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The Buddha in 10th-17th Century Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Narratives
Shatha Almutawa, American University
The history of exchange between Buddhists and Arabs began in pre-Islamic times and flourished in the Abbasid period with the translation of Sanskrit texts into Arabic and the adaptation of different biographies of the Buddha. Focusing on the transmission of the story of the Buddha’s life into Arabic in the tenth century, this lecture examines a Muslim philosophical text, Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa (The Epistles of the Sincere Brothers or the Epistles of the Brethren of Purity), that quotes the Buddha alongside respected prophets and philosophers from different religious backgrounds and retells the story of the Buddha’s life. The lecture examines the role of the story of the Buddha’s life in the philosophy of Ikhwan al-Safa and its reception by Christian and Jewish communities.

Apr 20, 2021 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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