichrists), but rather in the evil character of the one who possessed him, namely Satan. In many passages throughout the Bible the following associations are made about Satan: the serpent in Eden, Leviathan the sea monster, the dragon, “that ancient serpent”, “the god of this age”, the king of Babylon, the king of Tyre (Phoenicia), the king of Egypt (pharaoh), the father of lies, the prince of the power of the air, etc. In Isaiah 14 he is spoken of as the instigator of war in the heavens (space) by attempting to “ascend to the sides of the north” in order to seat himself upon the throne of God and thus to rule the universe. Thus he is the “lord of (the) rebellion” and “lord of the black void of the north”.

The primeval astronomy, of which Babylonian astrology, (still extant today) was a corruption, was based on the realization that the entire universe was created and had worth only in relation to the earth. Thus the ancients saw it as no accident that the stars and planets were set in a certain order by God at creation (see the classic books by Seiss and Bullinger on this subject). The antediluvian patriarchs developed a system of constellations to serve as perpetual reminders of man’s fall and the promise of a coming redeemer as well as a record of the angelic conflict down through the ages.

At the most prominent place in the heavens the patriarchs placed the constellation Draco, the dragon, which lies coiled about that point of the sky they called “absolute north”. This is the center of the circle which the earth’s north pole describes in the sky every 25,858 years. About 4000 BC the star Iota Draconis was the nearest visible star to the north pole, while about 3000 BC the north pole centered exactly on the star Alpha Draconis (also called Thuban), the brightest star in the constellation. This portion of the Dragon is depicted as attempting to encoil the constellation Ursa Minor which was originally called the “little flock”, or “little sheepfold”, namely the faithful remnant of Israel or the people of God. We find this exact picture written in the prose of the book of Revelation, Chapter 12, describing events yet to be enacted in human history! That is, the most devastating battle of all is yet to be fought on earth and in space (“the heavens”). The pole star today is of course Polaris in Ursa Minor and will next enter the constellation Cepheus, which constellation pictures God as the triumphant king over all the earth.

It is also notable that in primeval astronomy the dragon’s head is shown as being crushed under the foot of a hero who at the same time is using a club to beat to death the Hydra who has stolen the fruit of immortality. Head to head with this hero, set in mirror-image across from him is a second hero grappling with a huge snake whose gaping jaws are straining to grasp “Corona Borealis”, the Crown of the North. This second hero is also crushing a vile enemy underfoot, this time it is the scorpion, yet even as he does this another scorpion bites his heel. This early configuration of the constellations around the north pole was derived from Biblical ideas about the events recorded much later in Genesis.

The Babylonian Creation Epic describes Marduk leading a rebellion of the gods against Tiamat who has planned destruction for them. The Hebrew cognate for Tiamat is TEHOM used in the Bible only to describe “the deep” upon which God moved at the beginning of creation. Later a part of the “tehom” was imprisoned within the bowels of the earth (in Jewish rabbinical tradition) and opened to release the “waters from below” at the same time the vapor canopy collapsed during the flood in order to destroy the civilization of Noah’s day. This destruction is said to have come about because on excessive influence by Satan in the affairs of men, such as intermarriage with mortals producing giants on the earth with various genetic defects of a serious nature. In the Babylonian version Marduk wins and is eulogized by the other gods in a list of fifty names to which can be traced most of the gods of antiquity. This epic was read aloud every New Year’s day in Babylon in front of the statue of Marduk.

New Year’s Day was the most important day of the Babylonian calendar and during the ceremonies the statues of Marduk and his son Nabul were carried to a special shrine outside of the city where Marduk would prophecy and Nabul would interpret his words (the beast and false prophet imagery of Revelation l3). The statue of Marduk ands its attendant regalia were captured by conquerors several times, and their return was always connected with re-incarnation and the resumption of his rule over the earth. Marduk was the great god of war and only once in all his battles was he wounded when his helmet slipped from his head. As a result he received a fatal blow but being a god reincarnated himself. It was in his warrior aspect that he was related to Mars, the god of war.

The Bible speaks of Satan temporarily regaining rule over the earth at the end of our present age through “the beast and the false prophet”. The first is a civil military leader in Europe or the west, the latter is a false messiah (in Israel in all probability), the latter is thought to be a religious as opposed to secular leader. These two will “make war on the people of God” and the false prophet will proclaim himself to be God in the Third Temple in Jerusalem (see Matthew 24) at which point earth will enter a period known as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” spoken of by the Hebrew prophets or the 3-1/2 year “great tribulation” known to Christians. At the conclusion of this catastrophic time when most life on earth is destroyed, Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives to usher in a millennial kingdom during which time Satan will be “bound” and removed from influence on earth.

Is it then a coincidence that our computer conference has now come to believe that we may have found the image of an angelic malevolent being on Mars, a planet which appears to be scarred by an ancient war in the heavens? Is it a coincidence that we should find out such things as these as our own planet enters times of momentous problems beyond the capabilities of mere men to solve?

The Syllable M*R

It is remarkable that there is a syllable with the consonant value “M*R” which is found everywhere in connection with the planet Mars, the god of Mars, and its associated emblem, the dragon. The source of all these words is to be found in the Semitic roof “marah” (M*R) which in Hebrew means bitterness as well as disobedience. From this roof is derived “marad” (M*R*D), or rebellion, which is the original both of Nimrod (the Babylonian Nin-Mir-Rud), or (N*M*R*D), as well as Marduk/Merodach (M*R*D*K). The Bible tells us that Nimrod was the founder of Ninevah, and Nineveh’s own half-legendary history ascribes that honor to one Ninur or Nimur (N*M*R).

Marduk was the original in both name and character of the gods Mercury (M*R*K*R) and Mars (M*R*TS) from which of course we derive the current names of these planets. It is notable that Mercury, like Mars, is also “battle-scarred”.

Under the name Apsu (P*S), Marduk became Poseidon (P*S*D*N) who founded Atlantis which was named after his son Atlas (T*L*S), the Babylonian Astalluhi (S*T*L*). Atlantis was overthrown in the throes of a great war bringing destruction and dissolution upon the land. The only remnant of Atlantis was the island Hesperus (S*P*R) upon which lived a dragon in possession of the fruit of the tree of life (immortality). This fruit was stolen by the god Hercules/Melkarth (M*L*K*R*T), a pseudonym of Marduk (M*R*D*K). The people of Atlantis, called Merodes (M*R*D) were descendants of Merou (M*R) or Merod (M*R*D).

The Nubians tell of an island called Meru upon which were built pyramids by a race of red men. This legend came to the Hindus as the FIVE-SIDED mountain they call Meru (M*R) ruled over by Indra, (N-M*D*R) who was the mouthpiece of god and himself a god. He conquered seven cities and ruled over the earth in Hindu mythology. Meru was a five-sided mountain from which the heavens were suspended with the pole star as its apex. This is the reason Asian temples are built in the shape of a mountain having a flame at the summit. Here also we see Atlas who became a mountain and bore the heavens on his shoulders, relieved only once by Hercules/Melkarth.

Tibetan legend tells of the fall of the “land of seven cities” by earthquake and eruption at the fall of the star Bel (Mars). The people perished it is said because they ignored the warnings of their priest, Mu (M).

Another lost-continent myth is that of Mu or Lemuria (L*M*R) which was publicized by James Churchward in the 19th century. According to him, Mu was situated in the Pacific Ocean and bore a population of 64 million people of assorted colors and tribes. Mu sank when gas-filled caverns in the earth beneath collapsed. The survivors founded colonies in Micronesia, China and Egypt but the only place they flourished was in Central America where they are said to have produced great Indian cultures. This may seem to be an insubstantial myth until one considers a modern day popular religion, Mormonism. Mormonism is founded upon the supposed revelation to Joseph Smith of a set of golden tablets by the angel Moroni (M*R*N) who had once been a human prophet to the great cities of central America said to have been founded by refugees from the Tower of Babel (Bab-El means “the gate of god” and also “confusion”). Moroni’s warnings went unheeded and so they perished, but his prophecies were supposed to have been written down and given to Smith. This Moroni, from whom the Mormons are named, identifies himself with Quetzalcoatl/Kulkulkan, the winged-serpent and hero-god who brought civilization to the Aztecs and returned home on a raft of snakes over the sea.

Written by Bryce Self

Edited 11/4/85 by Lambert Dolphin

Inanna’s Descent: A Sumerian Tale of Injustice

Posted: July 30, 2014 by phaedrap1 in Anunnaki

The Sumerian poem, The Descent of Inanna (c. 1900-1600 BCE) chronicles the great goddess and Queen of Heaven Inanna’s journey from heaven, to earth, to the underworld to visit her recently widowed sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the Dead. The poem begins famously with the lines,

From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below
From the Great Above the goddess opened her ear to the Great Below
From the Great Above Inanna opened her ear to the Great Below
(Wolkstein and Kramer, 52)

and then proceeds to chronicle Inanna’s descent to the underworld accompanied, part of the way, by her faithful servant and advisor Ninshubur.

Inanna is dressed in her finest attire and wears the crown of heaven on her head, beads around her neck, her breastplate, golden ring and carries her scepter, the rod of power. Just before she enters the underworld, she gives Ninsubur instructions on how to come to her aid should she fail to return when expected. Upon her arrival at the gates of the underworld Inanna knocks loudly and demands entrance. Neti, the chief gatekeeper, asks who she is and, when Inanna answers, “I am Inanna, Queen of Heaven”, Neti asks why she would wish entrance to the land “from which no traveler returns.” Inanna answers,

Because of my older sister, Ereshkigal
Her husband, Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven, has died
I have come to witness the funeral rites
(Wolkstein and Kramer, 55).

Neti then tells her to stay where she is while he goes to speak with Ereshkigal.

When Neti delivers the news to Ereshkigal that Inanna is at the gates, the Queen of the Dead responds in a way which seems strange: “She slapped her thigh and bit her lip. She took the matter into her heart and dwelt on it” (Wolkstein and Kramer, 56). She does not seem pleased to hear the news that her sister is at the gate and her displeasure is further evidenced when she tells Neti to bolt the seven gates of the underworld against Inanna and then let her in, one gate at a time, requiring her to remove one of her royal garments at each gate. Neti does as he is commanded and, gate by gate, Inanna is stripped of her crown, beads, ring, sceptre, even her clothing and, when she asks the meaning of this indignity is told by Neti,

Quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect
They may not be questioned
(Wolkstein and Kramer 58-60).

Inanna enters the throne room of Ereshkigal “naked and bowed low” and begins walking toward the throne when:

The annuna, the judges of the underworld, surrounded her
They passed judgment against her.
Then Ereshkigal fastened on Inanna the eye of death
She spoke against her the word of wrath
She uttered against her the cry of guilt
She struck her.
Inanna was turned into a corpse
A piece of rotting meat
And was hung from a hook on the wall
(Wolkstein and Kramer, 60)

After three days and three nights waiting for her mistress, Ninshubur follows the commands Inanna gave her, goes to Inanna’s father-god Enki for help, and receives two `galla’, two androgynous demons, to aid her in returning Inanna to the earth. The galla enter the underworld “like flies” and, following Enki’s specific instructions, attach themselves closely to Ereshkigal. The Queen of the Dead is seen in distress:

No linen was spread over her body
Her breasts were uncovered
Her hair swirled around her head like leeks
(Wolkstein and Kramer, 63-66).

The poem continues to describe the queen experiencing the pains of labor. The galla sympathize with the queen’s pains and she, in gratitude, offers them whatever gift they ask for. As ordered by Enki, the galla respond, “We wish only the corpse that hangs from the hook on the wall” (Wolkstein and Kramer, 67) and Ereshkigal gives it to them. The galla revive Inanna with the food and water of life and she rises from the dead.

As in the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, however, one who has sojourned in the underworld cannot just leave it so easily. Someone must be found to take Inanna’s place and so the galla demons of the underworld accompany her up to the earth’s surface to claim her substitute. The demons try to take Ninshubur first, then Inanna’s sons Shara and Lulal and even Inanna’s beautician Cara but, in all these instances, Inanna prevents them because Ninshubur, Shara, Lulal and Cara are all dressed in sackcloth and are in mourning for her apparent death. When Inanna comes upon her husband Dumuzi, however, and finds him “dressed in his shining…garments…on his magnificent throne” she becomes enraged that he, unlike the others, is not mourning her and orders the demons to seize him. Dumuzi appeals to the sun god Utu for help and is transformed into a snake in order to escape but, eventually, is caught and carried away to the underworld. Dumuzi’s sister, Geshtinanna, volunteers herself to go in his place and so it is decreed that Dumuzi will spend half the year in the underworld and Geshtinanna the other half. In this way, as, again with the myth of Demeter and Persephone, the seasons were explained. Yet why so elaborate a myth simply to explain the seasons? The Greek tale of Persephone (though, also, about much more than seasonal change) accomplishes the same end more succinctly.

Modern readers of this poem have available to them a wealth of interpretation of the piece through writers applying a psychological, specifically Jungian, view to the poem as an archetypal myth of the journey each individual must take to reach wholeness. Inanna in this piece, so the interpretation goes, is not a `whole person’ until she appears vulnerable before her `darker half’, dies, and returns to life. At the poem’s end, this interpretation asserts, Inanna, through her descent into darkness, the shedding of the trappings of her former self, confrontation with her `shadow’, death of who she was, and final re-birth, is now a complete individual, wholly aware. Writers who have popularized this interpretation are so numerous that naming them all would be pointless; any reader acquainted with The Descent of Inanna will have already, or will eventually, come across one version or another of this interpretation.

The archetypes of Carl Jung have proven enlightening tools in understanding and explicating ancient myths for a modern audience (most notably through the works of Joseph Campbell). Such an interpretation of a text, however, must always keep in mind the text itself; the words on the page, the arrangement of those words, characterization and dialogue. However interesting, and even enlightening, the modern `Jungian’ view of The Descent of Inanna may be, it is not supported by the text. Among other glaring omissions, this modern interpretation of the ancient story in no way accounts for the last lines of the poem which praise, not Inanna, but Ereshkigal:

Holy Ereshkigal! Great is your renown!
Holy Ereshkigal! I sing your praises!
(Wolkstein and Kramer, 89)

The text of the poem clearly states Inanna’s intention of journeying to the underworld to attend the funeral of her brother-in-law, specifies her sister’s displeasure at her visit, further specifies how the Annuna of the dead pass judgment against Inanna and how, after that, she is killed by Ereshkigal through the “word of wrath” and the “cry of guilt’ and a blow, after which Inanna is hung on a hook, “a rotting piece of meat.” The story continues to detail how Inanna is saved by her father-god Enki and how, finally, two people, Dumuzi and Geshtinanna, who had nothing to do with Inanna’s decision to visit the underworld, end up paying the price for it.

A clearer understanding of The Descent of Inanna is available to any reader acquainted with the Sumerian work The Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2700-1400 BCE), which, whether extant in written form at the time of the composition of The Descent of Inanna, was certainly known by oral transmission. In the Epic, after the great heroes Gilgamesh and Enkidu have killed the demon Humbaba in the Cedar Forest, their fame is great and Gilgamesh, after washing and dressing himself in royal robes, attracts the attention of Inanna (who, in the Epic, is known by her Akkadian/Babylonian name, Ishtar). Inanna ties to seduce Gilgamesh to become her lover, promising him all good things but Gilgamesh spurns her, citing the many lovers she has had in the past whom she discarded when they no longer interested her and who all met with bad ends. He says to her: “Your lovers have found you like a brazier which smoulders in the cold, a backdoor which keeps out neither squall of wind nor storm, a castle which crushes the garrison, pitch that blackens the bearer, a water skin that chafes the carrier.” Then, after detailing the misery her lovers have endured at her hands, Gilgamesh concludes saying, “And if you and I should be lovers, should not I be served in the same fashion as all these others whom you loved once?”(Sandars, 85-87).

Inanna, upon hearing this, falls into a “bitter rage” and appeals to her father-god Anu (as she has Ninshubur do to Enki in the Descent) in tears over the insults Gilgamesh has heaped upon her. Anu’s answer is that she has only gotten what she deserved through her “abominable behavior” (Sandars, 87). Inanna, in no way pacified by this response, demands that Anu give her Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven, that she might avenge herself on Gilgamesh and threatens that, if she does not get her way, she will break the doors of the underworld open, “there will be confusion of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of the dead will outnumber the living” (Sandars, 87). Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven is the husband of Inanna’s sister Ereshkigal.

When Anu consents and gives her the Bull of Heaven she brings Gugalanna down to the city of Uruk to destroy Gilgamesh. The bull snorts and the earth opens and “a hundred young men fell down to death. With his second snort cracks opened and two hundred fell down to death” (Sandars, 88).

Gilgamesh and Enkidu then join in battle with the Bull of Heaven and kill him. Inanna, enraged further, appears on the walls of Uruk and curses the heroes, prompting Enkidu to tear off the bull’s right thigh and hurl it at her. This presumption, on the part of a mortal, cannot be endured by the gods and they decree that Enkidu must die lest more mortals come to think more highly of themselves than they should. Enkidu is stricken with illness and suffers for days before finally dying (Sandars, 88-95).

If a reader is acquainted with the story of Gilgamesh then The Descent of Inanna is more easily understood within the context and culture of ancient Mesopotamia. Inanna, showing no more regard for her sister’s feelings than she did for the three hundred innocent young men she killed with the Bull of Heaven, decides she will attend the funeral of the brother-in-law whose death she is, herself, responsible for. Once a reader understands that Inanna caused the death of Ereshkigal’s husband Gugalanna, the Queen of the Dead’s response upon hearing of her arrival is completely understandable, as is Inanna’s subsequent judgment by the Annuna and death at Ereshkigal’s hands. The “word of wrath” and the “cry of guilt” make perfect sense in this context as Ereshkigal is confronting the one responsible for her present grief; a grief made even greater by her pregnancy and the imminent birth of a child who will have no father.

As in The Epic of Gilgamesh, however, Inanna is able to manipulate the father-god figure into getting her what she wants; in that case the Bull of Heaven and, in this, a return to life. Inanna is ressurected and, in the same way that Enkidu and the three hundred young men paid the price for Inanna’s indignation, Dumuzi and Geshtinnana pay for her insensitivity and rashness in deciding to attend Gugalanna’s funeral.

The moral which an ancient hearer of The Descent of Inanna might take away from it, far from a `symbolic journey of the self to wholeness’ is the lesson that there are consequences for one’s actions and, further, might also be consoled in that if bad things happened to gods and heroes due to the unpredictability of life, why should a mortal bemoan unhappy fate?

In ancient Mesopotamia, humans regarded themselves as co-workers with the gods and the gods lived among them; Inanna lived in the city of Uruk, Enki at Eridu, and so on. The gods were not far away beings but were intimately tied to the daily lives of the people of the land and what affected a god would, invariably, affect those people directly. Though one of the gods could have only the best intentions, another god could thwart whatever good was hoped for. Ereshkigal is praised at the end of the poem because she sought justice in killing Inanna. The fact that this justice was denied, even to a goddess of such power as the Queen of the Dead, would have ameliorated the sting of the daily injustices and disappointments suffered by the people hearing the tale.

The Descent of Inanna, then, about one of the gods behaving badly and other gods and mortals having to suffer for that behavior, would have given to an ancient listener the same basic understanding anyone today would take from an account of a tragic accident caused by someone’s negligence or poor judgment: that, sometimes, life is just not fair.

Submitted by Joshua J. Mark, published on 23 February 2011 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms.

D. Brendan Nagle. The Ancient World: A Social and Cultural History, 7th Edition. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 2010.
Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer. Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth. Harper & Row, New York, 1983.
Gwendolyn Leick. Mesopotamia: The Invention of the City. Penguin Books, London, 2002.
N.K. Sandars. The Epic of Gilgamesh. Penguin Classics, Great Britain, 1973.

Hymn to King Shulgi

Posted: July 29, 2014 by noxprognatus in Texts


From: History begins at Sumer, by Samuel Noah Kramer, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1981.

Shulgi, the son of Ur-Nammu, the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur, is one of the more renowned kings of Sumer, whose reign endured for almost half a century. His achievements were many in all fields: as a military commander, temple builder, mecenas of the arts and athlete. It is my belief that Shulgi is the proto-Solomon, a wise and passionate priest-king and beloved by the gods and by his people.

I, the king, a warrior from the (mother´s) womb am I,
I, Shulgi, a mighty man from the day I was born,
A fierce-eyed lion born of a dragon am I,
King of the four corners of the Universe am I,
Herdsman, shepherd of the blackheads am I,
The trustworthy, the god of all the lands am I,
The son born of Ninsun am I,
Called to the heart of holy Anu am I,
He who was blessed by Enlil am I,
Shulgi, the beloved of Ninlil am I,
Truly cherished by Nintu am I,
Endowed with wisdom by Enki am I,
The mighty king of Nanna am I,
The open-mouthed lion of Utu am I,
Shulgi chosen for the vulva of Inanna am I,
A princely donkey all set for the road am I,
A tail-swinging horse on the highway am I,
A noble donkey of Sumugan eager for the course am I,
The wise scribe of Nidaba am I,
Like my heroship, li,e my might,
I am accomplished in wisdom,
I vie with tis wisdom´s true word,
I love justice,
I do not love evil,
I hate the evil word,
I, Shulgi, a mighty king, supreme am I.
Because I am a powerful man rejoicing in his loins,
I enlarged the foothpaths, straightened the highways of the land,
I made travel secure, built there big house [rest houses for travelers]
Planted gardens alongside of them, established resting places there
Settled there friendly folk
So that who comes from below, who comes from above,
Might refresh themselves at the cool of the day,
The wayfarer who travels the highway at night,
Might find refuge there as in a well-built city.
That my name be established unto distant days, that it leave not this mouth,
That my praise be spread wide in the land,
That I be eulogized in all the lands,
I, the runner, rose in my strength, all set for the course,
From Nippur to Ur,
I resolved to traverse as if it were but a distance of one double-hour,
Like a lion that wearies not of its virility I arose,
Put a girdle about my loins,
Swung my arms like a dove feverishly fleeing a snake,
Spread wide the knees like an Anzu bird with eyes lifted toward the mountains.
The inhabitants of the cities that I had founded in the land swarmed all about me,
My blackheaded people, as numerous as ewes, marveled at me,
Like a mountain kid hurrying to its shelter,
When Utu shed his broad light on man´s habitations,
I entered the Ekishnugal, (temple of Nanna)
Filled with abundance the great stall, the house of Sin,
Slaughtered oxen there, multiplied sheep,
Made resound there the drum and the timbrel
Conducted there the tigi-music, the sweet.
I, Shulgi, the multiplier of all things, brought bread offerings there,
Inspiring fear from my royal seat like a lion,
In the lofty palace of Ninegal,
I scoured my knees, I bathed in fresh water,
Bent the knees, ate bread,
Like an owl and a falcon I arose,
Returned triumphantly to Nippur.
On that day, the storm howled, the tempest swirled,
The North Wind and the South Wind roared violently,
Lightning devoured in heaven alongside the seven winds,
The deafening storm made the earth tremble,
Ishkur thundered throughout the heavenly expanse
The rains above embraced the waters below
Its little stones, its big stones lashed at my back.
But I the king was unafraid, uncoweed,
Like a young lion I was set for the spring,
Like a donkey of the steppe I rushed forward,
My heart full of happiness I sped along the course,
Racing like a donkey folad journeying all alone,
Like Utu facing homeward,
I traversed the journey of 15 double hours,
My acolytes gazed at me in wonder,
As in one day I celebrated the esbesh feast both in Ur and Nippur.
With virile Utu, my brother and friend,
I drank beer in the palace founded by Anu,
My minstrels sang fro me the seven tigi-hymns,
My spouse, the maid Inanna, the queen, the luxuriance of heaven and earth,
Seated me by her side at its palace banquet
I exalted myself saying:
“Wheresoever I lift my eyes, thither will you go with me,
Wheresoever my heart moves me, there you will be welcomed”.
Anu set the holy crown upon my head,
Gave me to hold the scepter in the lapis lazuli Ekur,
Raised heaven-high my firmly founded throne on the white dais,
Exalted there the power of my kingship,
So that I bent over all the foreign lands, made secure the Land of Sumer,
And the four corners of the universe, the people with heads bowed called my name,
Chant holy songs,
Pronounce my exaltation saying:
“He that is the noble power of kingship, the cherished one,
Presented by Sin our of the Ekishnugal,
Heroship, night and a good life,
Endowed with noble power by Nunamnir,
Shulgi, the destroyer of all the foreign lands, who makes secure the land of Sumer,
Who in accordance with the me of the universe has no rival,
Shulgi, cherished by the trustworthy son of Anu (Nanna)”

Enlil and Ninlil

Posted: July 28, 2014 by noxprognatus in Texts

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Enlil and Ninlil: translation

1-12There was a city, there was a city — the one we live in. Nibru was the city, the one we live in. Dur-jicnimbar was the city, the one we live in. Id-sala is its holy river, Kar-jectina is its quay. Kar-asar is its quay where boats make fast. Pu-lal is its fresh-water well. Id-nunbir-tum is its branching canal, and if one measures from there, its cultivated land is 50 sar each way. Enlil was one of its young men, and Ninlil was one its young women. Nun-bar-ce-gunu was one of its wise old women.

13-21At that time the maiden was advised by her own mother, Ninlil was advised by Nun-bar-ce-gunu: “The river is holy, woman! The river is holy — don’t bathe in it! Ninlil, don’t walk along the bank of the Id-nunbir-tum! His eye is bright, the lord’s eye is bright, he will look at you! The Great Mountain, Father Enlil — his eye is bright, he will look at you! The shepherd who decides all destinies — his eye is bright, he will look at you! Straight away he will want to have intercourse, he will want to kiss! He will be happy to pour lusty semen into the womb, and then he will leave you to it!”

22-34She advised her from the heart, she gave wisdom to her. The river is holy; the woman bathed in the holy river. As Ninlil walked along the bank of the Id-nunbir-tum, his eye was bright, the lord’s eye was bright, he looked at her. The Great Mountain, Father Enlil — his eye was bright, he looked at her. The shepherd who decides all destinies — his eye was bright, he looked at her. The king said to her, “I want to have sex with you!”, but he could not make her let him. Enlil said to her, “I want to kiss you!”, but he could not make her let him. “My vagina is small, it does not know pregnancy. My lips are young, they do not know kissing. If my mother learns of it, she will slap my hand! If my father learns of it, he will lay hands on me! But right now, no one will stop me from telling this to my girl friend!”

35-53Enlil spoke to his minister Nuska: “Nuska, my minister!” “At your service! What do you wish?” “Master builder of the E-kur!” “At your service, my lord!” “Has anyone had intercourse with, has anyone kissed a maiden so beautiful, so radiant — Ninlil, so beautiful, so radiant?” The minister brought his master across by boat, bringing him over with the rope of a small boat, bringing him over in a big boat. The lord, floating downstream to …… — he was actually to have intercourse with her, he was actually to kiss her! — father Enlil, floating downstream to …… — he was actually to have intercourse with her, he was actually to kiss her! — he grasped hold of her whom he was seeking — he was actually to have intercourse with her, he was actually to kiss her! — so as to lie with her on a small bank ……. He actually had intercourse with her, he actually kissed her. At this one intercourse, at this one kissing he poured the seed of Suen-Acimbabbar into her womb.

54-64Enlil was walking in the Ki-ur. As Enlil was going about in the Ki-ur, the fifty great gods and the seven gods who decide destinies had Enlil arrested in the Ki-ur. Enlil, the ritually impure, left the city. Nunamnir, the ritually impure, left the city. (2 mss. have instead: “Enlil, ritually impure, leave the city! Nunamnir, ritually impure, leave the city!”) Enlil, in accordance with what had been decided, Nunamnir, in accordance with what had been decided, Enlil went. Ninlil followed. Nunamnir went, the maiden chased him.

65-90Enlil spoke to the man at the city gate: “City gatekeeper! Keeper of the barrier! Porter! Keeper of the holy barrier! When your lady Ninlil comes, if she asks after me, don’t tell her where I am!” Ninlil addressed the city gatekeeper: “City gatekeeper! Keeper of the barrier! Porter! Keeper of the holy barrier! When did your lord Enlil go by?” She spoke to him; Enlil answered as the city gatekeeper: “My lord has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one. Enlil has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one.” “I will make clear my aim and explain my intent. You can fill my womb once it is empty — Enlil, lord of all the lands, has had sex with me! Just as Enlil is your lord, so am I your lady!” “If you are my lady, let my hand touch your ……!” “The seed of your lord, the bright seed, is in my womb. The seed of Suen, the bright seed, is in my womb.” “My master’s seed can go up to the heavens! Let my seed go downwards! Let my seed go downwards, instead of my master’s seed!” Enlil, as the city gatekeeper, got her to lie down in the chamber. He had intercourse with her there, he kissed her there. At this one intercourse, at this one kissing he poured the seed of Nergal-Meslamta-eda into her womb.

91-116Enlil went. Ninlil followed. Nunamnir went, the maiden chased him. Enlil approached the man of the Id-kura river of the underworld, the man-eating river. “My man of the Id-kura, the man-eating river! When your lady Ninlil comes, if she asks after me, don’t you tell her where I am!” Ninlil approached the man of the Id-kura, the man-eating river. “My man of the Id-kura, the man-eating river! When did your lord Enlil go by?”, she said to him. Enlil answered as the man of the Id-kura: “My lord has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one. Enlil has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one.” “I will make clear my aim and explain my intent. You can fill my womb once it is empty — Enlil, lord of all the lands, has had sex with me! Just as Enlil is your lord, so am I your lady!” “If you are my lady, let my hand touch your ……!” “The seed of your lord, the bright seed, is in my womb. The seed of Suen, the bright seed, is in my womb.” “My master’s seed can go up to the heavens! Let my seed go downwards! Let my seed go downwards, instead of my master’s seed!” Enlil, as the man of the Id-kura, got her to lie down in the chamber. He had intercourse with her there, he kissed her there. At this one intercourse, at this one kissing he poured into her womb the seed of Ninazu, the king who stretches measuring lines over the fields.

117-142Enlil went. Ninlil followed. Nunamnir went, the maiden chased him. Enlil approached SI.LU.IGI, the man of the ferryboat. “SI.LU.IGI, my man of the ferryboat! When your lady Ninlil comes, if she asks after me, don’t you tell her where I am!” Ninlil approached the man of the ferryboat. “Man of the ferryboat! When did your lord Enlil go by?”, she said to him. Enlil answered as the man SI.LU.IGI: “My lord has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one. Enlil has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one.” “I will make clear my aim and explain my intent. You can fill my womb once it is empty — Enlil, king of all the lands, has had sex with me! Just as Enlil is your lord, so am I your lady!” “If you are my lady, let my hand touch your ……!” “The seed of your lord, the bright seed, is in my womb. The seed of Suen, the bright seed, is in my womb.” “My master’s seed can go up to the heavens! Let my seed go downwards! Let my seed go downwards, instead of my master’s seed!” Enlil, as SI.LU.IGI, got her to lie down in the chamber. He had intercourse with her there, he kissed her there. At this one intercourse, at this one kissing he poured into her womb the seed of Enbilulu, the inspector of canals.

143-154You are lord! You are king! Enlil, you are lord! You are king! Nunamnir, you are lord! You are king! You are supreme lord, you are powerful lord! Lord who makes flax grow, lord who makes barley grow, you are lord of heaven, Lord Plenty, lord of the earth! You are lord of the earth, Lord Plenty, lord of heaven! Enlil in heaven, Enlil is king! Lord whose utterances (2 mss. have instead: whose pronouncements) cannot be altered at all! His primordial utterances will not be changed! For the praise spoken for Ninlil the mother, praise be to (one ms. adds: the Great Mountain,) Father Enlil!

The Mysterious Didanum People

Posted: March 16, 2014 by phaedrap1 in Anunnaki

The Mysterious Didanum People

One of the races mentioned in sacred texts, especially Bible texts are the Didanum People (or Ditanu or Tidanu), the precursors of the Nephilim and Rephaim going back to 3,000 BC. There are not many references to this race, however we will try to touch upon what is known about them. Many already know about the Nephilim, the offspring of the ‘sons of Gods’ and the ‘daughters of men’, beings of gigantic size with incredible abilities and powers who are associated with the demi-gods of all different religions and mythologies. In the same category belong the Rephaim, who were also beings of enormous stature and powerful abilities, a generation of heroes. Furthermore, references to the Rephaim in the Bible, identify them as shades or spirits, giving another dimension to their existence as if they were able to interact or manifest at the same time in different realities. In ancient texts, it seems that the Didanites are very closely related to the Rephaim, making them another race related to the ‘Gods’ of the past. In the Epic of Kret (Keret), a Canaanite Epic of the Bronze Age which is written in the Ugaritic language found on 3 clay tablets, God El (the father of Gods according to Canaanites, also identified with the Egyptian god Ptah) promises King Keret that the glory of his family is going to be restored. It mentions the assembly of the Ditanites, referring to the Didanum people. King Keret was a descendent of the Didanites and a ruler of the region around the mountain of the Amorites as well as Tidanum Mountain. The importance of the Didanum people was significant since the presence of the Council of the Didanites was required during the accession of the Kings. References to this text may also identify Amorites with the Didanums. Amorites (or Tidnum in Akkadian) were a group of people from ancient Syria who lived around 2,000-3,000 BC. The Syrian region Jebel Bishri is what they called the mountain of the Amorites. Whether Amorites just used the term Didanum or if they were the Didanum people is not known. Furthermore, in one Sumerian poem called the Descent of Inanna to the Netherworld, the Didanum people are referred to as an enemy of Inanna (Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility and warfare). In other texts Didanites appear to be connected to Dedan who also happens to be an important God of the Nubians in Egypt. It is interesting to notice that Dedan was a descendant of Noah. The people of Dedan were warned by the God that his wrath was going to fall upon them because Dedan questioned the motives of God, in the same way that all descendants of the Nephilim were executed by Joshua with the help of ‘God’ leaving no traces of them. Concluding what we can say about the Didanum people is that they were gigantic people, probably descendants of the ‘Gods’ with great physical and mental power associated in some ways with the royal dynasties of the past. They were so important that their name has been used later on as a title for important royal people. What happened to them and how did they come to exist is unknown. But the important thing is that we have reference to another strange race of giants amongst humanity that suddenly disappeared. By John Black


Sage 2

Posted: April 8, 2013 by noxprognatus in Texts

Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi


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“Al-Razi” redirects here. For the Islamic theologian and philosopher, see Fakhr al-Din al-Razi.  For other uses, see Razi (disambiguation).
Muhammad ibn Zakariyā Rāzī
Zakariya Razi 001.JPG Razi was the preeminent pharmacist and physician of his time.
Born August 26, 865[citation needed] Rey, Persia
Died October 15 925 Rey
Era Medieval era
Region Persia
Religion Muslim
School Persian science
Main interests Chemistry, Medicine, Biology, Physics, Philosophy
Notable ideas The first to produce acids such as sulfuric acid, writing up limited or extensive notes on diseases such as smallpox and chickenpox, a pioneer in ophthalmology, author of first book on pediatrics, making leading contributions in inorganic and organic chemistry, also the author of several philosophical works.

Muhammad ibn Zakariyā Rāzī (Arabic: أبو بكر محمد بن يحيى بن زكريا الرازي‎ Abu Bakr Mohammad Bin Yahia Bin Zakaria Al-Razi)(Persian: محمد زکریای رازی‎ Mohammad-e Zakariā-ye Rāzi), known as Rhazes or Rasis after medieval Latinists (August 26, 865 – 925), was a Persian Muslim[1][2] polymath, a prominent figure in Islamic Golden Age,[3] physician, alchemist and chemist, philosopher, and scholar.[4]

Numerous “firsts” in medical research, clinical care, and chemistry are attributed to him, including being the first to differentiate smallpox from measles, and the discovery of numerous compounds and chemicals including alcohol, kerosene, among others.[5] Edward Granville Browne considers him as “probably the greatest and most original of all the physicians, and one of the most prolific as an author”.[6]

Razi made fundamental and enduring contributions to the fields of medicine, alchemy, music, and philosophy, recorded in over 200 books and articles in various fields of science. He was well-versed in Ancient Persian, Greek and Ancient Indian medical knowledge and made numerous advances in medicine through own observations and discoveries.[7]

Educated in music, mathematics, philosophy, and metaphysics, he chose medicine as his professional field. As a physician, he was an early proponent of experimental medicine and has been described as the father of pediatrics.[8] He was also a pioneer of ophthalmology. He was among the first to use Humoralism to distinguish one contagious disease from another. In particular, Razi was the first physician to distinguish smallpox and measles through his clinical characterization of the two diseases. He became chief physician of Rey and Baghdad hospitals.

He traveled extensively, mostly in Persia. As a teacher in medicine, he attracted students of all disciplines and was said to be compassionate and devoted to the service of his patients, whether rich or poor.[citation needed]



[edit] Biography

This section cites its sources but does not provide page references. You can help to improve it by introducing citations that are more precise. (September 2010)

Colophon of Razi’s Book of Medicine.

Razi was born in the silk road passing city of Rey.[9] His name Razi in Persian means “from the city of Rey”, an ancient town called Ragha in old Persian and Ragâ in Avestan.[10] It is located on the southern slopes of the Alborz Range situated near Tehran, Iran. In this city (like Ibn Sina) he accomplished most of his work[11]

He studied medicine under Ali ibn Sahl Rabban al-Tabari, known as Ali ibn Rabban al-Tabari or Ali ibn Sahl, (Cf. al-Qifti, Usaibi’ah), a physician and philosopher born in Merv about 192 AH (808 C.E.) (d. approx. 240 AH (855 C.E.)). Ali ibn Sahl belonged to the medical school of Tabaristan or Hyrcania.

Razi became famous in his native city as a physician. He became Director of the hospital of Rey (Cf. ibn Juljul, al-Qifti, ibn abi Usaibi’ah), during the reign of Mansur ibn Ishaq ibn Ahmad ibn Asad who was Governor of Rey from 290-296 AH (902-908 C.E.) on behalf of his cousin Ahmad ibn Isma’il ibn Ahmad, second Samanian ruler. Razi dedicated his al-Tibb al-‘Mansuri to Mansur ibn Ishaq ibn Ahmad, which was verified in a handwritten manuscript of his book. This was refuted by ibn al-Nadim’, but al-Qifti and ibn abi Usaibi’ah confirmed that the named Mansur was indeed Mansur ibn Isma’il who died in 365 AH (975 C.E.). Razi moved from Rey to Baghdad during Caliph Muktafi’s reign (approx. 289-295 AH (901-907 C.E.)) where he again held a position as Chief Director of a hospital.

After al-Muktafi’s death in 295 AH (907 C.E.) Razi allegedly returned to Rey where he gathered many students around him. As Ibn al-Nadim relates in Fihrist, Razi was then a Shaikh (title given to one entitled to teach), surrounded by several circles of students. When someone arrived with a scientific question, this question was passed on to students of the ‘first circle’. if they did not know the answer, it was passed on to those of the ‘second circle’… and so on and on, until at last, when all others had failed to supply an answer, it came to Razi himself. We know of at least one of these students who became a physician. Razi was a very generous man, with a humane behavior towards his patients, and acting charitable to the poor. He used to give them full treatment without charging any fee, nor demanding any other payment.[citation needed]

His eye affliction started with cataracts and ended in total blindness.[citation needed] The cause of his blindness is uncertain. One account attributes the cause to have been a blow to the head by his patron, al-Mansour. Abulfaraj (Historia Compendosia Dynastiarum, p.291) and Casiri claim that the cause was eating beans.[12] Another attributes the cause of his blindness to a beating ordered by a mullah who was offended by his work, al-Hawi. The beating was administered with the manuscript of the work.[13]

During that time he was approached by a physician offering an ointment to cure his blindness. Al-Razi then asked him how many layers does the eye contain and when he was unable to answer he refused his services and the ointment stating “my eyes will not be treated by one who does not know the basics of its anatomy”.[14] One of his pupils from Tabaristan came to look after him, but, according to al-Biruni, he refused to be treated, proclaiming it was useless as his hour of death was approaching. Some days later he died in Rey, on the 5th of Sha’ban 313 AH (27 October 925).

However, his fame spread and lived on. In an undated catalogue of the library at Peterborough Abbey, most likely from the 14th century, he is listed as a part author of ten books on medicine.[15]

[edit] Razi’s masters and opponents

Razi studied medicine under Ali ibn Rabban al-Tabari, however, Ibn al-Nadim indicates that he studied philosophy under al-Bakhi, who had travelled much and possessed great knowledge of philosophy and ancient sciences.

Razi’s hamud opponents, on the contrary, are well-known. They are the following:

  • Abu al-Rabban al-Balki, chief of the Mu’tazilah of Baghdad (d. 319 AH/931 CE), a contemporary of Razi who wrote many refutations about Razi’s books, especially in his Ilm al-Ilahi. His disagreements with Razi entailed his thoughts on the concept of ‘Time’.
  • Shuhaid ibn al-Husain al-Balkhi, with whom Razi had many controversies; one of these was on the concept of ‘Pleasure’, expounded in his Tafdll Ladhdhat al-Nafs which abu Sulaiman al-Mantiqi al-Sijistani quotes in his work Siwan al-Hikmah. Al-Balkhi died prior to 329 AH/940 CE.
  • Abu Hatim al-Razi (Ahmad ibn Hamdan). an Isma’ili missionary, was one of his most influential opponents (d. 322 AH/933-934 CE). He published his controversies with Razi in his book A’lam al-Nubuwwah. Because of this book, Razi’s thoughts on Prophets and Religion are preserved to the present time.
  • Ibn al-Tammar (seemingly being abu Bakr Husain al-Tammar, according to Kraus) was a physician who had some disputes with Razi, as documented by Abu Hatim al-Razi in A’lam al-Nubuwwah. Ibn al-Tammar disagreed with Razi’s book al-Tibb al-Ruhani but Razi rebutted him in two antitheses:
First refutation of al-Tammar’s disagreement with Misma’i concerning ‘Matter’.
Second refutation of al-Tammar’s opinion of ‘the Atmosphere of subterranean habitations’.
  • Following are authors as described by Razi in his writings:
    • Al-Misma’i, a Mutakallim, who opposed ‘materialists’, counteracted Razi’s treatise.
    • Jarir, a physician who had a theory about ‘The eating of black mulberries after consuming water-melon’.
    • Al-Hasan ibn Mubarik al-Ummi, to whom Razi wrote two epistles with commentaries.
    • Al-Kayyal, a Mutakallim: al-Razi wrote a book on about his Theory of the Imam.
    • Mansur ibn Talhah, being the author of the book “Being“, which was criticized by al-Razi.
    • Muhammad ibn al-Laith al-Rasa’ili whose opposition against alchemists was disputed by al-Razi.
  • Ahmad ibn al-Tayyib al-Sarakhasi (d. 286 AH/899 CE), was an older contemporary of al-Razi. Al-Razi disagreed with him on the question of ‘bitter taste’. He moreover opposed his teacher Ya’qub ibn Ishaq al-Kindi, regarding his writings, in which he discredited alchemists.

More names could be added to this list of all people opposed by al-Razi, specifically the Mu’tazilah and different Mutakallimin.

[edit] Contributions to medicine

[edit] Smallpox vs. measles

“Smallpox appears when blood ‘boils’ and is infected, resulting in vapours being expelled. Thus juvenile blood (which looks like wet extracts appearing on the skin) is being transformed into richer blood, having the color of mature wine. At this stage, smallpox shows up essentially as ‘bubbles found in wine’ – (as blisters) – … this disease can also occur at other times – (meaning: not only during childhood) -. The best thing to do during this first stage is to keep away from it, otherwise this disease might turn into an epidemic.”

This diagnosis is acknowledged by the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1911), which states: “The most trustworthy statements as to the early existence of the disease are found in an account by the 9th-century Persian physician Rhazes, by whom its symptoms were clearly described, its pathology explained by a humoral or fermentation theory, and directions given for its treatment.”

Razi’s book: al-Judari wa al-Hasbah (On Smallpox and Measles) was the first book describing smallpox and measles as distinct diseases.[citation needed] It was translated more than a dozen times into Latin and other European languages. Its lack of dogmatism and its Hippocratic reliance on clinical observation show Razi’s medical methods. For example:

“The eruption of smallpox is preceded by a continued fever, pain in the back, itching in the nose and nightmares during sleep. These are the more acute symptoms of its approach together with a noticeable pain in the back accompanied by fever and an itching felt by the patient all over his body. A swelling of the face appears, which comes and goes, and one notices an overall inflammatory color noticeable as a strong redness on both cheeks and around both eyes. One experiences a heaviness of the whole body and great restlessness, which expresses itself as a lot of stretching and yawning. There is a pain in the throat and chest and one finds it difficult to breathe and cough. Additional symptoms are: dryness of breath, thick spittle, hoarseness of the voice, pain and heaviness of the head, restlessness, nausea and anxiety. (Note the difference: restlessness, nausea and anxiety occur more frequently with ‘measles’ than with smallpox. At the other hand, pain in the back is more apparent with smallpox than with measles). Altogether one experiences heat over the whole body, one has an inflamed colon and one shows an overall shining redness, with a very pronounced redness of the gums.”[citation needed]

[edit] Pharmacy

Razi contributed in many ways to the early practice of pharmacy by compiling texts, in which he introduces the use of ‘mercurial ointments’ and his development of apparatus such as mortars, flasks, spatulas and phials, which were used in pharmacies until the early twentieth century .

[edit] Ethics of medicine

On a professional level, Razi introduced many practical, progressive, medical and psychological ideas. He attacked charlatans and fake doctors who roamed the cities and countryside selling their nostrums and “cures”. At the same time, he warned that even highly educated doctors did not have the answers to all medical problems and could not cure all sicknesses or heal every disease, which was humanly speaking impossible. To become more useful in their services and truer to their calling, Razi advised practitioners to keep up with advanced knowledge by continually studying medical books and exposing themselves to new information. He made a distinction between curable and incurable diseases. Pertaining to the latter, he commented that in the case of advanced cases of cancer and leprosy the physician should not be blamed when he could not cure them. To add a humorous note, Razi felt great pity for physicians who took care for the well being of princes, nobility, and women, because they did not obey the doctor’s orders to restrict their diet or get medical treatment, thus making it most difficult being their physician.

He also wrote the following on medical ethics:

“The doctor’s aim is to do good, even to our enemies, so much more to our friends, and my profession forbids us to do harm to our kindred, as it is instituted for the benefit and welfare of the human race, and God imposed on physicians the oath not to compose mortiferous remedies.”[16]

[edit] Books and articles on medicine

The Virtuous Life (al-Hawi الحاوي).
This monumental medical encyclopedia in nine volumes — known in Europe also as The Large Comprehensive or Continens Liber (جامع الكبير) — contains considerations and criticism on the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato, and expresses innovative views on many subjects. Because of this book alone, many scholars consider Razi the greatest medical doctor of the Middle Ages.
The al-Hawi is not a formal medical encyclopedia, but a posthumous compilation of Razi’s working notebooks, which included knowledge gathered from other books as well as original observations on diseases and therapies, based on his own clinical experience. It is significant since it contains a celebrated monograph on smallpox, the earliest one known. It was translated into Latin in 1279 by Faraj ben Salim, a physician of Sicilian-Jewish origin employed by Charles of Anjou, and after which it had a considerable influence in Europe.
The al-Hawi also criticized the views of Galen, after Razi had observed many clinical cases which did not follow Galen’s descriptions of fevers. For example, he stated that Galen’s descriptions of urinary ailments were inaccurate as he had only seen three cases, while Razi had studied hundreds of such cases in hospitals of Baghdad and Rey.[17]
A medical adviser for the general public (Man la Yahduruhu Al-Tabib) (من لا يحضره الطبيب)
Razi was possibly the first Persian doctor to deliberately write a home medical manual (remedial) directed at the general public. He dedicated it to the poor, the traveler, and the ordinary citizen who could consult it for treatment of common ailments when a doctor was not available. This book, of course, is of special interest to the history of pharmacy since similar books were very popular until the 20th century. Razi described in its 36 chapters, diets and drug components that can be found in either an apothecary, a market place, in well-equipped kitchens, or and in military camps. Thus, every intelligent person could follow its instructions and prepare the proper recipes with good results.
Some of the illnesses treated were headaches, colds, coughing, melancholy and diseases of the eye, ear, and stomach. For example, he prescribed for a feverish headache: ” 2 parts of duhn (oily extract) of rose, to be mixed with 1 part of vinegar, in which a piece of linen cloth is dipped and compressed on the forehead”. He recommended as a laxative, ” 7 drams of dried violet flowers with 20 pears, macerated and well mixed, then strained. Add to this filtrate, 20 drams of sugar for a drink. In cases of melancholy, he invariably recommended prescriptions, which included either poppies or its juice (opium), Cuscuta epithymum (clover dodder) or both. For an eye-remedy, he advised myrrh, saffron, and frankincense, 2 drams each, to be mixed with 1 dram of yellow arsenic formed into tablets. Each tablet was to be dissolved in a sufficient quantity of coriander water and used as eye drops.
Doubts About Galen (Shukuk ‘ala alinusor)
In his book Doubts about Galen, Razi rejects several claims made by the Greek physician, as far as the alleged superiority of the Greek language and many of his cosmological and medical views. He links medicine with philosophy, and states that sound practice demands independent thinking. He reports that Galen’s descriptions do not agree with his own clinical observations regarding the run of a fever. And in some cases he finds that his clinical experience exceeds Galen‘s.
He criticized moreover Galen’s theory that the body possessed four separate “humors” (liquid substances), whose balance are the key to health and a natural body-temperature. A sure way to upset such a system was to insert a liquid with a different temperature into the body resulting in an increase or decrease of bodily heat, which resembled the temperature of that particular fluid. Razi noted that a warm drink would heat up the body to a degree much higher than its own natural temperature. Thus the drink would trigger a response from the body, rather than transferring only its own warmth or coldness to it. (Cf. I. E. Goodman)
This line of criticism essentially had the potentiality to destroy completely Galen’s Theory of Humours including Aristotle’s theory of the Four Elements, on which it was grounded. Razi’s own alchemical experiments suggested other qualities of matter, such as “oiliness” and “sulphurousness”, or inflammability and salinity, which were not readily explained by the traditional fire, water, earth, and air division of elements.
Razi’s challenge to the current fundamentals of medical theory were quite controversial. Many accused him of ignorance and arrogance, even though he repeatedly expressed his praise and gratitude to Galen for his contributions and labors, saying:
“I prayed to God to direct and lead me to the truth in writing this book. It grieves me to oppose and criticize the man Galen from whose sea of knowledge I have drawn much. Indeed, he is the Master and I am the disciple. Although this reverence and appreciation will and should not prevent me from doubting, as I did, what is erroneous in his theories. I imagine and feel deeply in my heart that Galen has chosen me to undertake this task, and if he were alive, he would have congratulated me on what I am doing. I say this because Galen’s aim was to seek and find the truth and bring light out of darkness. I wish indeed he were alive to read what I have published.”
Crystallization of ancient knowledge, and the refusal to accept the fact that new data and ideas indicate that present day knowledge ultimately might surpass that of previous generations.
Razi believed that contemporary scientists and scholars are by far better equipped, more knowledgeable, and more competent than the ancient ones, due to the accumulated knowledge at their disposal. Razi’s attempt to overthrow blind acceptance of the unchallenged authority of ancient sages encouraged and stimulated research and advances in the arts, technology, and sciences.
The Diseases of Children
Razi is considered the father of pediatrics for writing The Diseases of Children, the first book to deal with pediatrics as an independent field of medicine.[8]
Mental health
As many other theorists in his time of exploration of illnesses he believed that mental illnesses were caused by demons. Demons were believed to enter the body and possess the body. This shows that mental illnesses were understood to be out of the control of the sufferer.

[edit] Books on medicine

This is a partial list of Razi’s books and articles in medicine, according to Ibn Abi Usaybi’ah. Some books may have been copied or printed under different names.

  • al-Hawi (الحاوي), al-Hawi al-Kabir (الحاوي الكبير). Also known as The Virtuous Life, Continens Liber. The large medical Encyclopedia containing mostly recipes and Razi’s notebooks.
  • Isbateh Elmeh Pezeshki (Persian اثبات علم پزشكى), (“Proving the Science of Medicine”).
  • Dar Amadi bar Elmeh Pezeshki (Persian درآمدى بر علم پزشكى) (“Outcome of the Science of Medicine”).
  • Rade Manaategha ‘tibb jahez
  • Rade Naghzotibbeh Nashi
  • The Experimentation of Medical Science and its Application
  • Guidance
  • Kenash
  • The Classification of Diseases
  • Royal Medicine
  • For One Without a Doctor (من لايحضره الطبيب)
  • The Book of Simple Medicine
  • The Great Book of Krabadin
  • The Little Book of Krabadin
  • The Book of Taj or The Book of the Crown
  • The Book of Disasters
  • Food and its Harmfulness
  • al-Judari wa al-Hasbah, Translation: A treatise on the Small-pox and Measles[18]
  • Ketab dar Padid Amadaneh Sangrizeh (‍Persian كتاب در پديدآمدن سنگريزه) (“The Book of Formation of small stones (Stones in the Kidney and Bladder)”)
  • Ketabeh Dardeh Roodeha (Persian كتاب درد روده‌ها) (“The Book of Pains in the Intestine”)
  • Ketab dar Dard Paay va Dardeh Peyvandhayyeh Andam (Persian كتاب در درد پاى و درد پيوندهاى اندام) (“The Book of Pains in Feet/Legs and Pains in Linked Limbs”)
  • Ketab dar Falej
  • The Book of Tooth Aches
  • Dar Hey’ateh Kabed ‍(Persian در هيأت كبد) (“About the Liver”)
  • Dar Hey’ateh Ghalb (About Heart Ache) ‍(Persian در هيأت قلب) (“About the Heart”)
  • About the Nature of Doctors
  • About the Earwhole
  • Dar Rag Zadan (Persian در رگ زدن) (“About Handling Vessels”)
  • Seydeh neh/sidneh
  • Ketabeh Ibdal
  • Food For Patients
  • Soodhayeh Serkangabin (Persian سودهاى سركنگبين) or Benefits of Honey and Vinegar Mixture
  • Darmanhayeh Abneh
  • The Book of Surgical Instruments
  • The Book on Oil
  • Fruits Before and After Lunch
  • Book on Medical Discussion (with Jarir Tabib)
  • Book on Medical Discussion II (with Abu Feiz)
  • About the Menstrual Cycle
  • Ghi Kardan or vomiting (Persian قى كردن)
  • Snow and Medicine
  • Snow and Thirst
  • The Foot
  • Fatal Diseases
  • About Poisoning
  • Hunger
  • Soil in Medicine
  • The Thirst of Fish
  • Sleep Sweating
  • Warmth in Clothing
  • Spring and Disease
  • Misconceptions of a Doctors Capabilities
  • The Social Role of Doctors

[edit] Translations

Razi’s notable books and articles on medicine (in English) include:

  • Mofid al Khavas, The Book for the Elite.
  • The Book of Experiences
  • The Cause of the Death of Most Animals because of Poisonous Winds
  • The Physicians’ Experiments
  • The Person Who Has No Access to Physicians
  • The Big Pharmacology
  • The Small Pharmacology
  • Gout
  • Al Shakook ala Jalinoos, The Doubt on Galen
  • Kidney and Bladder Stones
  • Ketab tibb ar-Ruhani,The Spiritual Physik of Rhazes.

[edit] Alchemy

Muhammad ibn Zakariya ar-Razi (Rhazes) isolated many chemical substances, produced many medications, and described many laboratory apparatus.

[edit] The Transmutation of Metals

Razi’s interest in alchemy and his strong belief in the possibility of transmutation of lesser metals to silver and gold was attested half a century after his death by Ibn an-Nadim‘s book (The Philosophers Stone-Lapis Philosophorum in Latin). Nadim attributed a series of twelve books to Razi, plus an additional seven, including his refutation to al-Kindi‘s denial of the validity of alchemy. Al-Kindi (801-873 CE) had been appointed by the Abbasid Caliph Ma’mum founder of Baghdad, to ‘the House of Wisdom‘ in that city, he was a philosopher and an opponent of alchemy. Finally we will mention Razi’s two best-known alchemical texts, which largely superseded his earlier ones: al-Asrar (الاسرار “The Secrets”), and Sirr al-Asrar (سر الاسرار “The Secret of Secrets”), which incorporates much of the previous work.

Apparently Razi’s contemporaries believed that he had obtained the secret of turning iron and copper into gold. Biographer Khosro Moetazed reports in Mohammad Zakaria Razi that a certain General Simjur confronted Razi in public, and asked whether that was the underlying reason for his willingness to treat patients without a fee. “It appeared to those present that Razi was reluctant to answer; he looked sideways at the general and replied”:

“I understand alchemy and I have been working on the characteristic properties of metals for an extended time. However, it still has not turned out to be evident to me, how one can transmute gold from copper. Despite the research from the ancient scientists done over the past centuries, there has been no answer. I very much doubt if it is possible…”

According to one legend he could have been blinded by steaming vapors during an accident in one of his experiments. He managed to escape with no injuries.[19][verification needed]

[edit] Chemical instruments and substances

Razi developed several chemical instruments that remain in use to this day. He is known to have perfected methods of distillation and extraction. ar-Razi dismissed the idea of potions and dispensed with magic, meaning the reliance on symbols as causes. Although Razi does not reject the idea that miracles exist, in the sense of unexplained phenomena in nature, his alchemical stockroom was enriched with products of Persian mining and manufacturing, even with sal ammoniac a Chinese discovery. He relied predominantly on the concept of ‘dominant’ forms or essences, which is the Neoplatonic conception of causality rather than an intellectual approach or a mechanical one).[citation needed] Razi’s alchemy brings forward such empiric qualities as salinity and inflammability -the latter associated to ‘oiliness’ and ‘sulphurousness’. These properties are not readily explained by the traditional composition of the elements such as: fire, water, earth and air, as al-óhazali and others after him were quick to note, influenced by critical thoughts such as Razi had.

[edit] Major works on alchemy

Razi’s achievements are of exceptional importance in the history of chemistry, since in his books we find for the first time a systematic classification of carefully observed and verified facts regarding chemical substances, reactions and apparatus, described in a language almost entirely free from mysticism and ambiguity. Razi’s scheme of classification of the substances used in chemistry shows sound research on his part.

  • The Secret (Al-Asrar)
This book was written in response to a request from Razi’s close friend, colleague, and former student, Abu Mohammed b. Yunis of Bukhara, a Muslim mathematician, philosopher, a highly reputable natural scientist. In his book Sirr al-Asrar, Razi divides the subject of “Matter’ into three categories as he did in his previous book al-Asrar.

  1. Knowledge and identification of drug components of plant-, animal- and mineral-origin and the description of the best type of each for utilization in treatment.
  2. Knowledge of equipment and tools of interest to and used by either alchemist or apothecary.
  3. Knowledge of seven alchemical procedures and techniques: sublimation and condensation of mercury, precipitation of sulfur and arsenic calcination of minerals (gold, silver, copper, lead, and iron), salts, glass, talc, shells, and waxing.
This last category contains additionally a description of other methods and applications used in transmutation: * The added mixture and use of solvent vehicles. * The amount of heat (fire) used, ‘bodies and stones’, (‘al-ajsad’ and ‘al-ahjar) that can or cannot be transmuted into corporal substances such of metals and Id salts (‘al-amlah’). * The use of a liquid mordant which quickly and permanently colors lesser metals for more lucrative sale and profit.
Similar to the commentary on the 8th century text on amalgams ascribed to Al- Hayan (Jabir), Razi gives methods and procedures of coloring a silver object to imitate gold (gold leafing) and the reverse technique of removing its color back to silver. Gilding and silvering of other metals (alum, calcium salts, iron, copper, and tutty) are also described, as well as how colors will last for years without tarnishing or changing. Behind these procedures one does not find a deceptive motive rather a technical and economic deliberation. This becomes evident from the author’s quotation of market prices and the expressed triumph of artisan, craftsman or alchemist declaring the results of their efforts “to make it look exactly like gold!”. However, another motive was involved, namely, to manufacture something resembling gold to be sold quickly so to help a good friend who happened to be in need of money fast. Could it be Razi’s alchemical technique of silvering and gilding metals which convinced many Muslim biographers that he was first a jeweler before he turned to the study of alchemy?
Of interest in the text is Razi’s classification of minerals into six divisions, showing his discussion a modern chemical connotation:
  1. Four spirits (AL-ARWAH) : mercury, sal ammoniac, sulfur, and arsenic sulphate (orpiment and realgar).
  2. Seven bodies (AL-AJSAD) : silver, gold, copper, iron, black lead (plumbago), zinc (Kharsind), and tin.
  3. Thirteen stones : (AL-AHJAR) Pyrites marcasite (marqashita), magnesia, malachite, tutty Zinc oxide (tutiya), talcum, lapis lazuli, gypsum, azurite, magnesia, haematite (iron oxide), arsenic oxide, mica and asbestos and glass (then identified as made of sand and alkali of which the transparent crystal Damascene[disambiguation needed] is considered the best),
  4. Seven vitriols (AL-ZAJAT) : alum (al-shabb الشب), and white (qalqadis القلقديس), black, red (suri السوري), and yellow (qulqutar القلقطار) vitriols (the impure sulfates of iron, copper, etc.), green (qalqand القلقند).
  5. Seven borates : natron, and impure sodium borate.
  6. Eleven salts (AL-AMLAH): including brine, common (table) salt, ashes, naphtha, live lime, and urine, rock, and sea salts. Then he separately defines and describes each of these substances and their top choice, best colors and various adulterations.
Razi gives also a list of apparatus used in alchemy. This consists of 2 classes:
  1. Instruments used for the dissolving and melting of metals such as the Blacksmith’s hearth, bellows, crucible, thongs (tongue or ladle), macerator, stirring rod, cutter, grinder (pestle), file, shears, descensory and semi-cylindrical iron mould.
  2. Utensils used to carry out the process of transmutation and various parts of the distilling apparatus: the retort, alembic, shallow iron pan, potters kiln and blowers, large oven, cylindrical stove, glass cups, flasks, phials, beakers, glass funnel, crucible, alundel, heating lamps, mortar, cauldron, hair-cloth, sand- and water-bath, sieve, flat stone mortar and chafing-dish.
  • Secret of Secrets (Sirr Al-asrar)
This is Razi’s most famous book which has gained a lot of recognition in the West. Here he gives systematic attention to basic chemical operations important to the history of pharmacy.

[edit] Books on alchemy

Here is a list of Razi’s known books on alchemy, mostly in Persian:

  • Modkhele Taalimi
  • Elaleh Ma’aaden
  • Isbaate Sanaa’at
  • Ketabeh Sang
  • Ketabe Tadbir
  • Ketabe Aksir
  • Ketabe Sharafe Sanaa’at
  • Ketabe Tartib, Ketabe Rahat, The Simple Book
  • Ketabe Tadabir
  • Ketabe Shavahed
  • Ketabe Azmayeshe Zar va Sim (Experimentation on Gold)
  • Ketabe Serre Hakimaan
  • Ketabe Serr (The Book of Secrets)
  • Ketabe Serre Serr (The Secret of Secrets)
  • The First Book on Experiments
  • The Second Book on Experiments
  • Resaale’ei Be Faan
  • Arezooyeh Arezookhah
  • A letter to Vazir Ghasem ben Abidellah
  • Ketabe Tabvib

[edit] Philosophy

[edit] On existence

Razi is known to have been a free-thinking philosopher, since he was well-trained in ancient Greek science and philosophy although his approach to chemistry was rather naturalistic. Moreover, he was well versed in the theory of music, as so many other scientists of that time.

[edit] Metaphysics

His ideas on metaphysics were also based on the works of the ancient Greeks:

“The metaphysical doctrine of Razi, insofar as it can be reconstructed, derives from his concept of the five eternal principles[disambiguation needed]. God, for him, does not ‘create’ the world from nothing but rather arranges a universe out of pre-existing principles. His account of the soul features a mythic origin of the world in which God out of pity fashions a physical playground for the soul in response to its own desires; the soul, once fallen into the new realm God has made for it, requires God’s further gift of intellect in order to find its way once more to salvation and freedom. In this scheme, intellect does not appear as a separate principle but is rather a later grace of God to the soul; the soul becomes intelligent, possessed of reason and therefore able to discern the relative value of the other four principles. Whereas the five principles are eternal, intellect as such is apparently not. Such a doctrine of intellect is sharply at odds with that of all of Razi’s philosophical contemporaries, who are in general either adherents of some form of Neoplatonism or of Aristotelianism. The remaining three principles, space, matter and time, serve as the non-animate components of the natural world. Space is defined by the relationship between the individual particles of matter, or atoms, and the void that surrounds them. The greater the density of material atoms, the heavier and more solid the resulting object; conversely, the larger the portion of void, the lighter and less solid. Time and matter have both an absolute, unqualified form and a limited form. Thus there is an absolute matter – pure extent – that does not depend in any way on place, just as there is a time, in this sense, that is not defined or limited by motion. The absolute time of al-Razi is, like matter, infinite; it thus transcends the time which Aristotle confined to the measurement of motion. Razi, in the cases of both time and matter, knew well how he differed from Aristotle and also fully accepted and intended the consequences inherent in his anti-Peripatetic positions.” (Paul E. Walker)[page needed]

[edit] Excerpt from The Philosophical Approach

“(…) In short, while I am writing the present book, I have written so far around 200 books and articles on different aspects of science, philosophy, theology, and hekmat (wisdom). (…) I never entered the service of any king as a military man or a man of office, and if I ever did have a conversation with a king, it never went beyond my medical responsibility and advice. (…) Those who have seen me know, that I did not into excess with eating, drinking or acting the wrong way. As to my interest in science, people know perfectly well and must have witnessed how I have devoted all my life to science since my youth. My patience and diligence in the pursuit of science has been such that on one special issue specifically I have written 20,000 pages (in small print), moreover I spent fifteen years of my life -night and day- writing the big collection entitled Al Hawi. It was during this time that I lost my eyesight, my hand became paralyzed, with the result that I am now deprived of reading and writing. Nonetheless, I’ve never given up, but kept on reading and writing with the help of others. I could make concessions with my opponents and admit some shortcomings, but I am most curious what they have to say about my scientific achievement. If they consider my approach incorrect, they could present their views and state their points clearly, so that I may study them, and if I determined their views to be right, I would admit it. However, if I disagreed, I would discuss the matter to prove my standpoint. If this is not the case, and they merely disagree with my approach and way of life, I would appreciate they only use my written knowledge and stop interfering with my behaviour.”
“In the “Philosophical Biography“, as seen above, he defended his personal and philosophical life style. In this work he laid out a framework based on the idea that there is life after death full of happiness, not suffering. Rather than being self-indulgent, man should pursue knowledge, utilise his intellect and apply justice in his life. According to Al-Razi: “This is what our merciful Creator wants. The One to whom we pray for reward and whose punishment we fear.” In brief, man should be kind, gentle and just. Al-Razi believed that there is a close relationship between spiritual integrity and physical health. He did not implicate that the soul could avoid distress due to his fear of death. He simply states that this psychological state cannot be avoided completely unless the individual is convinced that, after death, the soul will lead a better life. This requires a thorough study of esoteric doctrines and/or religions. He focuses on the opinion of some people who think that the soul perishes when the body dies. Death is inevitable, therefore one should not pre-occupy the mind with it, because any person who continuously thinks about death will become distressed and think as if he is dying when he continuously ponders on that subject. Therefore, he should forget about it in order to avoid upsetting himself. When contemplating his destiny after death, a benevolent and good man who acts according to the ordinances of the Islamic Shari`ah, has after all nothing to fear because it indicates that he will have comfort and permanent bliss in the Hereafter. The one who doubts the Shari`ah, may contemplate it, and if he diligently does this, he will not deviate from the right path. If he falls short, Allah will excuse him and forgive his sins because it is not demanded of him to do something which he cannot achieve.” (Dr. Muhammad Abdul-Hadi Abu Reidah)

[edit] Books on philosophy

This is a partial list of Razi’s books on philosophy. Some books may have been copied or published under different titles.

  • The Small Book on Theism
  • Response to Abu’al’Qasem Braw
  • The Greater Book on Theism
  • Modern Philosophy
  • Dar Roshan Sakhtane Eshtebaah
  • Dar Enteghaade Mo’tazlian
  • Delsoozi Bar Motekaleman
  • Meydaneh Kherad
  • Khasel
  • Resaaleyeh Rahnamayeh Fehrest
  • Ghasideyeh Ilaahi
  • Dar Alet Afarineshe Darandegan
  • Shakkook
  • Naghseh Ketabe Tadbir
  • Naghsnamehyeh Ferforius
  • Do name be Hasanebne Moharebe Ghomi

Notable books in English:

  • Spiritual Medicine
  • The Philosophical Approach (Al Syrat al Falsafiah)
  • The Metaphysics

[edit] On Religion

A number of contradictory works and statements about religion have been ascribed to Razi. According to al-Biruni‘s Bibliography of Razi (Risāla fī Fihrist Kutub al-Rāzī), Razi wrote two “heretical books”: “Fī al-Nubuwwāt (On Prophecies) and “Fī Ḥiyal al-Mutanabbīn (On the Tricks of False Prophets). According to Biruni, the first “was claimed to be against religions” and the second “was claimed as attacking the necessity of the prophets.”[20] In his Risala, Biruni further criticized and expressed caution about Razi’s religious views, noting an influence of Manichaeism. However, Biruni also listed some other works of Razi on religion, including Fi Wujub Da‘wat al-Nabi ‘Ala Man Nakara bi al-Nubuwwat (Obligation to Propagate the Teachings of the Prophet Against Those who Denied Prophecies) and Fi anna li al-Insan Khaliqan Mutqinan Hakiman (That Man has a Wise and Perfect Creator), among others, listed under his works on the “divine sciences”.[20] None of these works are now extant.

Other views and quotes that are often ascribed to Razi are found in a book written by Abu Hatim al-Razi, called Aʿlām al-nubuwwa, and not in any extant work of Razi. Abu Hatim was an Isma’ili missionary who debated Razi, but whether he has faithfully recorded the views of Razi is disputed. According to Abdul Latif al-‘Abd, Islamic philosophy professor at Cairo University, Abu Hatim and his student, Ḥamīd al-dīn Karmānī (d. 411AH), were Isma’ili extremists who often misrepresented the views of Razi in their works.[21] This view is also corroborated by early historians like al-Shahrastani who noted “that such accusations should be doubted since they were made by Ismāʿīlīs, who had been severely attacked by Muḥammad ibn Zakariyyā Rāzī”.[22] Al-‘Abd also points out that the views allegedly expressed by Razi contradict what is found in Razi’s own works, like the Spiritual Medicine (Fī al-ṭibb al-rūḥānī). Al-‘Abd considers the content of the Spiritual Medicine to be a refutation to the claims made by Abu Hatim about Razi’s religious views.[21]

According to Abu Hatim, Razi offered harsh criticism concerning religions, in particular those religions that claim to have been revealed by prophetic experiences.[23][24][25] Razi asserted that “[God] should not set some individuals over others, and there should be between them neither rivalry nor disagreement which would bring them to perdition.”[26] He argued,

On what ground do you deem it necessary that God should single out certain individuals [by giving them prophecy], that he should set them up above other people, that he should appoint them to be the people’s guides, and make people dependent upon them?[26]

Concerning the link between violence and religion, Razi expressed that God must have known, considering the many disagreements between different religions, that “there would be a universal disaster and they would perish in the mutual hostilities and fighting. Indeed, many people have perished in this way, as we can see.”[26]

He was also critical of the lack of interest among religious adherents in the rational analysis of their beliefs, and the violent reaction which takes its place:

If the people of this religion are asked about the proof for the soundness of their religion, they flare up, get angry and spill the blood of whoever confronts them with this question. They forbid rational speculation, and strive to kill their adversaries. This is why truth became thoroughly silenced and concealed.[26]

Al-Razi believed that common people had originally been duped into belief by religious authority figures and by the status quo. He believed that these authority figures were able to continually deceive the common people “as a result of [religious people] being long accustomed to their religious denomination, as days passed and it became a habit. Because they were deluded by the beards of the goats, who sit in ranks in their councils, straining their throats in recounting lies, senseless myths and “so-and-so told us in the name of so-and-so…”[26]

He believed that the existence of a large variety of religions was, in itself, evidence that they were all man made, saying, “Jesus claimed that he is the son of God, while Moses claimed that He had no son, and Muhammad claimed that he [Jesus] was created like the rest of humanity.”[26] and “Mani and Zoroaster contradicted Moses, Jesus and Muhammad regarding the Eternal One, the coming into being of the world, and the reasons for the [existence] of good and evil.”[26] In relation to the Hebrew’s God asking of sacrifices, he said that “This sounds like the words of the needy rather than of the Laudable Self-sufficient One.”[26]

On the Qur’an, Razi said:

You claim that the evidentiary miracle is present and available, namely, the Koran. You say: “Whoever denies it, let him produce a similar one.” Indeed, we shall produce a thousand similar, from the works of rhetoricians, eloquent speakers and valiant poets, which are more appropriately phrased and state the issues more succinctly. They convey the meaning better and their rhymed prose is in better meter. … By God what you say astonishes us! You are talking about a work which recounts ancient myths, and which at the same time is full of contradictions and does not contain any useful information or explanation. Then you say: “Produce something like it”‽[26]

The above is a translation of a quote from Mohammad Ibn Zakariya al-Razi’s now lost treatise, Mahariq al anbiya مخارق الانبياء (The Prophets’ Fraudulent Tricks), in Abu Hatim al-Razi’s refutation, A’lam al-Nubuwwah (Signs of Prophecy).[27] Another, longer, translation of the same passage is also available.[28]

From the beginning of the human history, all of those who claimed to be prophets were, in his worst assumption, tortuous and devious and with his best assumption had psychological problems.[23][24][25]

[edit] Criticism

Al-Razi’s religious and philosophical views were later criticized by Persian Islamic philosophers such as Abu Rayhan Biruni and Avicenna in the early 11th century. Biruni in particular wrote a short Risala treatise dealing with al-Razi, criticizing him for his sympathy with Manichaeism,[29] his Hermetical writings, his religious and philosophical views,[30] for refusing to mathematize physics, and his active opposition to mathematics.[31] Avicenna, who was himself a physician and philosopher, also criticized al-Razi.[32] During a debate with Biruni, Avicenna stated:

Or from Muhammad ibn Zakariyyab al-Razi, who meddles in metaphysics and exceeds his competence. He should have remained confined to surgery and to urine and stool testing—indeed he exposed himself and showed his ignorance in these matters.[33]

[edit] Quotes about Razi

“Rhazes was the greatest physician of Islam and the Medieval Ages.”– George Sarton[page needed]
“Rhazes remained up to the 17th century the indisputable authority of medicine.”– The Encyclopaedia of Islam[page needed]
“His writings on smallpox and measles show originality and accuracy, and his essay on infectious diseases was the first scientific treatise on the subject.” – The Bulletin of the World Health Organization (May 1970)
“In today’s world we tend to see scientific advance as the product of great movements, massive grant-funded projects, and larger-than-life socio-economic forces. It is easy to forget, therefore, that many contributions stemmed from the individual efforts of scholars like Rhazes. Indeed, pharmacy can trace much of its historical foundations to the singular achievements of this ninth-century Persian scholar.” — Michael E. Flannery[page needed]

[edit] Legacy

The modern-day Razi Institute in Tehran, and Razi University in Kermanshah were named after him, and ‘Razi Day’ (‘Pharmacy Day’) is commemorated in Iran every August 27.[34][35]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Robinson, Victor (1944), The story of medicine, New York: New Home Library 
  2. ^ Porter, Dorothy (2005), Health, civilization, and the state: a history of public health from ancient to modern times, New York: Routledge (published 1999), p. 25, ISBN 0-415-20036-9 
  3. ^ History of civilizations of Central Asia, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., ISBN 81-208-1596-3, vol. IV, part two, p. 228.
  4. ^ A J, Arberry (1950 (translation)). Rhazes, The Spiritual Physick of Rhazes. London: John Murray. 
  5. ^ “Rhazes: His career and his writings”, Seminars in Pediatric Infectious Diseases 12 (3): 266–272 
  6. ^ Browne (2001, p. 44)
  7. ^ Hakeem Abdul Hameed, Exchanges between India and Central Asia in the field of Medicine
  8. ^ a b David W. Tschanz, PhD (2003), “Arab(?) Roots of European Medicine”, Heart Views 4 (2).
  9. ^ Richter-Bernburg
  10. ^ Boyce, Mary; Frantz, Grenet (1982). History of Zoroastrianism: Under The Achaemenians. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 90-04-06506-7.  p. 8. See also ( Gnoli, Gerardo. “Avestan geography”. Encyclopaedia Iranica 3. ISBN 0-7100-9121-4.  excerpt: “the question of the identification of Avestan Raya with the Raga in the inscription of Darius I at Bīsotūn […] with Ray[…] has by no means been settled.”)
  11. ^ Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya ar- Razi Biography (c. 850-c. 932). Free Health Encyclopedia, 2006
  12. ^ Long, George (1841). The Penny cyclopædia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Volume 19. C. Knight. p. 445. 
  13. ^ Seff, Philip (1996). Petrified lightning and more amazing stories from “Our fascinating earth”. Chicago, Ill: Contemporary Books. p. 132. ISBN 0-8092-3250-2
  14. ^ “Saab Medical Library – كتاب في الجدري و الحصبة – American University of Beirut”. 1 June 2003. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  15. ^ Gunton, Simon edited and augmented by Patrick, Simon. The History of the Church of Peterborough. published by Richard Chiswell, London (1686). Facsimile edition pub. Clay, Tyas, Watkins and Clay, Peterborough and Stamford (1990). Item Fv. on pp. 187-8.
  16. ^ Islamic Science, the Scholar and Ethics, Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation.
  17. ^ Emilie Savage-Smith (1996), “Medicine”, in Roshdi Rashed, ed., Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, Vol. 3, p. 903-962 [917]. Routledge, London and New York.
  18. ^ A Treatise on the Small-pox and Measles, Translated by William Alexander Greenhill, Published by Printed for the Sydenham Society [by C and J. Adlrd], 1848, pp. 252, URL
  19. ^ M. Th. Houtsma, ed. (1993). E. J. Brill’s First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913-1936, Volume 4. Brill. p. 1101. ISBN 90-04-09790-2
  20. ^ a b Deuraseh, Nurdeng (2008). “Risalat Al-Biruni Fi Fihrist Kutub Al-Razi: A Comprehensive Bibliography of the Works of Abu Bakr Al-Rāzī (d. 313 A.h/925) and Al-Birūni (d. 443/1051)”. Journal of Aqidah and Islamic Thought 9: 51–100. 
  21. ^ a b Abdul Latif Muhammad al-Abd (1978). Al-ṭibb al-rūḥānī li Abū Bakr al-Rāzī. Cairo: Maktabat al-Nahḍa al-Miṣriyya. pp. 4, 13, 18. 
  22. ^ Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and Mehdi Amin Razavi, An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, vol. 1, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 353, quote: “Among the other eminent figures who attacked Rāzī are the Ismāʿīlī philosopher Abū Ḥatem Rāzī, who wrote two books to refute Rāzī’s views on theodicy, prophecy, and miracles; and Nāṣir-i Khusraw. Shahrastānī, however, indicates that such accusations should be doubted since they were made by Ismāʿīlīs, who had been severely attacked by Muḥammad ibn Zakariyyā Rāzī”
  23. ^ a b Sarah Stroumsa (1999). Freethinkers of Medieval Islam: Ibn Al-Rawandi, Abu Bakr Al-Razi and Their Impact on Islamic Thought. Brill. 
  24. ^ a b Kraus, P & Pines, S (1913-1938). “Al-Razi”. Encyclopedia of Islam. p. 1136. 
  25. ^ a b Amira Nowaira (10 May 2010). “When Islamic atheism thrived”. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jennifer Michael Hecht, “Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson”, pg. 227-230
  27. ^ Sarah Stroumsa (1999). Freethinkers of Medieval Islam: Ibn Al-Rawandi, Abu Bakr Al-Razi and Their Impact on Islamic Thought. Brill. pp. 103–104.  Google books preview:
  28. ^ Paul E. Walker (1992). “The Political Implications of Al-Razi’s Philosophy”. In Charles E. Butterworth ed. The Political aspects of Islamic philosophy: essays in honor of Muhsin S. Mahdi. Harvard University Press. pp. 87–89.  Google books preview:
  29. ^ William Montgomery Watt (2004-04-14). “BĪRŪNĪ and the study of non-Islamic Religions”. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  30. ^ Seyyed Hossein Nasr (1993), An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines, p. 166. State University of New York Press, ISBN 0-7914-1516-3.
  31. ^ Shlomo Pines (1986), Studies in Arabic versions of Greek texts and in mediaeval science 2, Brill Publishers, p. 340, ISBN 965-223-626-8 
  32. ^ Shlomo Pines (1986), Studies in Arabic versions of Greek texts and in mediaeval science 2, Brill Publishers, p. 362, ISBN 965-223-626-8 
  33. ^ Rafik Berjak and Muzaffar Iqbal, “Ibn Sina—Al-Biruni correspondence”, Islam & Science, December 2003.
  34. ^ Razi Vaccine & Serum Research Institute.
  35. ^, Razi commemoration day

[edit] References


[edit] Further reading

[edit] Primary literature

[edit] By al-Razi

  • Arberry, A.J. (1950). “The Spiritual Physick of Rhazes”. The Wisdom of the East Series. The Liberty Fund. 
  • See C. Brockelmann for the manuscript of Razi’s extant books in general, see Brockelmann, GAL, I, pp. 268–71 (second edition), Suppl., Vol. I, pp. 418–21.
  • Paul Kraus, Abi Bakr Mohammadi Filii Zachariae Raghensis: Opera Philosophica, fragmentaque quae superssunt. Pars Prior. Cairo 1939. Note: this is the only edition of Al-Razi’s philosophical books and fragments still extant. Only the first volume was published since Kraus’s suicide prevented the publication of the second volume for which he already had gathered a great amount of material. This material was transferred, after his death, to the Institut Francais d’Archeologie Orientale, in Cairo; it still remains to be published.[citation needed]

[edit] By others

  • Ibn Al-Nadim, Fihrist, (ed. Flugel), pp. 299 et sqq.
  • Sa’id al-Andalusi, Tabaqat al-Umam, p. 33
  • Ibn Juljul, Tabaqat al-Atibba w-al-Hukama, (ed. Fu’ad Sayyid), Cairo, 1355/1936, pp. 77–78
  • J. Ruska, Al-Biruni als Quelle fur das Leben und die Schriften al-Razi’s, Isis, Vol. V, 1924, pp. 26–50.
  • Al-Biruni, Epitre de Beruni, contenant le repertoire des ouvres de Muhammad ibn Zakariya ar-Razi, publiee par P. Kraus, Paris, 1936
  • Al-Baihaqi, Tatimmah Siwan al-Hikma, (ed. M. Ghafi), Lahore, 1351/1932
  • Al-Qifti,Tarikh al-Hukama, (ed. Lippert), pp. 27–177
  • Ibn Abi Usaibi’ah,Uyun al-Anba fi Tabaqat al-Atibba, Vol. I, pp. 309–21
  • Abu Al-Faraj ibn al-‘Ibri (Bar-Hebraeus),Mukhtasar Tarikh al-Duwal, (ed. A. Salhani), p. 291
  • Ibn Khallikan, Wafayat al-A’yan, (ed. Muhyi al-Din ‘Abd al-Hamid), Cairo, 1948, No. 678, pp. 244–47
  • Al-Safadi, Nakt al-Himyan, pp. 249–50
  • Ibn Al-‘Imad, Shadharat al-Dhahab, Vol. II, p. 263
  • Al-‘Umari, Masalik al-Absar, Vol. V, Part 2, ff. 301-03 (photostat copy in Dar al-Kutub al-Misriyyah).

[edit] Secondary literature

  • G. S. A. Ranking, The Life and Works of Rhazes, in Proceedings of the Seventeenth International Congress of Medicine, London, 1913, pp. 237–68.
  • Al-Razi als Bahnbrecher einer neuer Chemie, Deutsche Literaturzeitung, 1923, pp. 118–24.
  • Die Alchemie al-Razi’s der Islam, Vol. XXII,pp. 283–319.
  • Uber den gegenwartigen Stand der Razi-Forschung, Archivio di stori della scienza, 1924, Vol. V, pp. 335–47
  • H. H. Shader, ZDMG, 79, pp. 228–35 (see translation into Arabic by Abdurrahman Badawi in al-Insan al-Kamil,Islamica, Vol. XI, Cairo, 1950, pp. 37–44).
  • E. O. von Lippmann, Entstehung und Ausbreitung der Alchemie, Vol. II, p. 181.
  • S. Pines, Die Atomenlehre ar-Razi’s in Beitrage zur islamischen Atomenlehre, Berlin, 1936, pp. 34–93.
  • Dr. Mahmud al-Najmabadi, Shah Hal Muhammad ibn Zakariya, (1318/1900)
  • Gamil Bek, Uqud al-Jauliar, Vol. I, pp. 118–27.
  • Izmirli Haqqi, Ilahiyat, Fak. Macm., Vol. I, p. 151; Vol. II, p. 36, Vol. III, pp. 177 et seq.
  • Abdurrahman Badawi, Min Tarlkh al-Ilhad fi al-Islam Islamica, Vol. II, Cairo, 1945, pp. 198–228.
  • Hirschberg,Geschichte der Augenheilkunde, p. 101.
  • E. G.Browne, Arabian Medicine, Cambridge, 1921, pp. 44–53.
  • M. Meyerhof, Legacy of Islam, pp. 323 et seq.
  • F. Wüstenfeld, Geschichte der Arabischen Arzte und Naturforscher, ftn. 98.
  • L. Leelerc, Histoire de la medicine arabe, Paris, 1876, Vol. I, pp. 337–54.
  • H. P. J. Renaud, A propos du millenaire de Razes, in bulletin de la Societe Irancaise d’Histoire de la medicine, Mars-avril, 1931, pp. 203 et seq.
  • A. Eisen, Kimiya al-Razi, RAAD, DIB, 62/4.
  • Aldo Mieli, La science arabe, Leiden, 1938, pp. 8, 16.
  • Nasr, Science and Civilization in Islam, see. Razes: The Secret of Secrets, p. 273, also pp. 197–200, and Anawati: L’Alchemie arabe in Rased.
  • Browne, Edward Granville (2001). Islamic Medicine. Goodword Books Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 81-87570-19-9
  • M. M. Sharif, A History of Muslim Philosophy
  • Walker, P. “The Political Implications of al-Razi’s Philosophy”, in C. Butterworth (ed.) The Political Aspects of Islamic Philosophy, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 61-94.(1992)
  • Motazed, K. Mohammad Zakaria Razi

[edit] Encyclopedia

[edit] External links




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Name Razi
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Posted: April 7, 2013 by noxprognatus in Texts

Jābir ibn Hayyān

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For other people known as Geber, see Geber.
Jābir ibn Hayyān
Jabir ibn Hayyan.jpg 15th-century European portrait of “Geber”, Codici Ashburnhamiani 1166, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence
Title Abu Musa Jābir ibn Hayyān
Born 722 AD Tus, Persia
Died c. 804 AD
Ethnicity Arab[1][2] or Persian[3]
Era Islamic Golden Age
Creed Shia[4][5]
Main interest(s) Alchemy and Chemistry, Astronomy, Astrology, Medicine and Pharmacy, Philosophy, Physics, philanthropist
Notable work(s) Kitab al-Kimya, Kitab al-Sab’een, Book of the Kingdom, Book of the Balances , Book of Eastern Mercury, etc.

Abu Mūsā Jābir ibn Hayyān (al-Barigi / al-Azdi / al-Kufi / al-Tusi / al-Sufi), often known simply as Geber, (Arabic: جابر بن حیان‎) (Persian: جابرحیان) (c.721–c.815)[6] was a prominent polymath: a chemist and alchemist, astronomer and astrologer, engineer, geographer, philosopher, physicist, and pharmacist and physician. Born and educated in Tus, he later traveled to Kufa. Jābir is held to have been the first practical alchemist.[7]

As early as the 10th century, the identity and exact corpus of works of Jābir was in dispute in Islamic circles.[8] His name was Latinized as “Geber” in the Christian West and in 13th century Europe an anonymous writer, usually referred to as Pseudo-Geber, produced alchemical and metallurgical writings under the pen-name Geber.



[edit] Biography

[edit] Early references

In 988 Ibn al-Nadim compiled the Kitab al-Fihrist which mentions Jabir as a spiritual follower and as a companion to Jafar as-Sadiq (he is not listed among the students of Jafar as-Sadiq but many of the writings of the Jabirian corpus are dedicated to Jafar as-Sadiq). In another reference al-Nadim reports that a group of philosophers claimed Jabir was one of their own members. Another group, reported by al-Nadim, says only The Large Book of Mercy is genuine and that the rest are pseudographical. Their assertions are rejected by al-Nadim.[9] Joining al-Nadim in asserting a real Jabir; Ibn-Wahshiyya (“ibrahim alkindi …book on poison is a great work..”) Rejecting a real Jabir; (the philosopher c.970) Abu Sulayman al-Mantiqi claims the real author is one al-Hasan ibn al-Nakad al-Mawili. 14th century critic of Arabic literature, Jamal al-Din ibn Nubata al-Misri declares all the writings attributed to Jabir doubtful.[10]

[edit] Life and background

Ibrahim was an Omani Natural Philosopher who lived mostly in the 8th century; he was born in Tus, Khorasan, in Iran (Persia),[6] then ruled by the Umayyad Caliphate. Jabir in the classical sources has been entitled differently as al-Azdi al-Barigi or al-Kufi or al-Tusi or al-Sufi.[11] There is a difference of opinion[12] as to whether he was an Arab from Kufa who lived in Khurasan or a Persian from Khorasan who later went to Kufa or whether he was, as some have suggested, of Syrian origin and later lived in Persia and Iraq.[13] His ethnic background is not clear,[11] and sources reference him as an Arab or a Persian.[3] In some sources, he is reported to have been the son of Hayyan al-Azdi, a pharmacist of the Arabian Azd tribe who emigrated from Yemen to Kufa (in present-day Iraq) during the Umayyad Caliphate.[14][15] while Henry Corbin believes Geber seems to have been a client of the ‘Azd tribe.[16] Jābir became an alchemist at the court of Caliph Harun al-Rashid, for whom he wrote the Kitab al-Zuhra (“The Book of Venus”, on “the noble art of alchemy”).[citation needed] Hayyan had supported the Abbasid revolt against the Umayyads, and was sent by them to the province of Khorasan (present day Afghanistan and Iran) to gather support for their cause. He was eventually caught by the Umayyads and executed. His family fled to Yemen,[14][17] where Jābir grew up and studied the Quran, mathematics and other subjects.[14] Jābir’s father’s profession may have contributed greatly to his interest in alchemy.

After the Abbasids took power, Jābir went back to Kufa. He began his career practicing medicine, under the patronage of a Vizir (from the noble Persian family Barmakids) of Caliph Harun al-Rashid. His connections to the Barmakid cost him dearly in the end. When that family fell from grace in 803, Jābir was placed under house arrest in Kufa, where he remained until his death.

It has been asserted that Jābir was a student of the sixth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq and Harbi al-Himyari,[5][8] however other scholars have questioned this theory.[18]

[edit] The Jabirian corpus

An illustration of the various experiments and instruments used by Jabir Ibn Hayyan.

In total, nearly 3,000 treatises and articles are credited to Jabir ibn Hayyan.[19] Following the pioneering work of Paul Kraus, who demonstrated that a corpus of some several hundred works ascribed to Jābir were probably a medley from different hands,[10][20] mostly dating to the late 9th and early 10th centuries, many scholars believe that many of these works consist of commentaries and additions by his followers,[citation needed] particularly of an Ismaili persuasion.[21]

The scope of the corpus is vast: cosmology, music, medicine, magic, biology, chemical technology, geometry, grammar, metaphysics, logic, artificial generation of living beings, along with astrological predictions, and symbolic Imâmî myths.[10]

  • The 112 Books dedicated to the Barmakids, viziers of Caliph Harun al-Rashid. This group includes the Arabic version of the Emerald Tablet, an ancient work that proved a recurring foundation of and source for alchemical operations. In the Middle Ages it was translated into Latin (Tabula Smaragdina) and widely diffused among European alchemists.
  • The Seventy Books, most of which were translated into Latin during the Middle Ages. This group includes the Kitab al-Zuhra (“Book of Venus”) and the Kitab Al-Ahjar (“Book of Stones”).
  • The Ten Books on Rectification, containing descriptions of alchemists such as Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.
  • The Books on Balance; this group includes his most famous ‘Theory of the balance in Nature’.

Jābir states in his Book of Stones (4:12) that “The purpose is to baffle and lead into error everyone except those whom God loves and provides for”. His works seem to have been deliberately written in highly esoteric code (see steganography), so that only those who had been initiated into his alchemical school could understand them. It is therefore difficult at best for the modern reader to discern which aspects of Jābir’s work are to be read as symbols (and what those symbols mean), and what is to be taken literally. Because his works rarely made overt sense, the term gibberish is believed to have originally referred to his writings (Hauck, p. 19).

[edit] People

Jābir’s interest in alchemy was probably inspired by his teacher Ja’far as-Sadiq. When he used to talk about alchemy, he would say “my master Ja’far as-Sadiq taught me about calcium, evaporation, distillation and crystallization and everything I learned in alchemy was from my master Ja’far as-Sadiq.” Imam Jafar was famed for his depth and breadth of knowledge. In addition to his knowledge of Islamic sciences, Imam Jafar was well educated in natural sciences, mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, anatomy, chemistry (alchemy), and other subjects. The foremost Islamic alchemist Jabir bin Hayyan was his most prominent student. Other famous students of his were Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik Ibn Anas, the founders of two Sunni schools of jurisprudence, and Wasil ibn Ata, the founder of the Mutazilite school of Islamic thought. Imam Jafar was known for his liberal views on learning, and was keen to debate with scholars of different faiths and of different beliefs. Imam Abu Hanifa is quoted by many souces as having said “My knowledge extends to only two years. The two I spent with Imam Jafar Sadiq”, some Islamic scholars have gone so far as to call Imam Jafar Saddiq as the root of most of Islamic jurisprudence, having a massive influence on Hanafi, Maliki and Shia schools of thought extending well into mainstream Hanbali and Shafi’i thought. Imam Jafar also attained a surpassing knowledge in astronomy and in the science of medicine. it is said that he wrote more than five hundred books on health care which were compiled and annotated by another great scholar and scientist of Islam, Jabir bin Hayyan

Jābir professes to draw his inspiration from earlier writers, legendary and historic, on the subject.[22] In his writings, Jābir pays tribute to Egyptian and Greek alchemists Zosimos, Democritus, Hermes Trismegistus, Agathodaimon, but also Plato, Aristotle, Galen, Pythagoras, and Socrates as well as the commentators Alexander of Aphrodisias Simplicius, Porphyry and others.[10] A huge pseudo-epigraphic literature of alchemical books was composed in Arabic, among which the names of Persian authors also appear like Jāmāsb, Ostanes, Mani, testifying that alchemy-like operations on metals and other substances were also practiced in Persia. The great number of Persian technical names (zaybaq = mercury, nošāder = sal-ammoniac) also corroborates the idea of an important Iranian root of medieval alchemy.[23] Ibn al-Nadim reports a dialogue between Aristotle and Ostanes, the Persian alchemist of Achaemenid era, which is in Jabirian corpus under the title of Kitab Musahhaha Aristutalis.[24] Ruska had suggested that the Sasanian medical schools played an important role in the spread of interest in alchemy.[23] He emphasizes the long history of alchemy, “whose origin is Arius … the first man who applied the first experiment on the [philosopher’s] stone… and he declares that man possesses the ability to imitate the workings of Nature” (Nasr, Seyyed Hussein, Science and Civilization of Islam).

[edit] Theories

Jābir’s alchemical investigations ostensibly revolved around the ultimate goal of takwin — the artificial creation of life. The Book of Stones includes several recipes for creating creatures such as scorpions, snakes, and even humans in a laboratory environment, which are subject to the control of their creator. What Jābir meant by these recipes is unknown.

Jābir’s alchemical investigations were theoretically grounded in an elaborate numerology related to Pythagorean and Neoplatonic systems. The nature and properties of elements was defined through numeric values assigned the Arabic consonants present in their name, ultimately culminating in the number 17.

By Jabirs’ time Aristotelian physics, had become Neoplatonic. Each Aristotelian element was composed of these qualities: fire was both hot and dry, earth, cold and dry, water cold and moist, and air, hot and moist. This came from the elementary qualities which are theoretical in nature plus substance. In metals two of these qualities were interior and two were exterior. For example, lead was cold and dry and gold was hot and moist. Thus, Jābir theorized, by rearranging the qualities of one metal, a different metal would result. Like Zosimos, Jabir believed this would require a catalyst, an al-iksir, the elusive elixir that would make this transformation possible — which in European alchemy became known as the philosopher’s stone.[10]

According to Jabir’s mercury-sulfur theory, metals differ from each in so far as they contain different proportions of the sulfur and mercury. These are not the elements that we know by those names, but certain principles to which those elements are the closest approximation in nature.[25] Based on Aristotle’s “exhalation” theory the dry and moist exhalations become sulfur and mercury (sometimes called “sophic” or “philosophic” mercury and sulfur). The sulfur-mercury theory is first recorded in a 7th century work Secret of Creation credited (falsely) to Balinus (Apollonius of Tyana). This view becomes wide spread.[26] In the Book of Explanation Jabir says

the metals are all, in essence, composed of mercury combined and coagulated with sulphur [that has risen to it in earthy, smoke-like vapors]. They differ from one another only because of the difference of their accidental qualities, and this difference is due to the difference of their sulphur, which again is caused by a variation in the soils and in their positions with respect to the heat of the sun

Holmyard says that Jabir proves by experiment that these are not ordinary sulfur and mercury.[14]

The seeds of the modern classification of elements into metals and non-metals could be seen in his chemical nomenclature. He proposed three categories:[27]

The origins of the idea of chemical equivalents might be traced back to Jabir, in whose time it was recognized that “a certain quantity of acid is necessary in order to neutralize a given amount of base.”[28][verification needed] Jābir also made important contributions to medicine, astronomy/astrology, and other sciences. Only a few of his books have been edited and published, and fewer still are available in translation.

[edit] Laboratory equipment and material

Ambix, cucurbit and retort of Zosimus, from Marcelin Berthelot, Collection of ancient greek alchemists (3 vol., Paris, 1887–1888).

Jabirian corpus is renowned for its contributions to alchemy. It shows a clear recognition of the importance of experimentation, “The first essential in chemistry is that thou shouldest perform practical work and conduct experiments, for he who performs not practical work nor makes experiments will never attain to the least degree of mastery.”[29] He is credited with the use of over twenty types of now-basic chemical laboratory equipment,[30] such as the alembic[31] and retort, and with the description of many now-commonplace chemical processes – such as crystallisation, various forms of alchemical “distillation”, and substances citric acid (the sour component of lemons and other unripe fruits), acetic acid (from vinegar) and tartaric acid (from wine-making residues), arsenic, antimony and bismuth, sulfur, and mercury[29][30] that have become the foundation of today’s chemistry.[32]

The works in Latin under the name of Geber include these important chemical processes (Von Meyer, 1906): The manufacture of nitric and sulfuric acids; The separation of gold from other metals through the agency of lead and saltpeter (potassium nitrate). The concept of a chemical compound; the mineral cinnabar, for example, as being composed of sulfur and mercury The purification of mercury. The classification of salts as water soluble, under the generic title “sal.” The introduction of the word “alkali” to designate substances such as lye and other bases. The production of nitric acid by distilling a mixture of saltpeter (potassium nitrate), copper vitriol (copper sulfate), and alum (naturally occurring sulfate of iron, potassium, sodium or aluminum). The production of sulfuric acid through the heating of alum . The production of aqua regia, a solvent capable of dissolving gold, by mixing salmiac (ammonium chloride) and nitric acid. The production of alum from alum shale by recrystallizing it from water. The purification of substances through crystallization The precipitation of silver nitrate crystals from a solution by the addition of common salt, thus establishing a test for the presence of both silver and salt. The preparation of mercuric oxide from mercury by heating it with a metallic oxide, and mercuric chloride by heating mercury with common salt, alum and saltpeter. The preparation of arsenious acid. The dissolving of sulfur in solutions of alkalies, and its transformation when it interacts with aqua regia. The theory that the different metals are composed of varying degrees of sulfur and mercury. The production of saltpeter by mixing potash (potassium carbonate) and nitric acid. [33]

According to Ismail al-Faruqi and Lois Lamya al-Faruqi, “In response to Jafar al-Sadik‘s wishes, [Jabir ibn Hayyan] invented a kind of paper that resisted fire, and an ink that could be read at night[disambiguation needed]. He invented an additive which, when applied to an iron surface, inhibited rust and when applied to a textile, would make it water repellent.”[34]

[edit] Alcohol and the mineral acids

According to Forbes “no proof was ever found that the Arabs knew alcohol or any mineral acid in a period before they were discovered in Italy, whatever the opinion of some modern authors may be on this point.”[35] However this claim is due to Forbes (and others) lack of knowledge of Arabic texts, and a number of instances of distillation of wine have been found by Ahmad Y. Al-Hassan.[36] Fractional distillation of alcohol first occurs about 1100 probably in Salerno. Magister Salernus (died 1167) provides one of the earliest direct recipes.[35] Directions to make sulfuric acid, nitric acid and aqua regis appear in Liber Fornacum, De inventione perfectionis, and the Summa.[35]

[edit] Legacy

An artistic depiction of “Geber”

Whether there was a real Jabir in the 8th century or not, his name would become the most famous in alchemy.[18] He paved the way for most of the later alchemists, including al-Kindi, al-Razi, al-Tughrai and al-Iraqi[disambiguation needed], who lived in the 9th–13th centuries. His books strongly influenced the medieval European alchemists[32] and justified their search for the philosopher’s stone.[37][38] In the Middle Ages, Jabir’s treatises on alchemy were translated into Latin and became standard texts for European alchemists. These include the Kitab al-Kimya (titled Book of the Composition of Alchemy in Europe), translated by Robert of Chester (1144); and the Kitab al-Sab’een (Book of Seventy) by Gerard of Cremona (before 1187). Marcelin Berthelot translated some of his books under the fanciful titles Book of the Kingdom, Book of the Balances, and Book of Eastern Mercury. Several technical Arabic terms introduced by Jabir, such as alkali, have found their way into various European languages and have become part of scientific vocabulary.

Max Meyerhoff states the following on Jabir ibn Hayyan: “His influence may be traced throughout the whole historic course of European alchemy and chemistry.”[32]

The historian of chemistry Erick John Holmyard gives credit to Jābir for developing alchemy into an experimental science and he writes that Jābir’s importance to the history of chemistry is equal to that of Robert Boyle and Antoine Lavoisier. The historian Paul Kraus, who had studied most of Jābir’s extant works in Arabic and Latin, summarized the importance of Jābir to the history of chemistry by comparing his experimental and systematic works in chemistry with that of the allegorical and unintelligible works of the ancient Greek alchemists.[39] The word gibberish is theorized to be derived from the Latinised version off Jābir’s name,[40] in reference to the incomprehensible technical jargon often used by alchemists, the most famous of whom was Jābir.[41] Other sources such as the Oxford English Dictionary suggest the term stems from gibber; however, the first known recorded use of the term “gibberish” was before the first known recorded use of the word “gibber” (see Gibberish).

[edit] Quotation

  • “My wealth let sons and brethren part. Some things they cannot share: my work well done, my noble heart — these are mine own to wear.”[42]

[edit] The Geber problem

The identity of the author of works attributed to Jabir has long been discussed.[8] According to a famous controversy,[43] pseudo-Geber has been considered as the unknown author of several books in Alchemy.[44] This was first independently suggested, on textual and other grounds, by the 19th-century historians Hermann Kopp and Marcellin Berthelot.[45] Jabir, by reputation the greatest chemist of Islam, has long been familiar to western readers under the name of Geber, which is the medieval rendering of the Arabic Jabir, the Geber of the Middle Ages.[46] The works in Latin corpus were considered to be translations until the studies of Kopp, Hoefer, Berthelot, and Lippman. Although they reflect earlier Arabic alchemy they are not direct translations of “Jabir” but are the work of a 13th century Latin alchemist.[47] Eric Holmyard says in his book Makers of Chemistry Clarendon press.(1931).[48]

There are, however, certain other Latin works, entitled The Sum of Perfection, The Investigation of Perfection, The Invention of Verity, The Book of Furnaces, and The Testament, which pass under his name but of which no Arabic original is known. A problem which historians of chemistry have not yet succeeded in solving is whether these works are genuine or not.

However by 1957 AD when he (Holmyard) wrote Alchemy. Courier Dover Publications. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-486-26298-7. Holmyard had abandoned the idea of an Arabic original. (although they are based on “Islamic” alchemical theories)

The question at once arises whether the Latin works are genuine translations from the Arabic, or written by a Latin author and, according to common practice, ascribed to Jabir in order to heighten their authority. That they are based on Muslim alchemical theory and practice is not questioned, but the same may be said of most Latin treatises on alchemy of that period; and from various turns of phrase it seems likely that their author could read Arabic. But the general style of the works is too clear and systematic to find a close parallel in any of the known writings of the Jabirian corpus, and we look in vain in them for any references to the characteristically Jabirian ideas of “balance” and the alphabetic numerology. Indeed for their age they have a remarkably matter of fact air about them, theory being stated with a minimum of prolixity and much precise practical detail being given. The general impression they convey is that they are the product of an occidental rather than an oriental mind, and a likely guess would be that they were written by a European scholar, possibly in Moorish Spain. Whatever their origin, they became the principal authorities in early Western alchemy and held that position for two or three centuries.

The question of Geber’s identity, whether he is the original Jābir or a “pseudo-Geber” adopting his name, is still in dispute(1962).[49] It is said that Geber, the Latinized form of “Jābir,” was adopted presumably because of the great reputation of a supposed 8th-century alchemist by the name of Jābir ibn Hayyān.[50] About this historical figure, however, there was considerable uncertainty a century ago,[51] and the uncertainty continues today.[52] This is sometimes called the “Geber-Jābir problem”.[53] It is possible that some of the facts mentioned in the Latin works, ascribed to Geber and dating from the 12th century and later, must also be placed to Jabir’s credit. It is important to consider that it is impossible to reach definite conclusions until all the Arabic writings ascribed to Jābir have been properly edited and discussed.[46]

[edit] The Pseudo-Geber corpus

The Latin corpus consists of books with an author named “Geber” for which researchers have failed to find a text in Arabic. Although these books are heavily influenced by Arabic books written by Jābir, the “real” Geber, and by Al Razi and others, they were never written in Arabic. They are in Latin only, they date from about the year 1310, and their author is called Pseudo-Geber:

  • Summa perfectionis magisterii (“The Height of the Perfection of Mastery”).[54]
  • Liber fornacum (“Book of Stills”),
  • De investigatione perfectionis (“On the Investigation of Perfection”), and
  • De inventione veritatis (“On the Discovery of Truth”).
  • Testamentum gerberi

The 2nd, 3rd and 4th books listed above “are merely extracts from or summaries of the Summa Perfectionis Magisterii with later additions.”[55]

[edit] English translations of Jābir and the pseudo-Geber

  • Syed Nomanul Haq, Names, Natures and Things: The Alchemists Jabir ibn Hayyan and his Kitab al-Ahjar (Book of Stones), [Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science p. 158] (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994), ISBN 0-7923-3254-7.
  • Donald Routledge Hill, ‘The Literature of Arabic Alchemy’ in Religion: Learning and Science in the Abbasid Period, ed. by M.J.L. Young, J.D. Latham and R.B. Serjeant (Cambridge University Press, 1990) pp. 328–341, esp. pp 333–5.
  • E. J. Holmyard (ed.) The Arabic Works of Jabir ibn Hayyan, translated by Richard Russel in 1678. New York, E. P. Dutton (1928); Also Paris, P. Geuther.
  • Geber and William R. Newman, The Summa Perfectionis of Pseudo-Geber: A Critical Edition, Translation and Study ISBN 90-04-09466-4.
  • William R. Newman, New Light on the Identity of Geber, Sudhoffs Archiv, 1985, Vol.69, pp. 76–90.

[edit] Popular culture

  • In S.H.I.E.L.D, Jabir appears as the 8th century leader of the organization.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Kraus, P. (1962). “Djābir B. Ḥayyān”. Encyclopaedia of Islam 2 (2nd ed.). Brill Academic Publishers. pp. 357–359. “As for Djābir’s historic personality, Holmyard has suggested that his father was “a certain Azdī called Hayyan, druggist of Kufa…mentioned…in connection with the political machinations that were used by many people, in the eighth century, finally resulted in the overthrow of the Umayyad dynasty.” 
  2. ^ Holmyard, Eric John, “Introduction” to The Works of Geber, Englished by Richard Russell (London: Dent, 1928), p. vii: “Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan, generally known merely as Jabir, was the son of a druggist belonging to the famous South Arabian tribe of Al-Azd. Members of this tribe had settled at the town of Kufa, in Iraq, shortly after the Muhammadan conquest in the seventh century A.D., and it was in Kufa that Hayyan the druggist lived.”
  3. ^ a b
    • William R. Newman, Gehennical Fire: The Lives of George Starkey, an American Alchemist in the Scientific Revolution, Harvard University Press, 1994. p.94: “According to traditional bio-bibliography of Muslims, Jabir ibn Hayyan was a Persian alchemist who lived at some time in the eighth century and wrote a wealth of books on virtually every aspect of natural philosophy”
    • William R. Newman, The Occult and Manifest Among the Alchemist, in F. J. Ragep, Sally P Ragep, Steven John Livesey, Tradition, Transmission, Transformation: Proceedings of Two Conferences on pre-Modern science held at University of Oklahoma, Brill, 1996/1997, p.178: “This language of extracting the hidden nature formed an important lemma for the extensive corpus associated with the Persian alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan”
    • Henry Corbin, “The Voyage and the Messenger: Iran and Philosophy”, Translated by Joseph H. Rowe, North Atlantic Books, 1998. p.45: “The Nisba al-Azdin certainly does not necessarily indicate Arab origin. Geber seems to have been a client (mawla) of the Azd tribe established in Kufa”
    • Tamara M. Green, “The City of the Moon God: Religious Traditions of Harran (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World)”, Brill, 1992. p.177: “His most famous student was the Persian *Jabir ibn Hayyan (b. circa 721 C.E.), under whose name the vast corpus of alchemical writing circulated in the medieval period in both the east and west, although many of the works attributed to Jabir have been demonstrated to be likely product of later Ismaili’ tradition.”
    • David Gordon White, “The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India”, University of Chicago Press, 1996. p.447
    • William R. Newman, Promethean Ambitions: Alchemy and the Quest to Perfect Nature, University of Chicago Press, 2004. p.181: “The corpus ascribed to the eighth-century Persian sage Jabir ibn Hayyan..”
    • Wilbur Applebaum, The Scientific revolution and the foundation of modern science, Greenwood Press, 1995. p.44: “The chief source of Arabic alchemy was associated with the name, in its Latinized form, of Geber, an eighth-century Persian.”
    • Neil Kamil, Fortress of the Soul: Violence, Metaphysics, and Material Life in the Huguenots New World, 1517–1751 (Early America: History, Context, Culture), JHU Press, 2005. p.182: “The ninth-century Persian alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan, also known as Geber, is accurately called pseudo-Geber since most of the works published under this name in the West were forgeries”
    • Aleksandr Sergeevich Povarennykh, Crystal Chemical Classification of Minerals, Plenum Press, 1972, v.1, ISBN 0-306-30348-5, p.4: “The first to give separate consideration to minerals and other inorganic substances were the following: The Persian alchemist Jabir (721–815)…”
    • George Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, Pub. for the Carnegie Institution of Washington, by the Williams & Wilkins Company, 1931, vol.2 pt.1, page 1044: “Was Geber, as the name would imply, the Persian alchemist Jabir ibn Haiyan?”
    • Dan Merkur, in The psychoanalytic study of society (eds. Bryce Boyer, et al.), vol. 18, Routledge, ISBN 0-88163-161-2, page 352: “I would note that the Persian alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan developed the theory that all metals consist of different ‘balances’ …”
    • Anthony Gross, The Dissolution of the Lancastrian Kingship: Sir John Fortescue and the Crisis of Monarchy in Fifteenth-century England, Paul Watkins, 1996, ISBN 1-871615-90-9, p.19: “Ever since the Seventy Books attributed to the Persian alchemist Jabir Ibn Hayyan had been translated into Latin ….”
  4. ^ Henderson, Joseph L.; Dyane N. Sherwood (2003). Transformation of the Psyche: The Symbolic Alchemy of the Splendor Solis. East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press. p. 11. ISBN 1-58391-950-3
  5. ^ a b Haq, Syed N. (1994). Names, Natures and Things. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume 158/ Kluwar Academic Publishers. pp. 14–20. ISBN 0-7923-3254-7
  6. ^ a b “Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan”. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 11 February 2008. 
  7. ^ Julian, Franklyn, Dictionary of the Occult, Kessinger Publishing, 2003, ISBN 0-7661-2816-4, ISBN 978-0-7661-2816-3, p. 8.
  8. ^ a b c Glick, Thomas; Eds (2005). Medieval science, technology, and medicine: an encyclopedia. New York: Routledge. p. 279. ISBN 0-415-96930-1 
  9. ^ Glick, Thomas F.; Livesey, Steven John; Wallis, Faith (2005). Medieval science, technology, and medicine: an encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-96930-7. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Haq, Syed Nomanul (28 February 1995). Names, Natures and Things: The Alchemist Jabir Ibn Hayyan and His Kitab Al-Ahjar (Book of Stones). Springer. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-7923-3254-1. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  11. ^ a b S.N. Nasr, “Life Sciences, Alchemy and Medicine”, The Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge, Volume 4, 1975, p. 412: “Jabir is entitled in the traditional sources as al-Azdi, al-Kufi, al-Tusi, al-Sufi. There is a debate as to whether he was an Arab from Kufa who lived in Khurasan or a Persian from Khorasan who later went to Kufa or whether he was, as some have suggested, of Syrian origin and later lived in Persia and Iraq”.
  12. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named moohanad; see the help page.
  13. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named kalfan; see the help page.
  14. ^ a b c d Holmyard, Eric John (1931). Makers of chemistry. The Clarendon press. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  15. ^ Richard Russell (1928). In Holmyard, E.J. The Works of Geber. ISBN 0-7661-0015-4
  16. ^ Henry Corbin, “The Voyage and the Messenger: Iran and Philosophy”, Translated by Joseph H. Rowe, North Atlantic Books, 1998. p.45: “The Nisba al-Azdin certainly does not necessarily indicate Arab origin. Geber seems to have been a client of the Azd tribe established in Kufa”
  17. ^ E. J. Holmyard (ed.) The Arabic Works of Jabir ibn Hayyan, translated by Richard Russell in 1678. New York, E. P. Dutton (1928); Also Paris, P. Geuther.
  18. ^ a b “Iranica JAʿFAR AL-ṢĀDEQ iv. And Esoteric sciences. Retrieved 11 June 2011 The historical relations between Jaʿfar al-Ṣādeq and Jāber b. Ḥayyān remain very controversial, as they are linked to still unresolved questions about dating, composition, and authorship of the texts attributed to Jāber. Scholars such as Julius Ruska, Paul Kraus, and Pierre Lory consider Jaʿfar al-Ṣādeq’s involvement in the transmission of alchemical knowledge as a literary fiction, whereas Fuat Sezgin, Toufic Fahd, and Nomanul Haq are rather inclined to accept the existence of alchemical activity in Medina in Jaʿfar al-Ṣādeq’s time, although they remain cautious regarding the authenticity of the attribution of the Jaberian corpus to Jāber b. Ḥayyān and of the alchemical works to Jaʿfar al-Ṣādeq (Ruska, 1924, pp. 40–52; idem, 1927, pp. 264–66; Kraus, I, pp. LV-LVII; Lory, pp. 14–21, 57–59, 101–7; Sezgin, I, p. 529, IV, pp. 128–31; Fahd, 1970, pp. 139–41; Nomanul Haq, pp. 3–47).
  19. ^ Josef W. Meri, Jere L. Bacharach (2006). Medieval Islamic Civilization. Taylor and Francis. p. 25. ISBN 0-415-96691-4 
  20. ^ Jabir Ibn Hayyan. Vol. 1. Le corpus des ecrits jabiriens. George Olms Verlag, 1989
  21. ^ Paul Kraus, Jabir ibn Hayyan: Contribution à l’histoire des idées scientifiques dans l’Islam, cited Robert Irwin, ‘The long siesta’ in Times Literary Supllement, 25/1/2008 p.8
  22. ^ Julian, Franklyn, Dictionary of the Occult, Kessinger Publishing, 2003, ISBN 0-7661-2816-4, ISBN 978-0-7661-2816-3, p. 9.
  23. ^ a b KIMIĀ (“Alchemy”), encyclopedia Iranica, Retrieved on 14 February 2009.
  24. ^ “History of Islamic Science”. University of Southern California. 
  25. ^ Holmyard, E. J. (1931). Makers of Chemistry. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 57–8. 
  26. ^ Norris, John (March 2006). “The Mineral Exhalation Theory of Metallogenesis in Pre-Modern Mineral Science”. Ambix (Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry) 53: 43–65. doi:10.1179/174582306X93183
  27. ^ Georges C. Anawati, “Arabic alchemy”, in R. Rashed (1996), The Encyclopaedia of the History of Arabic Science, Vol. 3, p. 853-902 [866].
  28. ^ Schufle, J. A.; Thomas, George (Winter 1971). “Equivalent Weights from Bergman’s Data on Phlogiston Content of Metals”. Isis 62 (4): 500. doi:10.1086/350792 
  29. ^ a b Holmyard, E. J. (1931). Makers of Chemistry. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 60. 
  30. ^ a b Ansari, Farzana Latif; Qureshi, Rumana; Qureshi, Masood Latif (1998). Electrocyclic reactions: from fundamentals to research. Wiley-VCH. p. 2. ISBN 3-527-29755-3 
  31. ^ Will Durant (1980). The Age of Faith (The Story of Civilization, Volume 4), p. 162-186. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-01200-2.
  32. ^ a b c Ḥusain, Muẓaffar. Islam’s Contribution to Science. Page 94.
  33. ^ Asimov, Isaac. 1982. Asimov’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-17771-2
  34. ^ Ismail al-Faruqi and Lois Lamya al-Faruqi (1986), The Cultural Atlas of Islam, p. 328, New York
  35. ^ a b c Forbes, Robert James (1970). A short history of the art of distillation: from the beginnings up to the death of Cellier Blumenthal. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-00617-1. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  36. ^ “Studies in al-Kimya – critical issues in Latin and Arabic Alchemy” by Ahmad Y. al-Hassan, published by Georg Olms Verlag 2009. Chapter 9 “Alcohol and the distillation of wine in Arabic Sources from the 8th century.”
  37. ^ Ragai, Jehane (1992). “The Philosopher’s Stone: Alchemy and Chemistry”. Journal of Comparative Poetics 12 (Metaphor and Allegory in the Middle Ages): 58–77 
  38. ^ Holmyard, E. J. (1924). “Maslama al-Majriti and the Rutbatu’l-Hakim”. Isis 6 (3): 293–305 
  39. ^ Kraus, Paul, Jâbir ibn Hayyân, Contribution à l’histoire des idées scientifiques dans l’Islam. I. Le corpus des écrits jâbiriens. II. Jâbir et la science grecque,. Cairo (1942–1943). Repr. By Fuat Sezgin, (Natural Sciences in Islam. 67–68), Frankfurt. 2002
  40. ^ gibberish, Grose 1811 Dictionary
  41. ^ Seaborg, Glenn T. (March 1980). “Our heritage of the elements”. Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B (Springer Boston) 11 (1): 5–19 
  42. ^ Holmyard, Eric John. Alchemy. Page 82
  43. ^ Arthur John Hopkins, Alchemy Child of Greek Philosophy, Published by Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2007, ISBN 0-548-13547-9, p. 140
  44. ^ “Geber”. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  45. ^ Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the Culture of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance By Pamela O. Long Edition: illustrated Published by JHU Press, 2001 ISBN 0-8018-6606-5, ISBN 978-0-8018-6606-7
  46. ^ a b Alchemy on Islamic Times, Retrieved on 14 February 2009.
  47. ^ Ihde, Aaron John (1 April 1984). The development of modern chemistry. Courier Dover Publications. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-486-64235-2. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  48. ^ Makers of Chemistry, by Eric John Holmyard,… – Eric John Holmyard – Google Boeken. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  49. ^ P. Crosland, Maurice, Historical Studies in the Language of Chemistry, Courier Dover Publications, 2004 1962, ISBN 0-486-43802-3, ISBN 978-0-486-43802-3, p. 15
  50. ^ Long, Pamela O. (2001). Openness, secrecy, authorship: technical arts and the culture of knowledge from antiquity to the Renaissance. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-6606-5
  51. ^ Hugh Chisholm, ed. (1910). “Geber”. Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (11th ed.). pp. 545–546. 
  52. ^ An authoritative summary and analysis of current scholarship on this question may be found in Lawrence M. Principe, The Secrets of Alchemy, University of Chicago Press, 2013, pp. 33-45 and 54-58.
  53. ^ Thomas F. Glick, Steven John Livesey, Faith Wallis, Medieval Science, Technology, and Medicine: An Encyclopedia, Routledge, 2005, ISBN 0-415-96930-1, ISBN 978-0-415-96930-7, p. 279-300
  54. ^ William R. Newman, The Summa Perfectionis of Pseudo-Geber. A Critical Edition, Translation and Study, Leyde: E. J. Brill, 1991 (Collection de travaux de l’Académie Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences, 35).
  55. ^ Quote from Marcellin Berthelot at
  56. ^ Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. ISBN 006112416, p. 82.

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Scholars of Khorasan
Although this is not a text. I will be posting Authors and works by great minds, that may aid you in your research. Nox


1. In two and thirty most occult and wonderful paths of wisdom did JAH the Lord of Hosts engrave his name: God of the armies of Israel, ever-living God, merciful and gracious, sublime, dwelling on high, who inhabiteth eternity. He created this universe by the three Sepharim, Number, Writing, and Speech.

2. Ten are the numbers, as are the Sephiroth, and twenty-two the letters, these are the Foundation of all things. Of these letters, three are mothers, seven are double, and twelve are simple.

3. The ten numbers formed from nothing are the Decad: these are seen in the fingers of the hands, five on one, five on the other, and over them is the Covenant by voice spiritual, and the rite of Circumcision, corporeal (as of Abraham).

4. Ten are the numbers of the ineffable Sephiroth, ten and not nine, ten and not eleven. Learn this wisdom, and be wise in the understanding of it, investigate these numbers, and draw knowledge from them, fix the design in its purity, and pass from it to its Creator seated on his throne.

5. These Ten Numbers, beyond the Infinite one, have the boundless realms, boundless origin and end, an abyss of good and one of evil, boundless height and depth, East and West, North and South, and the one only God and king, faithful forever seated on his throne, shall rule over all, forever and ever.

6. These ten Sephiroth which are ineffable, whose appearance is like scintillating flames, have no end but are infinite. The word of God is in them as they burst forth, and as they return; they obey the divine command, rushing along as a whirlwind, returning to prostrate themselves at his throne.

7. These ten Sephiroth which are, moreover, ineffable, have their end even as their beginning, conjoined, even as is a flame to a burning coal: for our God is superlative in his unity, and does not permit any second one. And who canst thou place before the only one?

8. And as to this Decad of the Sephiroth, restrain thy lips from comment, and thy mind from thought of them, and if thy heart fail thee return to thy place; therefore is it written, “The living creatures ran and returned,” and on this wise was the covenant made with us.

9. These are the ten emanations of number. One is the Spirit of the Living God, blessed and more than blessed be the name of the Living God of Ages. The Holy Spirit is his Voice, his Spirit, and his Word.

10. Second, from the Spirit he made Air and formed for speech twenty-two letters, three of which are mothers, A, M, SH, seven are double, B, G, D, K, P, R, T, and twelve are single, E, V, Z, CH, H, I, L, N, S, O, Tz, Q, but the spirit is first among these. Third, Primitive Water. He also formed and designed from his Spirit, and from the void and formless made earth, even as a rampart, or standing wall, and varied its surface even as the crossing of beams. Fourth, from the Water, He designed Fire, and from it formed for himself a throne of honor, with Auphanim, Seraphim, Holy Animals, and ministering Angels, and with these he formed his dwelling, as is written in the text “Who maketh his angels spirits and his ministers a flaming fire.” (Psalm civ. 4.)

11. He selected three letters from the simple ones, and sealed them as forming his great Name, I H V and he sealed the universe in six directions.

Five.- He looked above, and sealed the height, with I H V.

Six.- He looked below, and sealed the deep, with I V H.

Seven.- He looked forward, and sealed the East, with H I V.

Eight.-He looked backward, and sealed the West, with V H I.

Nine.- He looked to the right, and sealed the South, with V I H.

Ten.-He looked to the left, and sealed the North, with H V 1.

12. These are the ten ineffable existences, the spirit of the living God, Air, Water, Fire, Height and Depth, East and West, North and South.


1. The foundations are the twenty-two letters, three mothers, seven double, and twelve single letters. Three mothers, namely A, M, SH, these are Air, Water, and Fire: Mute as Water, Hissing as Fire, and Air of a spiritual type, is as the tongue of a balance standing erect between them pointing out the equilibrium which exists.

2. He hath formed, weighed, transmuted, composed, and created with these twenty-two letters every living being, and every soul yet uncreated.

3. Twenty-two letters are formed by the voice, impressed on the air, and audibly uttered in five situations, in the throat, guttural sounds; in the palate, palatals; by the tongue, linguals; through the teeth, dentals; and by the lips, labial sounds.

4. These twenty-two letters, the foundations, He arranged as on a sphere, with two hundred and thirty-one modes of entrance. If the sphere be rotated forward, good is implied, if in a retrograde manner evil is intended.

5. For He indeed showed the mode of combination of the letters, each with each, Aleph with all, and all with Aleph. Thus in combining all together in pairs are produced these two hundred and thirty-one gates of knowledge. And from Nothingness did He make something, and all forms of speech and every created thing, and from the empty void He made the solid earth, and from the non-existent He brought forth Life.

He hewed, as it were, immense column or colossal pillars, out of the intangible air, and from the empty space. And this is the impress of the whole, twenty-one letters, all from one the Aleph.


1. The three mother letters A, M, SH are the foundations of the whole; and resemble a Balance, the good in one scale, the evil in the other, and the oscillating tongue of the Balance between them.

2. These three mothers enclose a mighty mystery, most occult and most marvelous, sealed as with six rings, and from them proceed primeval Fire, Water, and Air; these are subsequently differentiated into male and female. At first existed these three mothers, and there arose three masculine powers, and hence all things have originated.

3. The three mothers are A, M, SH; and in the beginning as to the Macrocosm the Heavens were created from Fire;nthe Earth from primeval Water; and the Air was formed from the Spirit, which stands alone in the midst, and is the Mediator between them.

4. In the Year or as regards Time, these three mothers represent Heat, Cold, and a Temperate climate, the heat from the fire, the cold from the water, and the temperate state from the spiritual air which again is an equalizer between them.

These three mothers again represent in the Microcosm or Human form, male and female; the Head, the Belly, and the Chest; the bead from the fire, the belly from water, and the chest from the air lieth between them.

5. These three mothers did he create, form, and design, and combine with the three mothers in the world, and in the year, and in Man, both male and female.

He caused Aleph to reign in the air, and crown it, and combined one with the other, and with these he sealed the Air in the world, the temperate climate of the year, and the chest (the lungs for breathing air) in man; the male with A, M, SH, the female with SH, M, A. He caused Mem to predominate in Water, and crowned it, and combined it with others, and formed Earth on the world, cold in the year, and the fruit of the womb in mankind, being carried in the belly.

He caused Shin to reign in Fire and crowned it, and he combined one with the other, and sealed them, as heaven in the universe, as heat in the year, and as the head of Man and Woman.


1. There were formed seven double letters, Beth, Gimel, Daleth, Kaph, Pe, Resh, Tau, each has two voices, either aspirated or softened. These are the foundations of Life, Peace, Riches, Beauty or Reputation, Wisdom, Fruitfulness, and Power. These are double, because their opposites take part in life, opposed to Life is Death; to Peace, War; to Riches, Poverty; to Beauty or Reputation, Deformity or Disrepute; to Wisdom, Ignorance; to Fruitfulness, Sterility; to Power, Slavery.

2. These seven double letters point out the dimensions, East, West, height, depth, North, South, with the holy temple in the middle, sustaining all things.

3. These seven double letters He formed, designed, created, and combined into the Stars of the Universe, the days of the week, the orifices of perception in man; and from them he made seven heavens, and seven planets, all from nothingness, and, moreover, he has preferred and blessed the sacred Heptad.

4. From two letters, or forms He composed two dwellings; from three, six; from four, twenty-four; from five, one hundred and twenty; from six, seven hundred and twenty; from seven, five thousand and forty; and from thence their numbers increase in a manner beyond counting; and are incomprehensible. These seven are Planets of the Universe, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars; the seven days are the days of creation; and these an the seven gateways of a man, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and a mouth, through which he perceives by his senses.

(Found in some editions)

He caused and produced Beth, predominant in wisdom, crowned, combined, and formed the Moon in the Universe, the first day of the week, and the right eye, of man.

Gimel, predominant in health, crowned, . combined and formed Mars in the Universe, the second day of the week, and the right ear in man.

Daleth, predominant in fertility, crowned, combined, and formed the Sun in the Universe, the third day of the week, and the right nostril in man.

Kaph, predominant in life, crowned, combined, and formed Venus in the Universe, the fourth day of the week, and the left eye of man.

Pe, predominant in power, crowned, combined, and formed Mercury in the Universe, the fifth day of the week, and the left ear in man.

Resh, predominant in peace, crowned, combined, and formed Saturn in the Universe, the sixth day of the week, and the left nostril in man.

Tau, predominant in beauty, crowned, combined and formed Jupiter in the Universe, the seventh day in the week, and the mouth of man.

By these seven letters were also made seven worlds, seven heavens, seven lands, seven seas, seven rivers, seven deserts, seven days (as before), seven weeks from Passover to Pentecost, and every seventh year a jubilee.


1. The simple letters are twelve, namely: He, Vau, Zain, Heth, Teth, Yod, Lamed, Nun, Samech, Oin, Tzaddi, and Quoph; they represent the fundamental properties, eight, hearing, smell, speech, desire for food, the sexual appetite, movement, anger, mirth, thought, sleep, and work. These symbolize also twelve directions in space: northeast, southeast, the east above, the east below, the northwest, southwest, the west above, the west below, the upper south, the lower south, the upper north, the lower north. These diverge to all eternity, and an as the arms of the universe.

2. These twelve letters, he designed, formed, combined, weighed, and changed, and created with them the twelve divisions of the heavens (namely, the zodiacal constellations), the twelve months of the year, and the twelve important organs of the frame of man, namely the right and left hands, the right and left feet, two kidneys, the liver, the gall, the spleen, the intestines, the gullet, and the stomach.

3. Three mothers, seven double and twelve simple, these are the twenty-two letters with which I H V H Tetragrammaton, that is our Lord of Hosts, exalted, and existed in the ages, whose name is Holy, created three fathers, fire and spirit and water, progressing beyond them, seven heavens with their armies of angels; and twelve limits of the universe.

(Found in some Versions)

1. God produced He, predominant in Speech, crowned, combined, and formed Aries in the world, Nisan in the year, and the right foot of man.

2. God produced Vau, predominant in Mind, crowned, combined, and formed Taurus in the world, Yiar in the year, and the right kidney of man.

3. God produced Zain, predominant in movement, crowned, combined, and formed Gemini in the world, Sivan in the year, and the left foot of man.

4. He produced Heth, predominant in Sight, crowned, combined, and formed Cancer in the world, Tammuz in the year, and the right hand of man.

5. He produced Teth, predominant in Hearing, crowned, combined, and formed Leo in the world, Ab in the year, and the left kidney in man.

6. He produced Yod, predominant in Labor, crowned, combined, and formed Virgo in the world, Elul in the year, and the left hand of man.

7. He produced Lamed, predominant in sexual desire, crowned, combined, and formed Libra in the world, Tisri in the year, and the gall in man.

8. He produced Nun, predominant in smell, crowned, combined, and formed Scorpio in the world, Marchesvan in the year, and the intestines in man.

9. He produced Samech, predominant in sleep, crowned, combined, and formed Sagittarius in the world, Kislev in the year, and the stomach of man.

10. He produced Oin, predominant in Anger, crowned, combined, and formed Capricornus in the world, Tebet in the year, and the liver in man.

11. He produced Tzaddi, predominant in Taste, crowned, combined, and formed Aquarius in the world, Sebat in the year, and the gullet in man.

12. He produced Quoph, predominant in Mirth, crowned, combined, and formed Pisces in the world, Adar in the year, and the spleen in man.


1. In proof of these things, and witnessing faithfully are the Universe, the Year of time, and Man himself, the Microcosm. He fixed these as testimonies of the Triad, the Heptad, and the Dodecad; the twelve constellations rulers of the world, the Dragon (THELE) Tali which environs the universe, and the microcosm, man.

The triad, fire, water, and air; the fire above, the water below, and the air in the midst. The proof of which is that air is a participator with both.

2. Tali, the Dragon, is above the Universe, as a king on his throne; the sphere in the year as a king in his State, the Heart of man as a king in warfare.

And our God made the states of opposition, good and evil, good from the good, and evil from the evil. Happiness is reserved for the just, and misery for the wicked ones.

3. And out of the triad one stands apart; and in the heptad there are two triads, and one standing apart. The dodecad symbolizes war, the triad of amity, the triad of enmity, three which are life-giving, three which are death-dealing, and God, the faithful king, rules over all from the throne of his sanctity.

One above three, three above seven, and seven above twelve, and all are linked together, and one with another.

4. After that our father Abraham had seen, and pondered over, investigated, and understood these things, he designed, engraved, and composed them, and received them into his power (hands). Then the Lord of all appeared unto him, made a covenant with him, and kissed his head, and naming him after his own name, called him his friend; and as it is written, completed a covenant with him and with his seed forever, who then believed on God, the Tetragrammaton, and it was imputed to him for righteousness.

God ordained a covenant between the toes of his feet, that of circumcision; and a covenant between the fingers of his hands, that of the Tongue. He bound the essences of the twenty-two letters on his tongue, and God disclosed to him the secrets of them. God has carried these through waters, He has borne them aloft through fire, and He has stamped them in the storms of the air; He has distributed them among the seven stars, and has assigned them to twelve celestial constellations. Amen.



The First Path is called the Admirable or the Concealed Intelligence (The Highest Crown) – for it is the Light giving the power of comprehension of that First Principle which has no beginning, and it is the Primal Glory, for no created being can attain to its essence.

The Second Path is that of the Illuminating Intelligence it is the Crown of Creation, the Splendor of the Unity, equaling it, and it is exalted above every bead, and named by the Kabbalists the Second Glory.

The Third Path is the Sanctifying Intelligence, and is the basis of foundation of Primordial Wisdom, which is called the Former of faith, and its roots, Amen; and it is the parent of Faith, from which virtues doth Faith emanate.

The Fourth Path is named Measuring, Cohesive, or Receptacular; and is so called because it contains all the holy powers, and from it emanate all the spiritual virtues with the most exalted essences: they emanate one from the other by the power of the primordial emanation (The Highest Crown), blessed be it.

The Fifth Path is called the Radical Intelligence, because it is itself the essence equal to the Unity, uniting itself to the BINAH or Intelligence which emanates from the primordial depths of Wisdom or CHOCHMAH.

The Sixth Path is called the Intelligence of the Mediating Influence, because in it are multiplied the influxes of the emanations; for it causes that affluence to flow into all the reservoirs of the Blessings, with which these themselves are united.

The Seventh Path is the Occult Intelligence, because it is the Refulgent Splendor of all the Intellectual virtues which are perceived by the eyes of intellect, and by the contemplation of faith.

The Eighth Path is called Absolute or Perfect, because it is the means of the primordial, which has no root by which it can cleave, nor rest, except in the hidden places Of GEDULAH. Magnificence, which emanate from its own proper essence.

The Ninth Path is the Pure intelligence so called because it purifies the Numerations, it proves and corrects the designing of their representation, and disposes their unity with which they are combined without diminution or division.

The Tenth Path is the Resplendent Intelligence, because it is exalted above every bead, and sits on the throne of BINAH (the Intelligence spoken of in the Third Path). It illuminates the splendor of all lights, and causes a supply of influence to emanate from the Prince of countenances.

The Eleventh Path is the Scintillating Intelligence because it is the essence of that curtain which is placed close to the order of the disposition, and this is a special dignity given to it that it may be able to stand before the Face of the Cause of Causes.

The Twelfth Path is the Intelligence of Transparency, because it is that species of Magnificence., called CHAZCHAZIT, which is named the place whence issues the vision of those seeing in apparitions. (That is, the prophecies by seers in a vision.)

The Thirteenth Path is named the Uniting Intelligence and is so called because it is itself the essence of Glory. It is the Consummation of the Truth of individual spiritual things.

The Fourteenth Path is the Illuminating Intelligence, and is so called because it is itself that CHASHMAL which is the founder of the concealed and fundamental ideas of holiness and of their stages of preparation.

The Fifteenth Path is the Constituting Intelligence, so called because it constitutes the substance of creation in pure darkness, and men have spoken of these contemplations; it is that darkness spoken of in scripture, Job xxxviii. 9, “and thick darkness a swaddling band for it.”

The Sixteenth Path is the Triumphal or Eternal Intelligence, so called because it is the pleasure of the Glory, beyond which is no other Glory like to it, and it is called also the Paradise prepared for the Righteous.

The Seventeenth Path is the Disposing Intelligence, which provides Faith to the Righteous, and they are clothed with the Holy Spirit by it, and it is called the Foundation of Excellence in the state of higher thing.

The Eighteenth Path is called the House of Influence (by the greatness of whose abundance the influx of good things upon created beings is increased) and from the midst of the investigation the arcana and hidden senses are drawn forth, which dwell in its shade and which cling to it, from the cause of all causes.

The Nineteenth Path is the Intelligence of all the activities of the spiritual beings, and is so called because of the affluence diffused by it from the most high blessing and most exalted sublime glory.

The Twentieth Path is the Intelligence of Will, and is so called because it is the means of preparation of all and each created being, and by this intelligence the existence of the Primordial Wisdom becomes known.

The Twenty-first Path is the Intelligence of Conciliation, and is so called because it receives the divine influence which flows into it from its benediction upon all and each existence.

The Twenty-second Path is the Faithful Intelligence, and is so called because by it spiritual virtues are increased, and all dwellers on earth are nearly under its shadow.

The Twenty-third Path is the Stable Intelligence, and it is so called because it has the virtue of consistency among all numerations.

The Twenty-fourth Path is the Imaginative Intelligence, and it is so called because it gives a likeness to all the similitudes, which are created in like manner similar to its harmonious elegancies.

The Twenty-fifth Path is the Intelligence of Probation, or is Tentative, and is so called because it is the primary temptation, by which the Creator (blessed be He) trieth all righteous persons.

The Twenty-sixth Path is called the Renovating Intelligence, because the Holy God (blessed be He) renews by it, all the changing things which are renewed by the creation of the world.

The Twenty-seventh Path is the Exciting Intelligence, and it is so called bemuse by it is created the Intellect of all created beings under the highest heaven, and the excitement or motion of them.

The Twenty-eighth Path is the Natural Intelligence, and is so called because through it is consummated and perfected the nature of every existent being under the orb of the Sun, in perfection.

The Twenty-ninth Path is the Corporeal Intelligence, so called because it forms every body which is, formed beneath the whole set of worlds and the increment of them.

The Thirtieth Path is the Collecting Intelligence, and is so called because Astrologers deduce from it the judgment of the Stars, and of the celestial signs, and the perfections of their science, according to the rules of their revolutions.

The Thirty-first Path is the Perpetual Intelligence; and why is it so called? Because it regulates the motions of the Sun and Moon in their proper order, each in an orbit convenient for it.

The Thirty-second Path is the Administrative Intelligence, and it is so called because it directs and associates, in all their operations, the seven planets, even all of them in their own due courses.