Arabic Thought and Its Place in History

Arabic Thought and Its Place in History

Arabic Thought and Its Place in History

Arabic Thought and Its Place in History

Excerpt

The subject proposed in the following pages is the history of the cultural transmission by which Greek philosophy and science were passed from Hellenistic surroundings to the Syriac speaking community, thence to the Arabic speaking world of Islam, and so finally to the Latin Schoolmen of Western Europe. That such a transmission did take place is known even to the beginner in mediæval history, but how it happened, and the influences which promoted it, and the modifications which took place en route , appear to be less generally known, and it does not seem that the details, scattered through works of very diverse types, are easily accessible to the English reader. Many historians seem content to give only a casual reference to its course, sometimes even with strange chronological confusions which show that the sources used are still the mediæval writers who had very imperfect information about the development of intellectual life amongst the Muslims. Following mediæval usage we sometimes find the Arabic writers referred to as "Arabs" or "Moors," although in fact there was only one philosopher of any importance who was an Arab by race, and com-

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