The British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS) and De Gruyter are delighted to announce the outcome of the second (2017) round of the BRAIS – De Gruyter Prize in the Study of Islam and the Muslim World:

 

Winner:
DR ANDREAS LAMMER

 

Winning Submission:

THE ELEMENTS OF AVICENNA’S PHYSICS

GREEK SOURCES AND ARABIC INNOVATIONS

 

The prize award ceremony was held on 13 April 2017 at the Fourth Annual Conference of BRAIS, which took place at the University of Chester.  It was attended by the winner Dr Andreas Lammer, as well as the winner of the 2016 competition Dr Tom Woerner-Powell, Prof. Judith Pfeiffer and Dr Ayman Shihadeh on behalf of the BRAIS Prize Committee, and Dr Sophie Wagenhofer and Dr Eva Frantz representing De Gruyter. The winner gave a presentation based on his thesis, which he is currently in the process of preparing for publication with De Gruyter.

 

The following three other entrants were shortlisted for the prize, and their submissions were deemed to be of high scholarly quality and interest (in alphabetical order):

  • Mehmetcan Akpinar, ‘Narrative Representations of Abū Bakr in the Second/Eighth Century’.
  • Aydogan Kars, ‘Sufi Paths of Negative Speech: Apophasis in Thirteenth Century Islamic Mysticism’.
  • Ahmad Sukkar, ‘Structures of Light: The Body and Architecture in Premodern Islam’. 

 

On the Winner:

After a classical education, Dr Andreas Lammer went on to study Philosophy and German Literature and Language at the University of Würzburg, where he was introduced to Islamic Philosophy by Professor Dr. Dag Nikolaus Hasse.  He then moved to London, where he continued to cultivate his interest in natural philosophy (in both the Aristotelian and Avicennan traditions) under Professor Peter Adamson, earning an MA from King’s College, London.  His MA thesis was on Ghazālī and Averroes and the ‘argument from time’.  By this time he was deeply conversant with natural philosophy in its various historical incarnations.  After a stint as a teaching fellow at Würzburg, he worked as a research associate at the Thomas Institute at the University of Cologne, where he was attached to the Digital Averroes Project.  He then completed his PhD with Peter Adamson at the LMU Munich, for which thesis he has been awarded the BRAIS-De Gruyter Prize.  He is currently a research associate on the “Heirs of Avicenna” project, which explores the reception of Avicennan philosophy in the Islamic East from the 12th to the 13th Centuries CE.  He is working on an annotated translation of Ghazālī’s Tahāfut al-falāsifa (Herders Bibliothek der Philosophie des Mittelalters, 2018) and has published a number of chapters in edited volumes on al-Āmidī, Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī and the ancient and late ancient Aristotelian philosophical tradition.

 

The Winning Submission:

This thesis addresses a number of deficits in previous scholarship on Avicenna’s physics, from the failure to consider his corpus as a whole to a lack of attention to the development of individual doctrines across the Late Antique and early Arabic philosophical traditions.  The author’s treatment is wide-ranging, involving the exploration of texts in the Aristotelian commentary tradition and their transmission and reception in Islamdom, as well as a comprehensive study of the philosophical summae of Avicenna in Arabic and Persian.  The author demonstrates that even where Avicenna does not essentially depart from the Aristotelian position, he is no servile imitator, evincing great originality in developing the Stagirite’s ideas further and in defending him against his detractors in the Greek and Arabic traditions.  Avicenna’s intellectual creativity is in no less evidence in his physics than in his hitherto much more closely studied logic and metaphysics.  The author suggests new solutions to problems that have plagued the scholarship on Avicenna across the range of his physics, including his notions of nature, place, and time, and casts abundant new light on questions that had incorrectly been considered as resolved.  This is done with a philological rigour and a painstaking scrutiny of the sources that will set a new standard in scholarship on Avicenna.  The resulting thesis is a judicious, extremely well-informed reading of Avicenna’s physics that situates him in light of previous developments, from Aristotle onwards, and thus enriches our understanding of his contribution to what has been a neglected area of his thought.

 

For the current or most recent call for submissions, please go to www.brais.ac.uk/prize