Main Content

PH 450 - Seminar: Islamic Philosophy


This is a guide to selected sources of information related to the PH450 Seminar on Islamic Philosophy: all of these resources can be accessed either on campus or remotely by entering in the S number on the back of your student ID. The guide is only meant to be a starting point for your research. For further research assistance, please contact the Philosophy Liaison Librarian.


Reference Materials

When using reference materials make note of any words that are used to describe your topic, these words can serve as keywords when it comes time to search for articles in online journal databases. Also, pay attention to the citations located at the end of topic entries, they can be used as a starting point for locating scholarly research.


Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Trial Database: Trial period ends on May 13, 2010. 


Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Use to get basic background information on Islamic countries

Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy

The Koran
     Ref BP109 .D39

The Literature of Islam (see chapters 6-8)
     Ref BP161.3 .S585

The New Encyclopedia of Islam
     Ref BP40 .G42

The Quran: An Encyclopedia
     Ref BP133 .Q73


Return to top


Search Tips

Tip 1:  If you are looking for analysis of a specific philosopher make sure to use the English (westernized) and Arabic iterations of their name; for example:

Avicenna or Ibn Sina
Averroes or Ibn Rushd

Tip 2:  When using the Arabic version of a philosopher's name make sure to put their name in quotes, even if the name contains a hyphen. If you do not put their name in quotes the databases will look for each part of the name separately.

Philosopher name without a hyphen:  "Ibn Sina"
Philosopher name with a hyphen:        "al-Kindi"

Tip 3:  To search the catalogs and databases highlighted in this guide you will need to use Boolean operators (ANDs and ORs), quotation marks, and truncation to pull up books and articles on your topic. Here is a brief overview of how to use Boolean operators and truncation:

  • AND:  use AND to link together search topics
    al-farabi AND peripatetic
  • OR:  use OR to link together synonyms or like concepts
    (avicenna or "ibn sina") AND (essence or existence or metaphysics)
  • * :  use truncation to pull up the root of a word with variant endings
    neoplatonis* will pull up items with the words neoplatonist or neoplatonism

Return to top


Find Books

Perform a Subject Heading Search to Find Criticism or Analysis
To locate criticism or analysis on philosophers do a subject search on their name. Once you find the correct manifestation of their name, click on the name to bring up a list of books that the library owns about them. For Arabic names remove the "al" that appears before their name; for example enter Farabi not al-Farabi in a subject search.

Perform an Author Search to Find Primary Sources/Original Texts
To locate primary sources or original texts written by Islamic philosophers, do an author search using their last name. Once you find the correct manifestation of their name, click on the name to bring up a list of books that the library owns by them. For Arabic names remove the "al" that appears before their name; for example enter Kindi not al-Kindi in an author search.

Geisel Library Catalog
Books that deal exclusively with Islamic Philosophy or Islamic philosophers can be found in the B740-B753 call number range. Feel free to browse our shelves to locate titles of interest to this course.

Below is a sampling of Islamic texts that are in the Geisel Library collection:

The Book of the Decisive Treatise Determining the Connection between the Law and Wisdom by Averroes
     B749.F32 E5

The Incoherence of the Philosophers by Al-Ghazzali
     B753.G33 T3313

The Metaphysics of the Healing by Avicenna
     B751.S5 E5

On First Philosophy by Al-Kindi

The Philosophy of Illumination by Hikmat al-Ishraq
     BP188.9 .S93913

Use WorldCat to search the collections of libraries worldwide. If you would like to use a book that is not owned by Geisel Library, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan. Ask for help in using this database at the reference desk, in person, or online at Ask a Librarian.

Use ebary to search through over 40,000 e-books spanning across all scholarly disciplines. Books can either be opened in QuickView for instant viewing or in the ebrary Reader (a downloadable plug-in), which provides enhanced functionality such as the ability to copy/paste, highlight, or take notes.
Access restricted to the Saint Anselm College community.

Below is a sampling of titles that are included in ebrary:

Return to top


Journal Articles

Because there is no one database that deals specifically with Islamic Philosophy you will need to consult a variety of databases in order to gather research, analysis, and criticism of Islamic philosophers. The databases listed below allow you to search for articles focusing primarily on philosophy and Islamic studies.

Some of the databases will contain the full text of articles while others will be abstract or citation only databases, requiring the use of WebBridge to locate the full text. To brush up on WebBridge please consult our WebBridge video tutorial or our WebBridge webpage.

Please note the inclusion of Arts and Humanities Citation Index, International Medieval Bibliography, and Iter as supplemental databases. These three databases are vastly different from JSTOR and EBSCO databases. Please contact the Philosophy Liaison Librarian for assistance in using these databases.

Core Databases


Philosopher's Index


Journal of Islamic Philosophy

Academic Search Premier
Indexed titles of note:  Arab Studies Quarterly, Arabic Sciences & Philosophy, Comparative Islamic Studies, Islamic Law and Society, Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies, and Journal of Qur'anic Studies

Supplemental Databases

Arts & Humanities Citation Index
Indexed titles of note:  Speculum, Journal of Islamic Studies and Vivarium

ATLA Religion Database
Indexed titles of note:  Muslim World, Hamdard Islamicus, Islam, and Journal of Near Eastern Studies

International Medieval Bibliography
Search Tip:  Use the Advanced Search option to limit the search results to English language research
To locate the full text:  Use the WebBridge icon, do not use the "View full text of the article" link, this will bring you to a commercial website that will charge you for full text access
Indexed titles of note:  Iranian Studies: Journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies, Islamic Quarterly, and Quaestio: The Yearbook of the History of Metaphysics

Iter:  Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance
To locate the full text:  Click on "Check for Full Text" link
Indexed titles of note:  The Modern Schoolman, Medieval Encounters, Religious Studies, and Islamic Quarterly

Search Tip:  Limit your JSTOR search to the following disciplines: Classical, Middle East Studies, Religion, and Philosophy. This will limit your searches to only those journals that publish research on Islamic philosophy.
Titles of note:  International Journal of Middle East Studies and Philosophy East and West

Project Muse
Search Tip:  Limit your search to the following disciplines: Classics, Middle East Studies, Philosophy, Philosophy and Science, and Religion. This will limit your searches to only those journals that publish research on Islamic philosophy.
Title of note:  Journal of the History of Philosophy 


Return to top


Web Resources



Islamic Philosophy Online

Links to full text books and articles on Islamic Philosophy and various Islamic philosophers. Site includes access to the Dictionary of Islamic Philosophy and the Map of Islamic Philosophy.


Islamic Heritage Project

Harvard University
Access digitzed versions of Islamic texts, manuscripts, and maps. You can search by keyword or click on the "Published Materials" link to browse by topic. Please keep in mind that these are primary source materials and as such, are written in Arabic with little to no English language translation.

An open source journal dedicated to the study of classical Islamic civilization up to the 17th century. Full text access is available after 6 months of publication. Al Qantara is indexed in Arts and Humanities Citation Index. If you would like to place an Interlibrary Loan for an article that is less than 6 months old search for the article in A&H and use WebBridge to place the Interlibrary Loan request.

Al-Ghazzali Online Library
A online bibliography of works by and about Al-Ghazzali

Brief Bibliographical Guide in Medieval Islamic Philosophy and Theology (1998-2002)
Thérèse-Anne Druart
The Catholic University of America

Internet Archive - Text Archive
To search for works by a specific philosopher, click on "Advanced Search" and enter in the philosopher's name in the "creator" search box.

Internet Sacred Text Archive - Islamic Texts
Provides online access to major Islamic texts including the Qur'an and Sufi texts

Philosophers of the Arabs
Provides links to articles and essays by Arabic philosophers that discuss contemporary philosophical issues

Philosophy Talk:  Islamic Philosophy
Stanford University
Podcast on Islamic Philosophy from Stanford University's Philosophy Talk radio program

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Online encyclopedia produced by Stanford University that has a number of articles on Islamic Philosophy and Islamic philosophers


Return to top


Citing Sources

See the library's Citing Sources guide for resources on how to properly cite research materials. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.


Return to top