During this week (or perhaps next week) many Core II classes will be covering several medieval philosophers. It is interesting to notice how, despite religious differences (and the fact that the Middle Ages was not known for religious dialogue), there was more inter-action among Christians, Jews, and Muslims than one might expect.
Scholars from all three faiths became interested in how to bring in reason and, in some cases, classical philosophy into their faith traditions. Islamic scholars were the first to translate Aristotle's work into Arabic. From their work, these translations spread into Europe, where both Christians and Jews could have access to them. In the Core, we can look at some of these writings in class. Ibn Rushd, the great Islamic scholar, wrestled with the question of how to use the works of "the Philosopher" (Aristotle) in connection with his faith; his work is excerpted in the Core II reader. Similarly, Thomas Aquinas, Catholic scholar and saint, wrote his Summa Gentiles and Summa Theologia, both excerpted in the Core II textbook, arguing about the proper place of philosophy (and the use of such things as the works of Aristotle) in connection with Christian revelation. Finally, Moses Maimonides, the famous Jewish scholar, explores philosophically the nature of God and man, using reason to explain theology in his Guide to the Perplexed, excerpted in the Core II reader. Reading these three great scholars from differing faiths is like listening to an amazing and fascinating conversation occurring centuries ago, but dealing with issues relevant to today's believers from all three traditions.
Categories: Faith and Service