A Shaykh for All Occasions

Words of Experience - Translating Islam with Carl W. Ernst - Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst

Bruce B. Lawrence [+-]
Duke University
Bruce B. Lawrence is a graduate of Princeton, the Episcopal Divinity School, and Yale. He holds an honorary Th.D. from the Virginia Theological Seminary Honorary. Lawrence is a scholar of pre-modern and modern Islamic movements, from West Africa to Southeast Asia. He has published 15 books. Lawrence is the founder of the Islamic Studies Center at Duke University where he recently retired as the Marcus Family Professor of the Humanities at Duke, and is now Professor of Islamic Studies Emeritus.


The field of study with which Carl is most closely identified is Sufi studies, and it contains a number of complementary dyads, opposites that complement, even as they compete, with one another. One such dyad is qabd and bast. The former means: condensed, contained, bounded; the latter means: expansive, exploding, unbounded. Neither is used here in an ontological sense, as it is in Qur’anic studies methodology, to imply the restrictive power of the One, at once the Other and the Unseen, or the expanding power of the same One, Other and Unseen. In Carl’s case the two – qabd and bast – are instrumental; they depict how Carl engages others, always in a vertical trajectory, either moving from what seems limited to what is large, aka, ground to sky, or starting with the sky and moving to other spheres, aka, sky to cosmos. In this introduction, I apply these terms to Carl’s career and the essays in this volume.

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Lawrence, Bruce. A Shaykh for All Occasions. Words of Experience - Translating Islam with Carl W. Ernst. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2020. ISBN 9781781799109. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=38419. Date accessed: 02 Jul 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38419. Oct 2020

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