“Islamic bridge of civilisation to the West over-rated”

Sylvain Gouguenheim’s ‘“Aristote au Mont Saint-Michel” (Editions du Seuil), while not contending there is an ongoing clash of civilizations, makes the case that Islam was impermeable to much of Greek thought, that the Arab world’s initial translations of it to Latin were not so much the work of “Islam” but of Aramaeans and Christian Arabs, and that a wave of translations of Aristotle began at the Mont Saint-Michel monastery in France 50 years before Arab versions of the same texts appeared in Moorish Spain.‘ (Via HJH)

This is a kind of yes … but one that has been fairly well trodden. If, as well as Aristotle, Dante thought Averroes and Avicenna worth a place in Limbo they must have had something going for them. I’m quite inexplicably fond of Averroes and wonder if his case might not have been helped, probably without doing him any injustice, by his inclusion in a more recent hit parade of clever bastards:

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  1. Oh how nice, the old “Islam orthodoxy vs. Greek learning ” again. Goldziher must be looking down smiling. People like Dimitri Gutas of Yale have demolished these arguments long time ago pointing out how the Abbasid translation movement was a coordinated effort where the people at top, including the caliphs, sponsored translations from Greek. And while the Syriac speaking Christians were there at the beginning, it soon turned out that their knowledge of Greek was too limited for them to effectively and accurately translate scientific and hard-core philosophic works and other people took over.
    But hey, when have facts ever stopped demagogues?

  2. Man, you destroyed two thousand years of technological progress and we’re not pleased.

    Nope, the plugin settings for related posts don’t kill quotation marks in mouseover text. So it’s my fault. As usual.

  3. OK, I recreated the internet with my friend Al. Please everyone leave it alone for the next few minutes while make it a safe and decent place to be.

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