Islamic philosophy and theology and the West

62-065  Islamic philosophy and theology and the West

second cycle Master degree study programme Political Science

Course Supervisor: Assist. Prof. Primož Šterbenc

  Content

In introduction the course presents transmission of Greek philosophy to the Muslim world. Then it explains parallel development of Islamic philosophy and Islamic theology throughout history of the Muslim world and the essential interaction between them. It also includes more radical religious strands critical of both philosophy and theology. In addition, the course defines religio-theological and political situation in the Muslim world in the present time, also by taking into account differences between the Arab world and Persia (Iran). Finally, the course emphasises the very important role of the Muslim world concerning preservation and improvement of Greek philosophical and scientific legacy throughout the Middle Ages, and the essential role of Muslim Spain and Norman-Arab Sicily (south Italy) regarding transmission of Greek thought back to Europe.
Themes:

  • Transmission of Greek philosophy and science to the Muslim world (Gundishapur, Alexandria, Baghdad-»the House of Wisdom«); translations of Greek philosophical and scientific works (Aristotle, Plato, Galen, Euclid, Ptolemy) into Arabic.
  • Development of Islamic philosophy; the first genuine philosopher of Islam (al-Kindi); consolidation of predominant and characteristic philosophical strand in Islam – Islamic Neoplatonism (al-Farabi, Ibn Sina-Avicenna).
  • Development of Islamic systematic theology and predominance of the rationalist theological school Mutazila.
  • Predominance of the theological school Ashari and Asharite assault on Neoplatonic philosophy, mostly by the greatest theologian of Islam al-Gazali (argument of incompatibility of philosophy and Islam); creation of orthodox Sunni Islam and decline of Neoplatonic philosophy in the Muslim East.
  • Resurgence of Neoplatonic philosophy in the Muslim West (Muslim Spain); the greatest Aristotelian of Islam Ibn Rushd-Averroes; criticism of al-Gazali and advocacy of compatibility of philosophy and religion (Aristotle and Quran).
  • Development of literalism and antirationalism and reaction against philosophy and theology (Ibn Taymiyah).
  • Creation of the only coherent philosophy of history in Islam (Ibn Khaldun).
  • Development of revised Neoplatonic philosophical school (Ishraqi or »wisdom of illumination«) (al-Suhravardi) and its consolidation (the greatest modern philosopher of Persia al-Shirazi or Mulla Sadra) and further development (also Ayatollah Khomeini) in Persia (Iran) until today; accomodation with Shiism.
  • Religio-theological situation in the Muslim and the Arab worlds in the present time and its influence on political developments; modernists (al-Afghani, Abduh), fundamentalists (Qutb, Mawdudi), and secularists (Abd al-Raziq, Khalid Muhammad Khalid); literalism of Wahhabism.
  • The importance of the Muslim world regarding preservation and improvement of Greek philosophical and scientific thought throughout the Middle Ages; the essential role of the Muslim world concerning transmission of Greek thought back to Europe: Muslim Spain and Norman-Arab Sicily (south Italy).

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