POL 200 Y 1
Averroes, Maimonides, and Thomas Aquinas:
-Philosophy means Aristotle, and Aristotle means two things:
-Aristotle was considered a perfect philosopher, because he investigated everything,
politics, ethics, biology, etc. In this sense philosophy encompasses science and all rational
-Philosophy seeks the good life, and the fully good life is the rational contemplation of
the good in the world. The more you use your reason, the more you are like God.
Paris, 1210: They ban Averroes, and no one is allowed to read him. Averroes brought Aristotle to
Paris, and the debate determined the next 300 years of European philosophy.
1200: An influx of Aristotle. Latin Europe had very little Aristotle in the 1100’s. The
religious authority called it dangerous.
-Aristotle started in Greece, and never permeated the Dark Ages, instead his influence
went East to Baghdad. The rise of Islam, and a dynasty in Baghdad proclaimed they
wanted all the knowledge in the world, and started a translation movement. Everything
got translated from Greek into Arabic.
-In Spain, the Caliphates also sets up another cultural and literature center. Referred to the
Golden Age of Spain.
*The Ornament of the World*, coexistence of Christians, Jews, and Muslims in
one place, communicating in Arabic, in Spain.
-Regime change in the 12
century, more religiously fundamentalist. Require all
Christians and Jews to either convert or leave. Many left going either North into Europe
or south into Egypt, (Maimonides).
-Aristotle is retranslated into Hebrew, taken into Europe by exiled Jews, and again
translated into Latin as it spread Europe. A very circuitous route.
-Averroes is depicted in Raphael’s “School of Athens” because he was considered the
communicator of Hellenistic ideas. He is the centerpiece between the Greek world and the
modern Renaissance world.
-He himself came from a very prominent family, he was a judge and doctor.
-In the Christian tradition, one of the biggest problems is the battle between reason and