God’s Knowledge of Particulars: Avicenna, Kalām, and The Post-Avicennian Synthesis

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The question whether God knows particular individuals has traditionally attracted the attention of Islamic scholars: Does the perishability of worldly individuals entail problems about the perishability of God’s corresponding knowledge? Can one eternally know that Zayd will arrive tomorrow to the city? In this paper, I systemically and historically analyze (1) how post-Avicennian philosophers distinguished between two pre-Avicennian kalām views on whether such knowledge is eternal or perishable; (2) how they regarded Avicenna’s famous theory that God knows particulars qua universals as connected to the pre-Avicennian kalām debate; (3) and how the authors such as Faḫr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 1210) and Šihāb al-Dīn al-Suhrawardī (d. 1191) attempted to synthesize Avicenna and kalām epistemology in their account of God’s knowledge as relation or as presence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-47
JournalRecherches de Théologie et Philosophie Médiévales
Volume86
Issue number1
Early online date31 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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