SYMBOL AND ARCHETYPE -The Study of the Meaning of Existence

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SYMBOL AND ARCHETYPE -The Study of the Meaning of Existence

The Study of the Meaning of Existence Martin Lings With reference to the great religions of the world, and in particular to Christianity and Islam, Martin Lings here gives us the answer in the clearest terms, with an unusually wide scope of illustration and versatility to the question; What is Symbolism? The answer to this question has been known to change altogether a man’s life; and ignorance of it can reasonably be said to have produced all the gravest problems of our times. At one point we are gripped by the universal message of four old Lithuanian songs which speak to us, in the language of symbols, from a remote antiquity; at another we are with the Queen of Sheba at her deeply symbolic meeting with Solomon, as recounted in the Qur’an. The central theme is man, stripped of his subhuman excrescences and re-endowed with his infinitely precious primordial heritage and the reader is quickly impelled to identify himself with that centre. Nor is it only his intelligence that impels him, for the further we read, the more we renew our deeply ingrained consciousness that everything— numbers, elements, senses, colours etc.— has a vertical dimension that gives it a divine significance; and this awareness brings with it an existential sense of that dimension in ourselves.


Martin Lings

(Abū Bakr Sirāj ad-Dīn)


Martin Lings was born in Burnage, Lancashire. After a classical education, he read English at Oxford where he was a pupil and later a close friend of C. S. Lewis. In 1935, he went to Lithuania where he lectured on Anglo-Saxon and Middle English at the University of Kaunus. After four years, he went to Egypt and was given a lectureship in English Literature at Cairo University where he lectured mainly on Shakespeare. He later returned to England and took a degree in Arabic at London University and subsequently joined the staff of the British Museum where he was Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts until his retirement in 1973. He is the author of The Sacred Art of ShakespeareAncient Beliefs and Modern SuperstitionsThe Eleventh Hour, Symbol & Archetype, The Book of Certainty (the Sufi Doctrines of Faith, Vision and Gnosis), A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth CenturyWhat is Sufism? and Sufi Poems: A Mediaeval Anthology. His Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources has been acclaimed as the best biography of the Prophet. He was also the author of several articles for the new Encyclopaedia of Islam, of the article on Sufism in the latest edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and participated in various Islamic conferences form time to time. He was a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and member of its council and also a member of the British Museum Society.


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  • Unit Type: piece
  • Package Size: 25cm x 32cm x 5cm (9.84in x 12.60in x 1.97in)
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