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Although in the podcast we're not yet done with the "formative period" (which will end with episodes on al-Ghazali), in my head I'm already in Spain and Portugal. I've been writing the scripts for the next "season" on philosophy in Andalusia, or Muslim-dominated Spain (and Portugal, but I hope I won't offend Portuguese listeners if I usually just say "Spain" in the episodes). It's been a very interesting period to work on for me. It does include some authors I've taught quite a bit and know well, particularly Averroes, but also numerous figures I hadn't gotten around to reading seriously. I'm afraid to say this includes the philosopher/historian Ibn Khaldun, who I now realize is mind-blowingly interesting (I sort of knew that but hadn't really read him carefully before). I now regret teaching Islamic philosophy for years without including a session on him. And there are so many fantastic Jewish authors! Again, some familiar faces like Maimonides, but some figures I'd never read before -- I was very surprised at how fascinating Ibn Paquda is, for instance, as an ethicist especially. So in fact I am now planning to do a course on Jewish Philosophy at the LMU this coming year. Finally this season will bring a chance to look at mysticism, both in Islam (an episode on Ibn 'Arabi) and Judaism (an episode on Kabbalah). Again this is not something I've worked on before so it has been a good chance to think about how Sufism and mysticism more generally relate to the more rationalist material I usually work on. By the way this experience has also shown me how much remains to be done on this part of philosophy in the Islamic world; particularly glaring is that there is no reliable modern translation (into any European language) of the crucial work of Jewish Neoplatonism, the "Fountain of Life" by Ibn Gabirol.

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