Averroes: a Rationalist in Islam
- List Price: $34.95
- Binding: Hardcover
- Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
- Publish date: 11/01/2000
1998 marked the 800th anniversary of the death of Averroes, the famous medieval philosopher, commentator on Aristotle, and great Islamic intellectual. Now Roger Arnaldez, one of the world's most distinguished Islamists, fascinates us with the story of Averroes and his remarkable role in the history of the Middle Ages.
His prodigious knowledge of astronomy, medicine, Aristotelian philosophy, Qur' anic studies, and the civil law of his time based on the Qur'an, made Averroes a favorite of the sultan's court. He was appointed Grand Qadi, the highest judicial position in the medieval Spanish city of Cordoba. Yet in the midst of his success Averroes faced a struggle that is not unknown to thinkers today: how to reconcile philosophical reason with faith, specifically his Muslim faith and the tenets of the Qur'an.
In 1195, following conflicts with orthodox Muslim clergy, who possessed political influence and power, Averroes fell into disfavor with the leaders of the Islamic state. His writings were burned and he was forced into exile. Eventually he regained his position as an intellectual leader but died shortly thereafter in 1198. This insightful study of his struggle to resolve the public and personal conflicts that accompany such a multifaceted intellectual life enriches our understanding not only of Averroes but also of the medieval world in which he lived.
Through this meticulous review, which includes analyses of Averroes' various commentaries on Aristotle and his theological treatises, Arnaldez argues that Averroes deserves a higher place in Muslim intellectual history than he now holds.