We will examine a representative Safavid Persian miscellany of the mid-seventeenth century, MS Majlis 12575. Significant for the history of science, it comprises occult-scientific works by Iranian philosophers of various periods, including Suhravardi, Fakhr al-Din Razi and Sadr al-Din Dashtaki, as well as a lettrist work by Mahmud Dihdar Shirazi, teacher to Shaykh Baha'i in the occult sciences. Our focus will be on 'Ali Safi Kashifi's (d. 1535) Gift for the Khan (Tuhfa-yi khani), an early Safavid simplification of a Timurid Persian grimoire dealing with illusionism and conjuring, both of which we now dismiss as stage magic. Its Safavid-era expansion to include other, more serious occult sciences? alchemy, talismanry, astral magic? and the magico-political feats of eminent
Safavid philosophers will also be discussed with examples, as a window onto how Safavid philosophical culture worked in political practice.
PLEASE NOTE that registrations are limited and will be confirmed on a first-come, first-serve basis for Ph.D. students and faculty who work on Eurasia and can meet the language prerequisites specific to each topic.
Associate Professor of Islamic History
University of South Carolina
UCIS Postdoctoral Fellow of REEES
University of Pittsburgh