Re: Research Query: Bahya ben Asher quoting a ḥadith?

This is a very typical "Sufi hadith" (i.e., put in the mouth of the Prophet or perhaps other prominent individuals, but not reported or not considered authentic by the standard collections of sound or good hadiths). I quickly found references to it in many places; most of the Islamic websites quote authorities denying that it is an authentic hadith, although Bahya would presumably have known about it from Sufi sources, not from Bukhari or Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj. And many Muslims argue that the meaning is consistent with Scripture (i.e. Quran) even if the ascription to Muhammad is unfounded.

Re: Research Query: Bahya ben Asher quoting a ḥadith?

Bahya Ben Asher “Know your soul and you will know your God":

For this hadith and its influence in Jewish and Islamic circles see the magisterial study by Alexander Altmann, The Delphic Maxim in Medieval Islam and Judaism, in: Biblical and Other Studies, ed. by A. Altmann (Cambridge., Mass. 1963): 196-232.

Research Query: Bahya ben Asher quoting a ḥadith?

In Bahya ben Asher's commentary to Parashat Bereshit, the following sentence occurs:  The Sage said, "Know your souls and you will know your God" (De'u nafshotekhem ve-tide'u elohekhem), which might also be translated "Know yourself . . ."  The source seems to be a ḥadith quoted often by the Sufis, in which Muhammad says, "He who knows himself knows his Lord."  Is it possible that Bahya would quote a ḥadith?  He did live in Muslim Spain, but would he be likely to quote the words of Muhammad in a Torah commentary?


Jacob Adler

University of Arkansas

Motivation for Winfield Scott's "Views" Memo of 29 October 1860

I am looking to contextualize Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott's memorandum of 29 October 1860, where he raised the issue of the vulnerability of the coastal fortifcations in southern states, as well as his political views on the forthcoming election and potential secession crisis. In his memoirs he merely states that he wrote it out of concern about the election. Is anyone aware of sources providing more detail on Scott's context and motivations for writing and circulating it so widely?


Shawn Woodford

Lanesboro Historical Museum: Telling Lanesboro’s story. That’s what we do.

Museums of Minnesota

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A Memorial Day Memory

Hand Grenade of the Week

June 2017 Handgrenade

Faithful Readers (or those who stumbled on this by accident):

this month's offering is not a hand grenade per se, but rather a rumination inspired by memorial day, a time when I try to recall not just those who gave their lives in active service for the United States, but also those whom I knew personally that died on active duty in the line of duty.

Here goes.

Mary Cole Walling, orator for universal suffrage

In the nineteenth century, women were not expected to speak out in public and the few who gave speeches in public for a living were often castigated for breaking the social norms of piety, submission and domesticity. There were a few women orators early in the nineteenth century who could break out of that mold and be successful. One of the earliest of them was Mary Cole Walling who spoke out for universal suffrage during the chaotic years of the Civil War and Reconstruction Era.


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