Saturday, January 6, 2007

98)Letters to the Editor on the subject of Philosophy and Religion.

Today's Canadian Globe and Mail newspaper(Sat Jan 6th 2007) has 2 interesting letters to the editor in response to an article written earlier and shows the way the monotheistic religions influenced one another during the middle ages, especially in so far as their attempts to infuse their theologies with the rational wisdom and philosophy of the ancients was concerned:

Letters to the Editor:

PhD (ancient and medieval philosophy)
Toronto -- Hal C. Hartmann's statement (Catholicism And Greeks -- letter, Jan. 4) that Greek philosophy was not incorporated into Western culture until the decline of the Catholic Church in the Renaissance is so wholly ignorant of European medieval intellectual history that it cannot be allowed to pass without comment.

The Middle Ages arguably represent the high-water mark of the absorption of Greek philosophy into European culture, with important Catholic thinkers such as Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus all making attempts to incorporate Greek philosophy and science into a Christian philosophy unifying faith and reason.

They did so influenced by earlier Islamic philosophers such as Ibn Rushd (known as Averroes) and Ibn Sina (Avicenna), and in the context of fierce debates about the relationship between faith and reason, and theology and philosophy. Although their work is superseded in many respects by the rise of modern science, it remains of considerable interest both to historians of philosophy and to some contemporary philosophers of religion.

REV., associate professor of philosophy, St. Peter's Seminary
London, Ont. -- Hal C. Hartmann makes the claim that the Roman Catholic Church has drawn little from Greek culture and thought. Mr. Hartmann seems ignorant of the dialogue between Catholic theology and Greek philosophy that has existed almost from the beginning of the church's history.

For example, St. Augustine (354-430) was a Christian neo-Platonist, and his works were a dominant influence on Western Christian thought for the next 1,000 years. Also, St. Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274) wrote extensive commentaries on the works of Aristotle. He also drew heavily on Aristotle, among others, to frame his approach to theology.

In this respect the immense contribution of the minoritarian Shia Ismaili muslim community deserves mention: I have posted elsewhere on this blogsite information on the contributions made by Ismaili cosmologist-philosophers like Abu Yakub Al-Sijistani, Nasir Khusraw, Hamiduddin Al-Kirmani, among others, including the Ismaili-affiliated encyclopedist group Ikhwan Al-Safa and the Mutazila, the earliest group of rationalist philosophers to emerge after the death of the Prophet Mohammed. A good chunk of my blogsite deals with the link between philosophy and religion, of which science, the study of the material universe, is an integral part: See posts 1, 11, 20, 27, 34, 44, 46, 48, 49, 55, 62, 63, 64, 65, 71, 86 and 95 and also the following: (Ismaili Philosophy) (Mutazila -earliest rationalists) (Ikhwan Al-Safa -the original Encyclopedists) and (Al-Sijistani) and (Nasir Khusraw) (Hamiduddin Al-Kirmani) (Ibn Sina or Avicenna) (Ibn Rushd or Averroes) (Al-Shahrastani) and (Nasiruddin Tusi)


Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation:Aga Khan 4.
The God of the Quran is the One whose Ayats(Signs) are the Universe in which we live, move and have our being:Aga Khan 3