Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Islam and the Closing of the Secular Mind

From The American Spectator:
Then there is the sheer ignorance of history prevailing among much of the secular intelligentsia. This was unfortunately exemplified by the lamentable historiography that was on full display in President Obama's once much-touted, now much-forgotten 2009 Cairo speech. Among other things, the President referred to how Islam "carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment."

Really? Did the President's advisors and speechwriters know that this thesis has been subject to withering critique for over 100 years? Were they conscious that, as the French professor of Arabic and religious philosophy Rémi Brague demonstrated in his book Europe, La voie romaine (1992/1999), the statesman-scholar-monk Cassiodorus (c.485-c.585 AD) not only collaborated with Pope Agapetus I in arranging for the translation of classical Greek texts into Latin, but also established a monastery-school on his family estate to safeguard and study the same works? Were they aware that the works of Antiquity never somehow vanished but were preserved for centuries by Greek-speaking Eastern Christians? Or that Aristotle was known and read in the medieval West long before Arabic translations appeared in Europe? (Read more.)

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