Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Arabic Monotheism

From AD 1100–1350 – during the first half of the European Middle
Ages (AD 1100–1543) – the names of a few European scientists appear in scientific literature alongside a string of Muslim scientists, whose numbers include Ibn-Rushd, Musa Bin Memoun, Tusi and Ibn-Nafis.

Hmmm (PDF). I'm all for recognizing the real historical contributions of Islam, but Musa bin Memoun, better known as Moses Maimonides, while Arabic, was certainly not Muslim, being one of the most important Jewish philosophers in history. (They also earlier talk about Europe sinking into "what historians commonly call the Dark Ages," which suggests they've been reading some really old historians, since historians today usually hate the label -- even those who accept it as conveying something accurate generally regard it as misleading without a long list of qualifications -- and the debate among historians, about in what sense and to what extent the label ever really latched on to something real, is quite intense.)

Of course, the Maimonides error could be nothing but a mistake, but Matthew Knee argues that this is part of a pattern of UNESCO reports treating Arabic names and labels as if that automatically made them Muslim, and certainly that fits with what one finds elsewhere, as one can find by looking at the Maronites. Islam is not the only Arabic monotheism.

2 comments:

  1. Michael Sullivan10:41 PM

    Don't forget Avicebron, another important medieval Arabic Jew.

    ReplyDelete
  2. branemrys3:00 PM

    He definitely is one that commonly gets misidentified.

    ReplyDelete

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