By Richard E. Rubenstein
Richard Rubenstein recounts with strength and energy this marvelous tale of the highbrow ferment that planted the seeds of the clinical age in Europe and displays our personal struggles with religion and reason.
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Extra info for Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Dark Ages
Chapter One "The Master of Those Who Know" ARISTOTLE REDISCOVERED IT IS HARD NOT TO think of twelfth-century Spain as a scholar's paradise. The picture that comes to mind is that of a broad table, well lit by candles, on which are spread out dozens of manuscripts written in Syriac, Aramaic, Arabic, Hebrew, and Greek. Around the table, poring over the manuscripts, taking notes, or conversing animatedly, are bearded Jews, tonsured Christian monks, turbaned Muslims, and dark-haired Greeks. The setting is Toledo, a Spanish city long ruled by Islamic authorities but now under Christian control.
Moreover, this work would be carried out without censorship. There would be no attempt by Raymund and his colleagues to distinguish between potentially dangerous and inoffensive books, or to substitute orthodox language for non-Christian words or phrases. Very likely, the archbishop's sunny faith did not recognize the possibility that the truths enunciated by Aristotle, Euclid, or the inspired philosophers of other religions could be incompatible with the truths expressed by the Apostles of Christ and the Church Fathers.
As late as 1277, the Church condemned a number of Aristotelian ideas being taught in the schools, including some propositions espoused by the century's greatest genius, Thomas Aquinas. In the end, however, the leaders of the Church allowed Christian thinking to be transformed by the new worldview. With irreversible social changes remaking European society, they realized that the Church would have to adapt to new currents of thought if it were to retain its position of intellectual and moral leadership.