INTERPRETING AVERROES – Book Sample
About the book – INTERPRETING AVERROES
INTERPRETING AVERROES book brings together world-leading scholars on the thought of Averroes, the greatest medieval commentator on Aristotle but also a major scholar of Islam. The collection situates him in his historical context by emphasizing the way that he responded to the political situation of twelfth-century Islamic Spain and the provocations of Islamic theology.
It also sheds light on the interconnections between aspects of his work that are usually studied separately, such as his treatises on logic and his legal writings. Advanced students and scholars will find authoritative and insightful treatments of Averroes’ philosophy, tackled from multiple perspectives and written in a clear and accessible way that will appeal to those encountering his work for the first time as well as to anyone looking for new critical approaches to Averroes andhis-thinking.
Introduction – INTERPRETING AVERROES
Let’s begin with his name. In his own life and time it was Abū l-Walīd Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad Ibn Rushd (AD 1126–98). That name conjures him as a Muslim _jurist whose father and grandfather were likewise judges (“ibn” means “son of”).
But in the medieval Christian world he was known under a Latinized version of “Ibn Rushd,” namely “Averroes.” Or sometimes he was not named at all, because he did not need to be. Like Aristotle, whom the scholastics honored as “the Philosopher,” Averroes was often simply referred to in medieval Latin literature as “the Commentator.” The title was a well-earned one, which recognized Averroes’ status as the indispensable guide to Aristotle’s thought.
Along with the AD second-century commentator Alexander of Aphrodisias, Averroes stands as the greatest pre modern exegete of Aristotle. He is seen almost exclusively in this light by contemporary scholars, who have devoted considerable attention to his acute observations on Aristotelian texts and above all to his impact on Latin Christian thought.
In this volume we have made the pragmatic decision to refer to our protagonist using the name by which he is best known in English. But our goal has been, as it were, to recover the Ibn Rushd who stands behind Averroes. Perhaps more than any other medieval thinker, Averroes is an author who is read retrospectively. Admittedly, this approach is not unjustiﬁed. Given the extensive inﬂuence of his commentaries in both
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