A Modern History of the Islamic World. A History of Western Philosophy. Toward a Philosophy of History. A Case For World Philosophy. Wednesday, July 27, AM. LinkBack URL. About LinkBacks. Video Audio icon An illustration of an audio speaker. Audio Software icon An illustration of a 3. The implications of this bipolarity for the subsequent development of scholastic theology Kalam are not far to seek. There was first the inevitable confrontation of Islam with paganism and Christianity, both at Damascus and at Baghdad, and the numerous tensions it generated.
The attempt to grapple with these complex problems is at the basis of the rise and development of Islamic scholastic theology. A good deal of the work of the earliest theologians consisted in the rebuttal of the arguments leveled at Islam by pagans, Christians, and Jews. Within the confines of Islam itself, discussion began to center by the seventh century around the questions of divine justice and human responsibility. Authorities report that a cluster of early theologians engaged in the discussion of the problem of free will and predestination qadar , an issue generally recognized as the first major one broached by the early theologians.
The proper prosecution of discussions of this kind naturally called for a high degree of sophistication, which, prior to the introduction of Greek philosophy and logic, was rather difficult, if not impossible. Scholastic theology therefore gave the Muslims, as it had given the Christians of Egypt and Syria centuries earlier, the incentive to pursue the study of Greek philosophy. Not much progress was made in that direction during the Umayyad period The Umayyad caliphs, especially during the first few decades of their rule, were concerned primarily with the consolidation of their political power and the solution of the numerous economic and administrative problems which governing a vast empire raised.
However, souls thirsting after knowledge were not altogether wanting even during this period. We might mention, as a striking instance, the Umayyad prince Khalid b. Yazid d. According to our most ancient sources, Khalid provided for the first translations of scientific works medical, astrological, and alchemical into Arabic.
Interest in science and philosophy grew during this period to such an extent that scientific and philosophical output was no longer a matter of individual effort or initiative. Before long, the state took an active part in its promotion and the intellectual repercussions of this activity acquired much greater scope.
Theological divisions, growing out of philosophical controversy or inquiry racked the whole of the Muslim community. Caliphs upheld one theological view against another and demanded adherence to it on political grounds, with the inevitable result that theology soon became the handmaid of politics.
As a consequence, freedom of thought and conscience was seriously jeopardized. A fundamental cause of this development is, of course, the close correlation in Islam between principle and law, the realm of the temporal and the realm of the spiritual. But such a development required the challenge of foreign ideas and a release from the shackles of dogma. This is precisely the role played by the of Greek ideas and the Greek spirit of intellectual curiosity, which generated a bipolar reaction of the utmost importance for the understanding of Islam.
The most radical division caused by the introduction of Greek thought was between the progressive element, which sought earnestly to subject the data of revelation to the scrutiny of philosophical thought, and the conservative element, which disassociated itself altogether from philosophy on the ground that it was either impious or suspiciously foreign.
This division continued to reappear throughout Islamic history as a kind of geological fault, sundering the whole of Islam. As a result, throughout Muslim history reform movements have not been marked by a great degree of release from authority or dogma or a quest for the reinterpretation or reexamination of fundamental presuppositions in the realms of social organization, theological discussion, or legal thought.
Anas, was no longer tenable in its pure or original form. It was as though most of Greek dialectic could no longer be exorcised without recourse to the formula of exorcism which it had itself enunciated in the first place. Moreover, the, varying degrees of allegiance to Greek philosophy and logic not only gave rise to the diverse theological schools of thought, but generated the more distinctly, Hellenic current of ideas, which we shall designate as the Islamic philosophical school. The rise and development of this school is the primary concern of the present history.
Scholastic theology will be discussed only in so far as it absorbed, reacted to, or by-passed Islamic philosophy. To theology might be added another movement whose relation to philosophy has also fluctuated between the two poles of total endorsement or total disavowal-mysticism or Sufism. The mystical experience, it is often claimed, is distinct from the rational or the philosophical, and, less often, it is said to be contrary to it.
Conversely, the philosophical preoccupations of some philosophers, such as Ibn Bajjah d. The beginnings of the Islamic philosophical school coincide with the first translations of the works of the Greek masters into Arabic from Syriac or Greek. We might accept as credible the traditional account that scientific and medical texts were the earliest works to be translated into Arabic. The Arabs, as well as the Persians, who contributed so abundantly to the scientific and philosophical enlightenment in Islam, are a practical-minded people.
Their interest in the more abstract aspects of Greek thought must have been a subsequent development. Even the Christian Syrians, who paved the way for the introduction of the Greek heritage into the Near East shortly before the Arab conquest in the seventh century, were interested primarily in Aristotelian logic and Greek philosophy as a prelude to the study of theological texts.
These were not only written originally in Greek, but also were rich in logical and philosophical terms that previously had been unknown to the Semites. In addition to scientific and medical works, collections of moral aphorisms ascribed to Socrates, Solon, Hermes, Pythagoras, Luqman, and similar real or fictitious personages appear to have been among the earliest texts to be translated into Arabic.
The Arab accounts of Greek philosophy abound in such apocryphal literature, whose exact origin is sometimes difficult to ascertain. It might be assumed that it was the affinity of these writings to belles lettres adab and their literary excellence which insured their early vogue among the elite.
Translators had naturally to depend upon the generosity of their aristocratic or wealthy patrons, who, even when they affected interest in other than the purely practical disciplines of astrology or medicine at all, were content with this species of ethical and religious literature, which was cherished and disseminated partly as a matter of social refinement and partly as a matter of moral edification.
Interest in the more abstract forms of ancient, especially Greek, learning was bound to follow in due course, however. First, the translators themselves, having mastered skills required for translating into Arabic more practical works, proceeded next to tackle works of a greater speculative interest, and eventually to induce their patrons to provide for their translation.
Abstract philosophy was further popularized through the personal idiosyncrasies of such men as the Umayyad prince Khalid b. The greater translators, most of whom were Syriac-speaking Christians, of the unorthodox Nestorian and Monophysite communions, were, not mere translators or servile imitators of Greek or other foreign authors. Some of them, such as Hunain d. To a famous pupil of his, Ibn al-Khammar d. The works of those early translators were on the whole compilations which lacked originality.
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John Allen. Hillis, David E. Sadava, Richard W. Hill, Mary V. Download Re-Imagine! Erickson, Liam D. Download Realms of Gold - Michael J. Marshall pdf. Syllabus: Islamic Philosophy and Theology. From the introduction of Greek Philosophy into the Muslim world in the eighth century, right through to modern times, Majid Fakhry charts the evolution and interaction of philosophy, theology, and mysticism in the Islamic context.
This fascinating introduction explores the major philosophical, theological and mystical concepts that have developed into Islamic philosophy. Description From the introduction of Greek Philosophy into the Muslim world in the eighth century, right through to modern times, Majid Fakhry charts the evolution and interaction of philosophy, theology, and mysticism in the Islamic context.
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