Judeo-Islamic philosophies (800–1400)

A medieval Arabic representation of Aristotle teaching a student.

This article covers the conversations between Arabic philosophy and Jewish philosophy, and mutual influence on each other in response to questions and challenges brought into wide circulation through Aristotelianism, Neo-platonism, and the Kalam, focusing especially on the period from 800–1400 CE.

- Judeo-Islamic philosophies (800–1400)
A medieval Arabic representation of Aristotle teaching a student.

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Philo

Jewish philosophy

Jewish philosophy (פילוסופיה יהודית) includes all philosophy carried out by Jews, or in relation to the religion of Judaism.

Jewish philosophy (פילוסופיה יהודית) includes all philosophy carried out by Jews, or in relation to the religion of Judaism.

Philo
Artist's depiction, sculpture of Maimonides
Ceuta, North African Spain
Ottoman Empire welcomed Jews expelled from Spain & Portugal
Baruch Spinoza
Martin Buber
Hermann Cohen

Borrowing from the Mutakallamin of Basra, the Karaites were the first Jewish group to subject Judaism to Muʿtazila.

Roman copy in marble of a Greek bronze bust of Aristotle by Lysippos, c. 330 BC, with modern alabaster mantle

Aristotle

Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece.

Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece.

Roman copy in marble of a Greek bronze bust of Aristotle by Lysippos, c. 330 BC, with modern alabaster mantle
School of Aristotle in Mieza, Macedonia, Greece
Roman copy of 1st or 2nd century from original bronze by Lysippos. Louvre Museum
Plato (left) and Aristotle in Raphael's 1509 fresco, The School of Athens. Aristotle holds his Nicomachean Ethics and gestures to the earth, representing his view in immanent realism, whilst Plato gestures to the heavens, indicating his Theory of Forms, and holds his Timaeus.
Plato's forms exist as universals, like the ideal form of an apple. For Aristotle, both matter and form belong to the individual thing (hylomorphism).
Aristotle argued that a capability like playing the flute could be acquired – the potential made actual – by learning.
The four classical elements (fire, air, water, earth) of Empedocles and Aristotle illustrated with a burning log. The log releases all four elements as it is destroyed.
Aristotle argued by analogy with woodwork that a thing takes its form from four causes: in the case of a table, the wood used (material cause), its design (formal cause), the tools and techniques used (efficient cause), and its decorative or practical purpose (final cause).
Aristotle noted that the ground level of the Aeolian islands changed before a volcanic eruption.
Among many pioneering zoological observations, Aristotle described the reproductive hectocotyl arm of the octopus (bottom left).
Aristotle inferred growth laws from his observations on animals, including that brood size decreases with body mass, whereas gestation period increases. He was correct in these predictions, at least for mammals: data are shown for mouse and elephant.
Aristotle recorded that the embryo of a dogfish was attached by a cord to a kind of placenta (the yolk sac), like a higher animal; this formed an exception to the linear scale from highest to lowest.
Aristotle proposed a three-part structure for souls of plants, animals, and humans, making humans unique in having all three types of soul.
Senses, perception, memory, dreams, action in Aristotle's psychology. Impressions are stored in the sensorium (the heart), linked by his laws of association (similarity, contrast, and contiguity).
Aristotle's classifications of political constitutions
The Blind Oedipus Commending his Children to the Gods (1784) by Bénigne Gagneraux. In his Poetics, Aristotle uses the tragedy Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles as an example of how the perfect tragedy should be structured, with a generally good protagonist who starts the play prosperous, but loses everything through some hamartia (fault).
Frontispiece to a 1644 version of Theophrastus's Historia Plantarum, originally written around 300 BC
Islamic portrayal of Aristotle, c. 1220
Woodcut of Aristotle ridden by Phyllis by Hans Baldung, 1515
William Harvey's De Motu Cordis, 1628, showed that the blood circulated, contrary to classical era thinking.
"That most enduring of romantic images, Aristotle tutoring the future conqueror Alexander". Illustration by, 1866
First page of a 1566 edition of the Nicomachean Ethics in Greek and Latin
Nuremberg Chronicle anachronistically shows Aristotle in a medieval scholar's clothing. Ink and watercolour on paper, 1493
Aristotle by Justus van Gent. Oil on panel, c. 1476
Phyllis and Aristotle by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Oil on panel, 1530
Aristotle by Paolo Veronese, Biblioteka Marciana. Oil on canvas, 1560s
Aristotle and Campaspe,{{efn-ua | Compare the medieval tale of Phyllis and Alexander above.}} Alessandro Turchi (attrib.) Oil on canvas, 1713
Aristotle by Jusepe de Ribera. Oil on canvas, 1637
Aristotle with a Bust of Homer by Rembrandt. Oil on canvas, 1653
Aristotle by Johann Jakob Dorner the Elder. Oil on canvas, by 1813
Aristotle by Francesco Hayez. Oil on canvas, 1811
Roman copy of 117-138 AD of Greek original. Palermo Regional Archeology Museum
Relief of Aristotle and Plato by Luca della Robbia, Florence Cathedral, 1437–1439
Stone statue in niche, Gladstone's Library, Hawarden, Wales, 1899
Bronze statue, University of Freiburg, Germany, 1915

He also influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophies (800–1400) during the Middle Ages, as well as Christian theology, especially the Neoplatonism of the Early Church and the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church.

The Age of the Caliphs

Al-Andalus

The Muslim-ruled area of the Iberian Peninsula.

The Muslim-ruled area of the Iberian Peninsula.

The Age of the Caliphs
The province of al-Andalus in 750
Interior of the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba formerly the Great Mosque of Córdoba. The original mosque (742), since much enlarged, was built on the site of the Visigothic Christian 'Saint Vincent Basilica' (600).
Statue of Abd al Rahman in Almuñécar
Mosaic covered mihrab inside the Cordoba mosque
The Caliphate of Cordoba in 910
The taifas (green) in 1031 AD
Map showing the extent of the Almoravid empire
Expansion of the Almohad state in the 12th century
The Giralda of Seville originally built by the Almohads is a prime example of Andalusi architecture.
A silk textile fragment from the last Muslim dynasty of Al-Andalus, the Nasrid Dynasty (1232–1492), with the epigraphic inscription "glory to our lord the Sultan".
Manuel Gómez-Moreno González's 19th-century depiction of Muhammad XII's family in the Alhambra moments after the fall of Granada.
The Court of the Lions as shown from the Alhambra, the palace of Nasrid Granada
Male clothing of al-Andalus in the 15th century, during the Emirate of Granada
A Christian and a Muslim playing chess in 13th-century al-Andalus
Image of a Jewish cantor reading the Passover story in al-Andalus, from a 14th-century Spanish Haggadah
Linguistic map of southwestern Europe
A section of the hypostyle hall in the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, begun in 785
The Pyxis of al-Mughira, a carved ivory casket made at Madinat al-Zahra, dated to 968
The Alhambra, begun by the first Nasrid emir Ibn al-Ahmar in the 13th century
The cultivation of sugarcane had reached the south of the Iberian Peninsula by the 16th century CE due to Arab conquest and administration of the region.
Diffusion of bananas from India to the Iberian peninsula during Islamic rule.
Averroes, founder of the Averroism school of philosophy, was influential in the rise of secular thought in Western Europe. Detail from Triunfo de Santo Tomás by Andrea Bonaiuto, 14th century
Jewish Street Sign in Toledo, Spain

A stream of Jewish philosophers, cross-fertilizing with Muslim philosophers (see joint Jewish and Islamic philosophies), culminated with the widely celebrated Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages, Maimonides (1135–1205), though he did not actually do any of his work in al-Andalus, his family having fled persecution by the Almohads when he was 13.

14th-century image of a university lecture

Scholasticism

Medieval school of philosophy that employed a critical organic method of philosophical analysis predicated upon the Aristotelian 10 Categories.

Medieval school of philosophy that employed a critical organic method of philosophical analysis predicated upon the Aristotelian 10 Categories.

14th-century image of a university lecture

Christian scholasticism emerged within the monastic schools that translated scholastic Judeo—Islamic philosophies, and thereby "rediscovered" the collected works of Aristotle.

Engraving depicting the play Le Misanthrope by Molière

Misanthropy

General hatred, dislike, distrust or contempt of the human species, human behavior or human nature.

General hatred, dislike, distrust or contempt of the human species, human behavior or human nature.

Engraving depicting the play Le Misanthrope by Molière
The Misanthrope by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1568. The inscription reads, "Because the world is perfidious, I am going into mourning".

In the Judeo-Islamic philosophies (800–1400), the Jewish philosopher Saadia Gaon uses the Platonic idea that the self-isolated man is dehumanized by friendlessness to argue against the misanthropy of anchorite asceticism and reclusiveness.

New technological discoveries allowed the development of Gothic architecture, shown here at Canterbury Cathedral

Renaissance of the 12th century

Period of many changes at the outset of the High Middle Ages.

Period of many changes at the outset of the High Middle Ages.

New technological discoveries allowed the development of Gothic architecture, shown here at Canterbury Cathedral
Al-Razi's Recueil des traités de médecine translated by Gerard of Cremona, from the second half of the 13th century.
Main trading routes of the Hanseatic League
God the Geometer: medieval scholars sought to understand the geometric and harmonic principles by which God has created the universe.
A miniature showing the copying of a manuscript in a scriptorium
Detail of a portrait of Hugh de Provence, painted by Tommaso da Modena in 1352

A new method of learning called scholasticism developed in the late 12th century from the rediscovery of the works of Aristotle; the works of medieval Muslims and Jews influenced by him, notably Maimonides, Avicenna (see Avicennism) and Averroes (see Averroism).

The Cave of the Patriarchs, burial place of Abraham.

Islamic–Jewish relations

Islamic–Jewish relations started in the 7th century CE with the origin and spread of Islam in the Arabian peninsula.

Islamic–Jewish relations started in the 7th century CE with the origin and spread of Islam in the Arabian peninsula.

The Cave of the Patriarchs, burial place of Abraham.
Moses with the Ten Commandments, by Rembrandt.
Image of a cantor reading the Passover story in Al Andalus, from the 14th century Haggadah of Barcelona.
First Gathering of European Muslim and Jewish leaders in Brussels, December 2010 hosted by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding – left to right: Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric – European Council President Herman Van Rompuy – Rabbi Marc Schneier – Imam Dr. Abdujalil Sajid
A Sefer Torah opened for liturgical use in a synagogue service
11th-century North African Quran in the British Museum
Manuscript page in Arabic written in the Hebrew alphabet by Maimonides (12th century).

Joint Jewish and Islamic philosophies

Ilkhanate Empire ruler, Ghazan, studying the Quran

Islamic studies

Islamic studies refers to the academic study of Islam, and generally to academic multidisciplinary "studies" programs—programs similar to others that focus on the history, texts and theologies of other religious traditions, such as Eastern Christian Studies or Jewish Studies but also fields such as (environmental studies, Middle East studies, race studies, urban studies, etc.) —where scholars from diverse disciplines (history, culture, literature, art) participate and exchange ideas pertaining to the particular field of study.

Islamic studies refers to the academic study of Islam, and generally to academic multidisciplinary "studies" programs—programs similar to others that focus on the history, texts and theologies of other religious traditions, such as Eastern Christian Studies or Jewish Studies but also fields such as (environmental studies, Middle East studies, race studies, urban studies, etc.) —where scholars from diverse disciplines (history, culture, literature, art) participate and exchange ideas pertaining to the particular field of study.

Ilkhanate Empire ruler, Ghazan, studying the Quran
Portrait of a painter during Reign of Mehmet II (1444-1481)
A Persian miniature of Shah Abu'l Ma‘ali a scholar.

Judeo-Islamic philosophies (800 - 1400)

A 12th-century Byzantine manuscript of the Hippocratic Oath

Medical ethics

Applied branch of ethics which analyzes the practice of clinical medicine and related scientific research.

Applied branch of ethics which analyzes the practice of clinical medicine and related scientific research.

A 12th-century Byzantine manuscript of the Hippocratic Oath
AMA Code of Medical Ethics
Taoist symbol of Yin and Yang
"More Doctors Smoke Camels than Any Other Cigarette" advertisement for Camel cigarettes in the 1940s

In the medieval and early modern period, the field is indebted to Islamic scholarship such as Ishaq ibn Ali al-Ruhawi (who wrote the Conduct of a Physician, the first book dedicated to medical ethics), Avicenna's Canon of Medicine and Muhammad ibn Zakariya ar-Razi (known as Rhazes in the West), Jewish thinkers such as Maimonides, Roman Catholic scholastic thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas, and the case-oriented analysis (casuistry) of Catholic moral theology.

Visitors in the Orthodox Jewish cemetery in Budapest, circa 1920; the word "Orthodox" (ארטאדאקסען) is painted on the wall, second to the left. Traditionalist Jews in Hungary were the first anywhere to use the term "orthodox" in the formation of an independent Orthodox organization in 1871.

Dor Daim

The Dardaim or Dor Daim (דרדעים), are adherents of the Dor Deah movement in Orthodox Judaism.

The Dardaim or Dor Daim (דרדעים), are adherents of the Dor Deah movement in Orthodox Judaism.

Visitors in the Orthodox Jewish cemetery in Budapest, circa 1920; the word "Orthodox" (ארטאדאקסען) is painted on the wall, second to the left. Traditionalist Jews in Hungary were the first anywhere to use the term "orthodox" in the formation of an independent Orthodox organization in 1871.

6) Salafis typically reject Islamic philosophy of the kind propounded by Avicenna and Averroes. Dor Daim, by contrast, find strong inspiration in the closely related Jewish philosophies of Bahya ibn Pakuda and Maimonides.