IN SEARCH OF THE SACRED- A Conversation with Seyyed Hossein Nasr on His Life and Thought

An opponent of religious fundamentalism as well as modernist relativism in all their forms, Seyyed Hossein Nasr promulgates a philosophy rooted in a traditional Muslim understanding of the world that respects both nature and human dignity in light of God’s sovereignty. His life has been a quest for the sacred and his religious Vision has been rooted in the “transcendent unity of religions;” his work an organic whole that covers a plurality of dimensions. Seyyed Hossein Nasr is one of the preeminent philosophers writing today. Sure to be a key resource for decades to come, In Search of the Sacred illuminates Nasr’s experiences and shares his insights on topics from religion and philosophy to science and the arts. Based on a series of interviews, the book combines traditional autobiography with an exploration of the intellectual and spiritual trajectories of the author’s thought during key periods of his life. In doing so, it presents a fascinating panorama, not only of the life and ideas of one man, but also of major events ranging from intellectual life in Iran during the Pahlavi period and the Iranian Revolution to some of the major religious and intellectual debates between Islam and modernism. Nasr writes that his “whole life has been a quest for the sacred.” This work connects that quest with some of the most important issues of the day in encounters between Islam and the West.


Seyyed Hossein Nasr

(b. 1933)

Seyyed Hossein Nasr was born in Tehran, where he received his early education. He studied in the West and gained his BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his MA and PhD from Harvard University, where he studied the History of Science and Learning with special concentration on Islamic science and philosophy. In 1958, he returned to Iran to teach at Tehran University, where he was Professor of the History of Science and Philosophy. In 1962 he was visiting lecturer at Harvard University, and he taught there during the summer of 1965. During 1964-65, he was the first holder of the Agha Khan Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut. He also served as Vice Chancellor of Tehran University and Chancellor of the Arya-Mehr University of Technology in Iran. He was the founder and first President of the Iranian Academy of Philosophy and is presently University Professor of Islamic Studies at the George Washington University, Washington D. C. and President of the Foundation for Traditional Studies. Professor Nasr has lectured in America, Europe, the Middle East, Pakistan, India, Japan, and Australia and was the first Muslim Scholar to deliver the Gifford Lectures. He is the author of over twenty-five books and five hundred articles in Persian, English, Arabic and French. His works have appeared in more than ten languages. His important contribution is three generations of scholars he has trained in the course of his fifty-year scholarly career in Iran and the West.


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