Spiritual Discourse: Learning with an Islamic Master
Far from Ottoman Turkey and the Balkans, an expanded farmhouse in southern Michigar provides the secure if improbable setting for Baba Rexheb and his Islamic Bektashi community. This is also the setting for Spiritual Discourse, a study of the process by Which Baba Rexheb, a ninety-vear-old Albanian leader of the Bektashi order, and Frances Trix, an American student who has studied with him for over twenty years, come to share a common universe of experience and attunement.
The focus of the study is one lesson with Baba – a lesson that is rich in poetry and parable, narrative and face-saving humor. As Trix seeks to understand how Baba teaches she contextualizes the lesson internally in terms of episodes and dialogic patterns, and externally in terms of the societal, personal, and ritual histories it presumes.
An ethnography of learning, a sociolinguistics of mysticism, above all Spiritual Discourse illuminates the process of interpersonal encounter. It is a story gracefully and unpretentiously told.