Averroes – The Commentator and Polymath via SciHi Blog


On December 10, 1198, medieval Andalusian polymath Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rušd, better known as Averroes, passed away. Averroes wrote on logic, Aristotelian and Islamic philosophy, theology, the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence, psychology, political and Andalusian classical music theory, geography, mathematics, and the mediæval sciences of medicine, astronomy, physics, and celestial mechanics. Averroes had a greater impact on Christian Europe: he has been described as the “founding father of secular thought in Western Europe” and was known by the sobriquet the Commentator for his detailed emendations to Aristotle.

“Averroes‘ thought is known to have been creative as well as controversial. He used to produce arguments that were to puzzle his philosophical successors in the Jewish and Christian worlds. The polymath suggested two forms of truth, a religious and a philosophical one. He seems to argue that there are two forms of truth, a religious form and a philosophical form, and that it does not matter if they point in different directions. He also appears to be doubtful about the possibility of personal immortality or of God’s being able to know that particular events have taken place. There is much in his work also which suggests that religion is inferior to philosophy as a means of attaining knowledge, and that the understanding of religion which ordinary believers can have is very different and impoverished when compared with that available to the philosopher”

Avenzohar, “Colliget Averroys …”, 1530

“Averroes was an open and critical spirit of his time. In his preoccupation with Aristotle, he proceeded as systematically as possible and interpreted it like no one before him. He wrote commentaries in several gradations, shorter, medium and larger, and made a name for himself as a commentator on Aristotle. Even Dante mentioned him in this function in his Divine Comedy. Aristotle is the most perfect man for Averroes, who possessed the infallible truth and showed himself to man only once.”

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via Averroes – The Commentator and PolymathSciHi Blog