March 26, 2004

More Alawites

Reader Eamon left a fascinating comment on this old post about the Alawites, who are either a heretical sect of Islam or their own religion entirely (I've taken the liberty of lower casing and correcting spelling where appropriate):

Alawism is more of a philosophic trend than a religion. Its belief in primitivism as the only salvation as the only salvation for man. Alawites come from Alexander the Great. You would be surprised to know that Plato is one of the prophets highly deemed [regarded?--ideofact] by Alawites. For example, an Alawite might pray while doing something else (deritualized prayer) because he thinks that the essence is in the idea or the mind -- it's very much similar to Plato's famous phrase "three times removed from the truth."

Fascinating, if true. I'm reminded of Kipling's tale The Man Who Would Be King, and a Borges story, The Theologians, in which a misreading of a quotation of Plato by St. Augustine spawns a heretical sect.

Incidentally, I've noted that two of the most popular search terms that draw visitors to ideofact are "Alawites" and "Druze." A third is "Japanese Pirates." I wonder why...

Posted by Ideofact at March 26, 2004 11:22 PM

Don't the Alawites control the Syrian Baathist Party?

Posted by: Dan Darling at March 27, 2004 01:57 AM

That's what I've heard, although I think it's fairer to say that a large percentage of the Ba'athist leadership in Syria come from Alawite roots. I don't think the party has much in common with Alawite beliefs, although Plato's Republic never struck me as a place where I'd want to live...

Posted by: Bill at March 27, 2004 10:12 PM