By Richard E. Rubenstein
Richard Rubenstein recounts with strength and power this really good tale of the highbrow ferment that planted the seeds of the clinical age in Europe and displays our personal struggles with religion and reason.
Read or Download Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Dark Ages PDF
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Additional info for Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Dark Ages
The tale really begins in Athens, with the arrival of an obscure young man from the provinces at Plato's famous Academy. Who was Aristotle of Stagira? How did he emerge from Plato's shadow to become the giant figure that the poet Dante called "the master of those who know"? What were the ideas that, rediscovered centuries later by Christian scholars in Toledo, would change the course of Western history? Our inquiry calls us back to a time when "civilization" meant the life of cities, and one city above all others symbolized the life of the mind.
At the same time, everywhere that Western Christians could mingle freely with Jews, Muslims, or Greeks, new centers sprang up. Provence, with its large Jewish population, was one such "open" region, specializing in translating Arabic texts first into Hebrew and then into Latin. Northern Italy, which (thanks to the Crusades) had developed a thriving trade with North Africa and the Byzantine Empire, was another. " The richest amalgam of cultures, however, was to be found in Sicily, a kingdom that had been part of the Greek-speaking Byzantine Empire before being conquered by the Arabs, and, more recently, by Latin-speaking adventurers from Normandy who had also extended their rule over England.
It did not cause the far-reaching changes taking place in European society in the late Middle Ages: the increases in food production and trade, the development of cities, the spread of learning, and the growth of popular religious movements. The usefulness of Aristotle's methods and concepts (like that of Clarke's star-gate) depended upon the achievement of a certain level of technical and economic progress, the development of a certain cultural momentum, by the receiving society. Given this momentum, however, the discoveries had a slingshot effect, accelerating the pace and deepening the quality of scientific and philosophical inquiry.