THE VITAL ROOTS OF EUROPEAN ENLIGHTENMENT: IBN TUFAYL'S INFLUENCE ON MODERN WESTERN THOUGHT
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 The Vital Roots Of European Enlightenment
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Ibn TufaylSamar Attar
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THE VITAL ROOTS OF EUROPEAN ENLIGHTENMENT

A CHRONOLOGY OF IBN TUFAYL AND SOME EU ROPEAN THINKERS INFLUENCED BY HIM UNTIL 1859 – THE VITAL ROOTS OF EUROPEAN ENLIGHTENMENT

1100 or 1110 Ibn Tufayl/Abubacer born in Wadi Ash, the modern Guadix, 40 miles northeast of Granada, Spain.

1126 Ibn Rushd/Averroes born in Cordova, Spain.

1163–1184 Ibn Tufayl serves as an adviser and physician at the court of Sultan Abu Ya’qub Yusuf of Morocco and Spain. Although he is trained

in medicine he is very knowledgeable in philosophy, mathematics, as- tronomy, physics, other natural sciences and poetry. His scientific works are lost.

1160 or 1170 Ibn Tufayl writes an allegorical novel, Hayy Ibn Yaqzan.

Hayy is a spontaneously generated boy on a desert island.

1169 or 1182  Ibn Tufayl invites Ibn Rushd/Averroes to the court of Sul- tan Abu Ya’qub Yusuf of Morocco and Spain and encourages him to write a commentary on Aristotle and other books which are eventually studied in European universities until the 17th century.

1185 Ibn Tufayl/Abubacer dies in Morocco.

1198 Ibn Rushd/Averroes dies in Morocco.

1241 Albertus Magnus, Dominican scholastic, bishop, and German patron of natural scientists arrives in Paris just as Averroes’ commentaries on

Aristotle are becoming available.  After a few years his Italian disciple, Thomas Aquinas, who studies under him in Cologne follows him to Paris.

1245 Thomas Aquinas leaves Naples for Paris to begin his theological stud- ies. Imitating Moslem philosophers, Aquinas attempts to synthesize phi-

losophy and religion.

1256 Albertus Magnus writes against Averroes.

1271 Thomas Aquinas argues against the Averroists.

1281–1284 Siger of Brabant, member of the Parisian Faculty of Arts, who criticizes Albert Magnus and Thomas Aquinas and accepts the conse-

quences of the Averroist philosophy, is persecuted by the Inquisition and dies in prison at Orvieto.

1349 Translation of Hayy ibn yaqzan into Hebrew by Moses of Narbonne. Second half of the 15th century Translation of Hayy ibn Yaqzan into Latin by Pico della Mirandola, one of the most significant figures of the Renaissance. Pico died in 1494 at the age of thirty-one. His translation of Hayy was based on the Hebrew version. The son of a wealthy Italian prince, Pico studies at Bologna for two years, then wanders through the major universities of Italy and France for seven years. One year before his death he is exonerated of suspicions of heresy.

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1516 Thomas More, Utopia.

1651 The first part of the Jesuit Baltazar Gracian’s El Criticon is published in Spanish. Hayy’s counterpart Andrenio is created. The nineteenth cen-

tury German philosopher Schopenhauer describes the novel as one of the most important books ever written.

1651 Thomas Hobbe’s Leviathan is published. The Anglican theologian Henry Hammond describes it as “a farrago of Christian Atheism.”

1667 John Milton publishes his poetical work, Paradise Lost.

1671 Another Latin edition of Hayy rendered from the Arabic by Edward Pococke, son of the well-known orientalist professor at Oxford.

1672 Dutch version of Hayy appears in Amsterdam. Based on Pococke’s Latin text. Name of translator is withheld.

c 1674  Charles Morton, an Oxford graduate, a mathematician and a mas- ter of many languages including Arabic opens his academy for dissenters in Newington Green. Defoe is a student from 1674 to 1679. At first a Royalist, Morton becomes a Puritan.

1674 English translation of Hayy by George Keith, a Scotsman and a prominent Quaker.

1676 The English Quaker William Edmundson, then in New Port, Rhode Island, is the first to attack slavery in English America.

1678 Robert Barclay, a Scot and a known Quaker theologian refers to

Hayy in his book, Apology.

1681 El Criticon appears in London in English as The Critick, one of the Best Wits of Spain.

1683 The second Ottoman assault on Vienna fails. It marks the last offen- sive by an Islamic power against Western Europe.

1686 English translation of Hayy by George Ashwell, the Catholic vicar of Banbury, well known for his naturalist philosophy.

1687 Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica is published.

1689 John Locke’s A Letter Concerning Toleration is published anonymously in Latin.

1696 El Criticon appears in Paris in French as L’homme détrompé, ou le Criticon

1697 Charles Morton, Defoe’s tutor in England, is appointed Vice- President of Harvard College in North America.

1697 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz writes a letter to Abbe Nicaise in which he refers to the excellent book Hayy Ibn Yaqzan, or the philosophus auto- didactus, translated into Latin by Dr. Pococke

1700 Pococke’s Latin translation of Hayy reprinted.

1701 Another Dutch version of Hayy appears in Amsterdam. The old translation is revised by Adrian Reland. Engravings and indices of names and technical terms are added. Initials of the name of the translator are mentioned: S. D. B. Is Spinoza the translator, or perhaps one of his friends, Johan Bouwmeester?

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1703–1713 Jean-Antoine Galland translates Thousand and One Nights into French.

1708 English translation of Hayy by Simon Ockley, a professor of Arabic at Cambridge.

1711 Ockley’s translation of Hayy reprinted in London.

1715 The Grub Street English version of Galland’s translation of Thousand and One Nights reaches its third edition. Among its first English readers are Swift, Addison and Pope.

1719 In a letter addressed to Lord Bathurst Alexander Pope refers to Hayy as the self-taught philosopher along with Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor who lives alone on a desert island between February 1704 and Jan- uary 1709.

1719 Publication of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

1721 Second edition of the Dutch translation of Hayy is reprinted in Utrecht.

1726 German translation of Hayy by Georg Pritius in Frankfurt.

1726 Swift publishes Gulliver’s Travels

1726–1729 Voltaire lives in exile in England. He studies English, befriends Swift, Pope and others. English freedom of worship and thought appeals to him. The Quakers who admire Hayy Ibn Yaqzan are also admired by him. Bacon, Locke and Newton who have been influenced by Hayy to different degrees become his heroes.

1731 Ockley’s English translation of Hayy is reprinted.

1733 Voltaire publishes the Lettres Philosophiques, or Letters Concerning the

English Nation. The book appears first in English. More trouble awaits

its author in France. The book is burnt and a warrant is issued for the

author’s arrest.

1742 Voltaire publishes his tragedy Mahomet in which he attacks all religions

as the source of deceit.

1747 Voltaire publishes Zadig.

1754 Moses Mendelssohn, the German-Jewish thinker and admirer of the

Arab-Jewish philosopher Ibn Maymun, or Maimonides, contemporary of Ibn Tufayl, meets Lessing in 1754. Their friendship is an important symbol

of the Enlightenment.

1759 Voltaire publishes Candide

1759 Samuel Johnson (1709–1784) publishes Rasselas.

1762 Rousseau’s Émile is published. The discovery of the child and the

centrality of experience in his life.

1763 Kant publishes The Only Possible Ground of Proof for a Demonstration of God’s Existence

1779 Lessing’s Nathan The Wise is published in Germany. Tolerance is the

key theme in the play.

1779 The Quakers decide to omit the positive reference to Hayy Ibn Yaqzan

in the subsequent editions of Robert Barclay’s Apology.

1781 Kant publishes the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason.

1782 German translation of Hayy by Johann Gottfried Eichhorn in Berlin.

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1784 Kant publishes his essay “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment” in the December 1784 issue of the Berlinische Monatsschrift.

1787 Kant publishes the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason

1788 Kant publishes The Critique of Practical Reason.

1793 Kant publishes Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason.

1859 Darwin publishes his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural

Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

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