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Title: The Breath of the Imam
Subtitle: On the Safavid Christ of Mullā Muḥsin Fayż-i Kāshānī (1599-1679)
Author(s): PELLÒ, Stefano
Journal: Revue des Études Arméniennes
Volume: 41    Date: 2022   
Pages: 491-504
DOI: 10.2143/REA.41.0.3291899

Abstract :
This paper focuses on the handling of the figure of Jesus Christ ('īsā, masīḥ) in Mullā Muḥsin Fayż-i Kāshānī’s Persian verse, in order to get a first glimpse of the poetic 'Christology' of one of the most outstanding disciples of the main intellectual figure of the Safavid 1600s, the philosopher Mullā Ṣadrā (Ṣadr al-Dīn Shirāzī, d. ca. 1636). As a matter of fact, while the relevance and nature of Christian imagery in Persian poetry have been repeatedly observed as far as 'classical' pre-1500s authors are concerned, the interaction of the codified Christology of Persian literary culture with the renewed religious, political, and socio-cultural conditions of the Safavid-Mughal koiné remains largely unexplored. By collecting and analysing the occurences of a basic vocabulary relating to Jesus in Fayż-i Kāshānī’s lyrical collections, I show how a canonical set of metaphorical imagery is conceptually and aesthetically recasted in the renewed context of Persianate early modernity, at the crossroads of Sadrian philosophy, speculative Sufism, Shiite devotion and poetic innovation. In particular, I uncover a complex net of textual interactions and superimpositions between the Persian poetic phenomenology of Christ and the pivotal image of the twelfth Imām.

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