Other Sellers on Amazon
Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages Paperback – September 20, 2004
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
"A superb storyteller who breathes new life into such fascinating figures as Peter Abelard, Albertus Magnus, St. Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, William of Ockham and Aristotle himself." -Los Angeles Times
From the Inside Flap
The ideas came from Aristotle. His work, like the rest of Greek culture, had been lost in the centuries after the fall of Rome, when the Greek language was forgotten. But in the Muslim world, the wisdom of the Greeks was never lost and contributed to the flowering of Islamic culture.
Then in the twelfth century in Toledo, Spain, groups of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish scholars collaborated on translating the ancient classics; and ideas long forgotten galvanized Europe, turning Western thinking away from the supernatural world and toward the world of nature. With their optimistic view of human nature, these ideas sparked fierce controversies in the universities and caused major changes in the Catholic Church.
Rubenstein, author of When Jesus Became God, takes the reader back in time, to the translation center in Toledo and to the great universities in Paris, Padua, and Oxford. He shows how the Catholic Church adopted these new ideas and struggled to reconcile science and religion and how Western thinking was set on the path it has followed ever since.
This is a feast for readers who are fascinated by medieval history, and a treat for all who want to understand the ideas that are fundamental to modern thought.
- Publisher : Mariner Books; First edition (September 20, 2004)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0156030098
- ISBN-13 : 978-0156030090
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.98 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #842,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Though acquainted with Ockham’s razor, I did not realize how influential this had been in severing science and religion, in that Ockham denied that we could reason our way to an understanding of God. He wished to de-mystify nature and re-mystify God. Eventually, that is what happened, with our present divorce of science and religion. But reason and faith were not separate endeavors in the Middle Ages. Science sprang from medieval thought, from the confluence of reason and faith, though it is common for us to think that science somehow arose in complete opposition to religion.
Most scientists are materialists and logical positivism is the philosophy most suited to materialism. The logical-positivists insist that the proposition “Stealing is bad,” demonstrates nothing except the mental state of the person stating it, merely a subjective opinion. But they do not say the same thing for ”A tomato is red.” Presumably color is real but morality is not, even though a color blind person cannot see that a tomato is red, and only morally blind people cannot see that stealing is bad. Admittedly, the definition of stealing is more ambiguous than the definition of red. Although, perhaps there are shades of red in a comparable way to shades of stealing. Is knocking someone in the head and taking his wallet stealing? Essentially everyone agrees, yes. Is compelling workers to work for a non-livable wage, and punishing them if they protest, a form of stealing? This is subjective. Does subjective mean that one opinion is no better than the other?
Rubenstein argues, “Answers [to moral issues] that make sense require the sort of dialogue between a rationally influenced faith and an ethically interested reason that took place a few centuries ago in the medieval universities.” And, “Reason could transform the earth, if only science and technology were inspired and guided by a new global morality.”
So how does that come about?
The great rhetorical arguments limned here paved the way for modern philosophical thinking, clear through the existentialists. They owe many of their techniques to arguments in great stone cathedrals lit only by sunlight or torches nearly a thousand years ago. The book is an entrancing read that takes us back to those fraught times, and reminds us how we got here, and helps us hear the echoes of those conflicts in the world we live in presen rtf ly.
The authors closing chapter is thought provoking and respectful of the intellectual and spiritual needs of humans in our current state. A need to know and a need for a sense of the transcendent. He does not proscribe simple solutions, or any for that matter. Instead he points out that science and faith can both potentially benefit each other with dialogue and less polarization; they can make each other stronger and become something more.
As a counselor, firm advocate for science (in the cultural slough of 2019) and a strong skeptic of the benefit of religion, I found the authors work hopeful.
“For those anxious to establish the superiority of Western culture to all other traditions, the story of Europe’s first intellectual revolution is something of an embarrassment. Not only was the chief transmitter of these advanced ideas a non-European civilization, it was the civilization that Christians long considered their nemesis: the Muslim empire that occupied the Holy Land, dominated the Mediterranean sea lanes, and challenged Europe militarily for almost a thousand years. Worse yet, as the Crusaders discovered, this “infidel” culture was clearly more advanced in significant respects than that of the Latin West.”
Top reviews from other countries
I was worried when I first received it because the packaging was torn in several places and not up to Amazon's standard of packaging at all - just a plastic sleeve which was in no way strong enough for the weight of the book - but the corners only needed a small amount of smoothing out, so all is well.