Chercheur qualifié / Research Associate (Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique, FRS-FNRS; UCLouvain, Institut supérieur de philosophie)
Cécile Bonmariage specialises in pre-modern Islamic intellectual history, more specifically history of philosophy and speculative mysticism in the Islamic context. Her publications reflect a predilection for the Avicennian and Akbarī traditions, and for the post-classical period. Other aspects of her work include research on translations from Greek into Arabic, the influence of Avicenna’s theories in a broader milieu, as well as practical aspects of the manuscript culture in Islamicate societies, and occasional detours into editing magical recipes based on the science of letters.
Bruno Halflants was involved in various major projects during his first career as a civil engineer. He has cultivated his interest in Arabic since 1978, focusing on Arabic poetry and metrics, and in 1998 he obtained a master’s degree in Arabic. In 2007, he published Le Conte du Portefaix et des Trois Jeunes Femmes, a study of Middle Arabic in the 1001 Nights, with an original edition of the tale’s earliest-known manuscript. Further to this, he has participated in several conferences and seminars and has contributed to Autour de la Langue Arabe, a Festschrift volume in the Publications de l’Institut Orientaliste de Louvain. In 2011, together with Godefroid de Callataÿ, he has published in the Epistles of the Brethren of Purity Series (Oxford University Press, in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies) the edition and the annotated translation of the short version of the Epistle ‘On Magic’ (52a). Together with Godefroid de Callataÿ and Sébastien Moureau, he is currently working on the long version of the same epistle (52b).
Phd student (F.R.S.-FNRS, University of Louvain)
Marion Dapsens is a doctoral student at the University of Louvain. In her research, she focuses on the occult sciences and the history of alchemy. After her humanities in Schola Nova, she studied classical and oriental languages and literature at the University of Louvain and at the Università degli Studi di Bologna. She was on a Ph.D.-fellowship from the Universität zu Köln until 2017 and is now an F.R.S.-FNRS grantee to write a Ph.D. dissertation on Arabic alchemy under the supervision of Sébastien Moureau and Cécile Bonmariage. She is currently preparing an annotated critical edition of the Risālat Maryānus, attributed to Prince Khālid ibn Yazīd (d. 704), as well as of its Latin translation known as De Compositione Alchemiae (by Robert of Chester in 1144).
PhD student (FNRS-FRESH)
Gregory Vandamme is a PhD candidate (FNRS-FRESH) working on classical Sufism, with a particular interest in the works of Ibn ‘Arabī and his school. His research pays attention on transmission and transformation of doctrines from Early Sufism to Akbarian thought. He received a Bachelor in History (cum laude) at the Saint-Louis University, Brussels, and a Master in Religious studies (magna cum laude) at the University of Louvain. His master thesis explored the metaphysical, theological and anthropological functions of Adam in the thought of Ibn ‘Arabī, with a deeper focus on his correlation with the Prophet Muhammad.
His current PhD research, under the supervision of Pr. Cécile Bonmariage (FRS-FNRS / University of Louvain), seeks to provide an analytic synthesis of the notion of hayra (« perplexity », « bewilderment » or « confusion ») in Ibn ‘Arabī. Focusing mainly on his Futūḥāt makkiyya, the study highlights the ambivalent yet absolutely central use of this notion, regarding questions of Epistemology, Quranic Hermeneutics, or Spiritual path. From September to December 2017, he studied with Pr. James Morris (Boston College) and participated in his Harvard Ibn Arabi Seminar. He also made several study and research stays in France, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. In addition to his main researches, he has a deep interest in Comparative Theology, and is concerned with the contemporary use of Ibn ‘Arabī’s thought, and the possibility to use some of his paradigms in order to build a new discourse, inside Islam and about Islam.
PhD student (University of Orléans, University of Louvain), fellow of the University of Orléans
Odile Dapsens is a PhD student working on the transmission of Hebrew magic texts to the Christian world during the Middle Ages. After completing a curriculum of Greek-Latin Studies at Schola Nova (Belgium), she studied History at the University of Louvain, with a specialization in Oriental languages (Hebrew and Greek). Under the direction of Jean-Patrice Boudet (University of Orléans) and Paul Bertrand (University of Louvain) she is preparing for her Ph.D. the critical edition of a Latin version of the Sefer ha-Razim (8th-9th centuries), the most famous Jewish text on magic from the Middle Ages. This edition will be accompanied by a French translation and a comprehensive commentary on the different aspects of the transmission of this treatise.
Post-doctoral researcher UCLouvain
Kabira Masotta is a postdoctoral researcher at the RSCS institute in UCLouvain. Her work focuses on classical Sufism, more precisely on zuhd. After a Master in history at Paris Sorbonne, she obtained a PhD in Islamic studies under the supervision of Pierre Lory at the École Pratique des Hautes Études. Her PhD dissertation, based on Abū Nuʿaym’s Ḥilyat al-awliyā’ wa-ṭabaqāt al-aṣfiyā’, aims to define the contours of Islamic sainthood (walāya) during the first three centuries of Islam, as progressively defined in the hagiography from the 4th century (AH). The study mainly strives to analyse the language and spiritual practice of the early ascetics through three hermeneutic criteria: the ‘Judaising’ traditions (isrā’iliyyāt), Quranic exegesis and, lastly, the Sunna and figure of the Prophet, putting them into perspective with the language and spiritual practice of the 3rd and 4th century Sufis. Her current research focuses specifically on “eschatological experiences” of the first generations of ascetic and Sufi scholars from the byzantine border. She particularly explores how ascetic piety (zuhd) in ǧihād context translates into a paradoxical notion: tasting the intimacy of separation from God.