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.

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

C. D. Chavel, the editor of the Mossad haRav Kook edition of the commentary, is uncertain about the source and refers to Davidson "Otzar HaMeshalim v'ha-Pitgamim", p. 85 #1330. There are several similar sources listed there, including the very one from Rabbenu Bahya. The first source listed is from Musarei haPhilosofim by Hanin ibn As-haq (Iraq, 808-873 or 877 CE), translated to Hebrew by Yehuda Alharizi (12th-13th cent).

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

Re: QU: Biographies of Living Subjects

I worked on a cultural history that had a strongly biographical bent -- and the woman I worked with died before it was published. However, her family is still living.

My book is: Deans of Women and the Feminist Movement: Emily Taylor's Activism

I would be glad to correspond with your colleague if it would be of service.

Kelly Sartorius, Ph.D.

Re: QU: Biographies of Living Subjects

I don't know that the pitfalls of writing about a living woman are much different than writing about a living subject who is a man, but I can think of two trade biographies of living women: Sydney Stern's biography of Gloria Steinem (1997) and Deirdre Bair's biography of Simone de Beauvoir (1990), which she began when Beauvoir was still alive. Both authors are members of the Women Writing Women's Lives Seminar, .

Re: How many consular missions in Mao Zedong's China outside Beijing?

Dear Michael,

I think you might find something in Swedish Foreign Ministry's archives (I think I have seen similar documents in French archives but I don't have the reference). They probably keep informations on foreign consulates in China, in the folders like "Foreign diplomatic missions in China". As Sweden was one of the first western countries present in Beijing after 1949, their information might be very interesting. And I think this approach also corresponds to the theme of the latest PRC history review.

Best wishes,


Re: How many consular missions in Mao Zedong's China outside Beijing?


I am not aware of a single, comprehensive list. I've seen this type of information for specific provinces/municipalities in 外事志 editions of gazetteers. These volumes will often list when the consulate opened, when they closed, who the consul general was, etc.

I am aware of consulates in the following locales: Shanghai, Nanning, Kunming, Shenyang, Urumqi, Kashgar, Tacheng, Altai, and Yining. But I'm sure there are others.



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