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Symbol & Archetype
Symbol & Archetype

Symbol & Archetype

A Study of the Meaning of Existence

Quinta Essentia series


160 Pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $18.95 (US $18.95) (CA $25.95)

Publication Date: April 2006

ISBN 9781887752794

Rights: WOR X UK

Fons Vitae (Apr 2006)

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Every religious tradition or metaphysical worldview involves a system of powerful symbols, most of which bear common meanings across cultures, continents, and time. This volume, complete with a 9th century Quranic manuscript, explores the significance of the most recurrent symbols and archetypes in human history and elaborates a compelling theory for why symbolism plays such an essential role in human life. The work explores certain basic aspects of symbolism in relation to the Divinity, the hierarchy of the universe, the function of human faculties and qualities, the human condition, natural objects, works of art, and the final end—all with reference to the great living religions of the world, and in particular to Christianity and Islam.


"The quality of Lings' writing lies in his ability to express metaphysical concepts in precise and sometimes poetic language. Symbol & Archetype challenges the discerning reader to perceive the signs of God wherever they appear, both in the world and in ourselves." —Julian Johansen, author, Sufism and Islamic Reform in Egypt

"One of the most important books to have appeared in the English language on symbolism considered from the traditional and esoteric point of view." —Seyyed Hossein Nasr, author, The Heart of Islam

Author Biography

Martin Lings was the author of the authorative biography Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources and other works on Islamic spirituality, including A Return to the Spirit, A Sufi Saint in the Twentieth Century, and What is Sufism?