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“Nietzsche in Paradiso” is the latest and most precious book by Francesca Bocca-Aldaqre, able to help us discover the connections between the greats of European thought and the “Islamic world”.
Nietzsche in Paradiso
Nietzsche is in Heaven on Dante’s journey of the Muslim poet Muhammad Iqbal, while Victor Hugo tells with devotion the last moments of the life of the Prophet of Islam in the Légende des siècles. They are not anecdotes, but examples of an ever-present path between Islam and the West, which has not yet been told. Francesca Bocca-Aldaqre wanted to do it, revealing the unsuspected cultural echoes in the Western imagination – like Robinson Crusoe, modeled on an Arab novel of the year 1000 -, pairing not only lives, but a thought. The very Western Cartesian doubt can be read through the lens of al-Ghazali; the end of Heidegger’s metaphysics is linked to that of ibn ʿArabı-. Nietzsche in Paradise is manifest for Islam which often takes refuge in the East, and a new possibility for the West worn out by the clash of civilizations.
Beyond East and West
The book is a very interesting and fascinating fresco of how European and “Islamic” culture are intrinsically linked to each other, going, over the centuries to influence each other over and over again both through “evolutions of thought” and through the analogies present in the two worlds; last but not least, it is also very interesting to observe how authors such as Lev Tolstoy and Nietzsche have in turn taken care to narrate these areas. Under the wise mind of the author we will venture into a real search for these influences divided into 8 chapters: “Robinson Crusoe and Hayy ibn Yaqzan”, ” Friedrich Nietzsche and Muhammad Iqbal“, “Ernst Jünger and Jamaluddin Al-Afghani“, “Lev Tolstoj and imam Shamil“, “Martin Heidegger and Ibn ‘Arabi“, “Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Alhazen“, “Victor Hugo and Iblis“and finally” René Descartes e Abu Hamid Al Ghazali“.
“Nietzsche in Paradiso” is something that enriches the reader both with regard to Islamic philosophy and thought, but even more with regard to what “Western” thought is. In fact, I candidly admit that reading this book I realized my incredible ignorance regarding several European authors mentioned in the book, including, for example, Ernst Jünger and Martin Heidegger. The delicate pen and the refined mind of Francesca Bocca-Aldaqre, in addition to making the understanding of individual concepts much easier and easier, are able to really make people understand how much not only religion, but also the recent “high thought” are connected to each other, showing passages of very rare clarity and affinity.
A necessary work
Anyone who has been following Medio Oriente e Dintorni for a while knows how much I like watching these subtle connections, most of the time gone unnoticed but often decisive for the cultural development of a country and / or a people; this book does exactly that, taking on some of the best known and most celebrated minds in all of European history. Jobs like this are essential now more than ever to be able to eliminate forever the false vision of two “completely different” and enemy camps, showing, on the contrary, how we have not noticed such connections before.
Attention, no one takes this book as an attempt to say that “the two worlds are superimposable” because it would be equally false and not very relevant to the message and the purpose of the book which in fact is always and only that of comparison. In fact, in most of the chapters we will be placed in front of quite different works and visions of Islam and the world, but with decisive points of contact which, if examined, transform the differences into nuances and variations of the same score. I am really happy and proud to have read this work and I am even more so than the fact that the author, the great Francesca Bocca-Aldaqre, will be a guest on the Youtube channel of “Medio Oriente e Dintorni” at 7pm on March 26, 2021. a nice chat together; even more for this latest work of hers, I really can’t wait.
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