M. F. Attar 2021 Review of Michael Noble’s “Philosophizing the Occult” – M. Fariduddin Attar

Michael Noble’s Philosophizing the Occult lies at the intersection of two recent developments in Islamic studies: (1) the renewed appreciation for the philosophical and theological thought of the Sunnī theologian and polymath Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 606/1210), a trend that has led to an exponential growth of studies devoted to this figure since the 2000s; and (2) the recent consolidation of a subfield devoted to the study of what was hitherto considered a marginal and problematic preoccupation of many Muslim thinkers, namely the occult sciences. The work is thus significant for two reasons. It aims to show how al- Rāzī’s controversial engagement with the astro-magical traditions of the period is a key element in the formation of his mature intellectual project and how the astrological tradition and the theories that underlie them stood alongside the disciplines of falsafa and kalām as major sources of the scientific, philosophical, and theological perspectives that emerged in the post-Avicennian period