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Mulla Sadra and the metaphysics of transubstantiation



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Ṣadr ad-Dīn Muḥammad Shīrāzī, also called Mulla Sadrā (Persian: ملا صدرا‎‎; also spelled Molla Sadra, Mollasadra or Sadr-ol-Mote'allehin; Arabic: صدرالمتألهین‎‎) (c. 1571/2 – 1640), was an Iranian Shia Islamic philosopher, theologian and ‘Ālim who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century. According to Oliver Leaman, Mulla Sadra is arguably the single most important and influential philosopher in the Muslim world in the last four hundred years

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From History of Islamic Philosophy by Henry Corbin [Translated by Liadain Sherrard with the assistance of Philip Sherrard ]

Mulla Sadra and the metaphysics of transubstantiation

Mulla Sadra effected an entire revolution in the metaphysics of being by substituting a metaphysics of existence for the traditional meta- physics of essences, and giving priority ab initio to existence over quiddity. His thesis that there are no immutable essences, but that each essence is determined and variable according to the degree of intensity of its act of existence, invokes another thesis, namely that of the intrasubstantial or transsubstantial movement that introduces movement into the category of substance. Mulla Sadra is the philosopher of metamorphoses, of transubstantiations.

His anthropology … is … bound up with a grandiose cosmogony and psychogony: the fall of the Soul into the abyss of abysses, its slow ascent from level to level up to the human form, which is the point where it emerges onto the threshold of the malakut (the trans -physical spiritual world), the extension of anthropology into a physics and metaphysics of the resurrection. The concept of matter is neither that of materialism nor of spiritualism. Matter passes through infinite states of being: there is subtle matter, spiritual matter (maddah ruhaniyah), even divine matter. On this point Sadra is in profound accord with the Cambridge Platonists as well as with F.C. Oetinger (Geistleiblichkeit).

For all beings and all objects there is a threefold mode of existence: that on the level of the sensible world, that on the level of the mundus imaginalis {'alam al-mithal), and that on the level of the world of the pure Intelligences.

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