Greek Influence On Religion

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Greek Influence on Religion Aug 16, 2012
I see that there is a great debate on DF about Religion. In particular over the merits or lack thereof of some of the great mono-theistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
With an occasional harangue from Dattaswami. Poor soul got BANNED for all his efforts into the bargain!
I have often wondered, for many years, about the right path to follow. I have tried so hard to reach some sort of a conclusion, to put my mind at rest that a particular path that I am following is the one that will lead me to riches (spiritual and otherwise) on earth, and to heaven beyond.
Unfortunately, I remain as much a skeptic now as I was when I started!
As a consequence, my search goes on and my current research has led me to a superficial study, to begin with, of the great Classic Greek thinkers of antiquity, in particular Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
And I was amazed at the influence these Philosophers and Thinkers had and still have on Planet Earth to this day! Christianity, and then Islam, adopted Greek thought, with some tampering, and added their own ingredients in the form of God and His Angels. Saint Augustine was one of the Thinkers who followed Plato’s teachings and then became a devout Christian.
Plato, for example, proposed that reality for humans existed at two levels. At one level was what he called the World of the Senses. This is the world that we perceive with our five senses; the every day world. This, according to Plato, was an imperfect world because our senses can deceive us ( scientifically proven fact by current science).
But, according to Plato (and Socrates) it was what he called the World of Ideas where everything was perfection. Thus when we see a horse in the World of the Senses, it can only be an imperfect horse, no matter how beautiful it looks to us. A perfect horse exists in the World of Ideas, of which this horse is only a replica; almost like a mold from which all other horses are made. He said only a very select few humans are able to understand and glimpse the World of Ideas, and gave the famous Allegory of the Cave.
Greek thought was adopted by the Romans after the Greeks.
GreekoRoman culture extended from Europe to India and North Africa, where it was definitely picked up by Christianity and Islam.
I had often wondered why Muslims Christians and Jews lay so much stress on the importance of the Hereafter. Its origins lie with the Greeks of antiquity! In the World of the Senses and the World of Ideas! Greek thought, and in particular Plato’s philosophy, runs like a seam all the way to the present day and age.
His World of Ideas is still being debated 2500 years later!
Amazing!

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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 16, 2012
The Hellenisation of Pauline Christianity is well documented - so the similarities an echoes of Greek philosophy is indeed clearly observed.

It is possible that Socrates was a Prophet of God - his teachings are consistent with this, but as with other possible prophets their messages haven't reached us in pristine form. Much of what we know of Socrates' teachings reaches us via reports of what his students taught - notably Plato.

Also, though, to put things into historical context - Islam, Judaism and Christianity also have roots in the teachings revealed to Abraham, Moses etc which pre-date Socrates (lived about 400 BC). So the concepts of God, the after life etc (in Islam, Judaism/Christianity) cannot really be traced back to Socrates - rather he continued to teach what was revealed before.

Also globally, we find other philosophers/sages/prophets that pre-date Socrates and whose philosophies still resonate today - from Lao Tse, Confucious, Krishna, Zoroaster, Buddha. All of them when you study the fundamental tenets you find similarities with the later revealed teachings.

For Muslims, this is in total accordance with Islam - for God says that all peoples of the world were sent Messengers from God. It makes complete sense that the messages brought by these men would be fundamentally the same, differing only in respect of the specific needs of the time or peoples/geography.

Noting that languages stem from a common root - and Greek is an Indo-European language - it is possible that Eastern philosophies also influenced Greek thought, or that they just developed independently via different prophets/messengers.

Buddha's and Lao Tse's teachings are still being discussed and debated today as well - and they too lived around 2500 years ago. Interesting that.

Cheers,
Shafique
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Re: Greek Influence on Religion Aug 16, 2012
    Lao Tse wasn't a prophet (as a corollary, shafique has never read 'his' writings)

    The afterlife was never a teaching of Moses/Abraham as recorded in various Jewish writings

    The "Hellenization" of Christianity theory is hardly well received and has been heavily criticized for the past forty years
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Re: Greek Influence on Religion Aug 16, 2012
^ What do you think of Krishna and Buddha - are they prophets in your opinion?

As for Lao Tse - I have read the English translation of his Tao Teh Ching, and I recommend it. (It reminds me of the Psalms in many places). I agree with the scholars and accounts of him being an actual person rather than the other opinion that it is compilation of works. BTW I also have read the 'Tao of Pooh' by Hoff - that's pretty clever too, also recommended.

So, yet again your assumption/fantasy about me has let you down.

As for your other assumptions - I tend to look critically on the latter day revisionist theories, but that's a different discussion.

(I've also read works by others who claimed prophethood/deity status who I concluded/consider as false - such as Bab, Bahaullah, Elijah Muhammad, Joseph Smith..)

Cheers,
Shafique
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 17, 2012
The best chance of being right when you make an assumption is 50%. The same as tossing a coin :)

shafique ,

I am certain that Socrates/Plato/Aristotle were influenced by other thinkers of the time, I agree with you there, Shaf. After all that's how people get thier ideas. But the fact still remains that it was the Greeks that have remained with us and indeed had the greatest effect on the course of world history, and continue to do so today. As you are aware, Socrates left no written record behind because he never wrote anything down. He was killed by the rulers of the day for "corrupting the youth of Greece " because his ideas were so revolutionary for the time! Plato, who was a student of Socrates, wrote about him and thats how we know about him. Plato went on to found his Academy of Learning (in fact, thats where the word Academy originates from!), the first of its kind in the world. He was approached by many influential people to declare himself a Prophet and found a Religion, which he declined, of course.

Interestingly, a serious rival to Christianity was Manicheasm (hope I got the spelling right!) incorporating many tenets of Buddhism and Christianity, and that spread far and wide. Saint Augustine, about 400 AD, was one of its very ardent followers, before turning to Christianity. He was also a great admirer of Plato's teachings and introduced them into Christianity.
rayznack , I avoided talking about "after-life" intentionally, Ray. I said "the hereafter". The distinction maybe not so obvious between the two, but there is a fine line seperating them. I was fascinated by Plato's Theory of Forms that I have mentioned in the OP. Plato did not believe in a God. And its difficult to avoid making a connection between Plato's World of Ideas, and the hereafter, which is a central theme in any religion worth its name and that the followers usually cite as the reason why we have to be good in this world in order to get into the next one. Indeed, running through every religion is the idea of how temporary and illusory this world is, and how perfect will be the next one. Just what Plato said. I have already mentioned Saint Augustine. Another great name in Christianity is Saint Thomas of Aquinas, 400 years after St. Augustine, and someone who introduce Aristotilean philosophy to Christianity.

I also believe that Islam has its roots in Judaism and Christianity, that's why Jews and Christians are referred to as "People of the Book" in Islam.
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 17, 2012
Frequentflier wrote: But the fact still remains that it was the Greeks that have remained with us and indeed had the greatest effect on the course of world history, and continue to do so today.


Definitely in the West, that's true.

However, it is interesting to note that what one thinks of having the greatest influence in thinking etc is a matter of choosing which particular features of history to emphasise. For exmaple, the Islamic Golden age and the preservation, transmission and addition to Greek knowledge and philosophy by the Islamic empires is often downplayed to the point where it is invisible. Some 20th century revisionists (of which eh likes to quote sometimes) even question the role Islam played in the transmission of the Greek knowledge.

Have you read 'Orientalism' by Edward Said?

When one takes a global view, we see that great thinkers and philosophical teachings are many and have equal if not greater influence today in other parts of the world than the Socrates/Plato etc on the West.

Also there's a distinction between the similarities in teachings which could stem from the same source (i.e. God) and a conclusion that the later messengers 'copied' from earlier ones.



But those are academic distinctions - the good thing to do is to focus on the points of commonality and understand that that no one community has the monopoly of philosophical/prophetic historic revelations that echo through the ages to today.

Cheers,

Shafique
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Re: Greek Influence on Religion Aug 17, 2012
Actually, studying Greek thinkers was suppressed in the Islamic world and individuals could (usually) only study Greek thinkers in private. The translation and transmission of Greek in the middle east was done before as much as during the Islamic period by non-Muslim translators. These works often went Greek->Aramaic->Arabic and were accompanied with translation errors. In the West, the transmission was smoother as it was Greek->Latin.

I'm surprised to hear about Plato's deistic beliefs as I had thought he believed in a supreme being from what I remember when skimming through Republic. Are you sure Plato didn't believe in a deity?

Anyway, I've come across this excellent post which discusses the influence of Greek thinkers in the Western and Islamic world:

himself wrote:As I recollect, the inhibiting factors were different in different civilizations. Huff credits the importance of "conscience" in Western Religion and then Western Law. This derived from Plato's Timaeus and Paul's Romans 2, and posited a human mind capable of drawing correct conclusions from moral reasoning and thence from reasoning about nature. This led, too, to the idea of jurisdiction and self-governance and hence to the corporate "person" exemplified by the University where science found a home base.

In Islam, the concept of "conscience" did not take root. The nearest equivalent was niyya meaning "intention." (Damir for "conscience" came into use following Napoleon's invasion of Egypt.) The fiqh of the ash'ari aqida was that men were simply to submit and follow a set of rules laid out in Holy Qur'an and the hadith. One could reason from these via qiyas (or "analogy"), but human reason could not be relied upon in general for correct conclusions. Significantly, the Timaeus seems never to have been translated into Arabic. Even so, there was a layer of Hellenism a thousand years thick on the ground in the lands the Arabs conquered, with a Christian layer of icing about half as thick. So the Arabs had a huge pool to tap and Islam came closer to inventing and institutionalizing science than any but the Latin West.

In ancient Greece, trees had dryads, springs had nymphs, and the stars were alive, divine, and influential in human affairs. It is hard to develop a natural science when Nature is self-willed and Hera could overrule Zeus at any moment. That a corporal's guard of Greek philosophers apparently did so was a great achievement.

China's stumbling block was that they never conceived of natural philosophy as a coherent, well-defined body of learning. They never came up with either Euclidean geometry or logic. Their astronomy remained purely arithmetical. And concatenation (and coincidence) remained for them as significant as cause-and-effect.

There were minority strains in China (the Moists) and in Islam (the mu'tazilites) that credited the ability of human reason to reach correct conclusions. History might have been very different had they triumphed over the Confucians and the ash'arites.

Schools. The Western University was an independently chartered, self-governing corporation with jurisdiction. It possessed its own courts and militias. It set curricula, courses of study, degrees of achievement, and the wearing of funny hats. No one else came up with that.

The Islamic madrassa was also independently chartered via an endowment, usually by a prominent scholar or his patron, but with one exception they did not teach natural philosophy. A master scholar taught his book and when the student had memorized the book and could explain it to the master's satisfaction, he was given an ijaza, which entitled him to teach that particular book. A student could wander from madrassa to madrassa collecting ijaza, but there was no course of study, no set of ijaza that added up to a "master's degree" or "doctorate." Nor was there the equivalent of the Western ius ubique docendi, the "right to teach anywhere." Further, while madrassas had libraries with a wide range of books, only Islamic studies were officially taught. Books in "Greek Studies" [as it was called] were in the library, and no one objected too much if someone wanted to read or teach such things privately; but there was no institutionalization of the study of natural philosophy and it was often suppressed. Only one madrassa, Marâgha, was chartered to teach something we would call science; viz., astronomy. It lasted about 75 years. Astronomers came under the authority of the muwaqqit, the time-keepers of the mosques, just as doctors were controlled by the inspector of the market-place, the muhtasib.

In China, the Imperial College was a department of the government. It was a training academy for mandarins and taught the Confucian classics, poetry, and so forth. Briefly, in Shen Kua's time, some questions on astronomy were included, but the examiners themselves were so ignorant and the essays so confused that, as Shen Kua wrote, all were passed with distinction. The important thing was not to know astronomy, but to be able to write an essay in the classical style. The cram schools were, as they sound, merely to prep candidates for the examinations.


http://jameshannam.proboards.com/index. ... age=1#7554
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 17, 2012
Thanks for posting Ray, very informative.
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 17, 2012
shafique wrote: Some 20th century revisionists (of which eh likes to quote sometimes) even question the role Islam played in the transmission of the Greek knowledge.


On cue, eh quotes from James Hannam's blog. ;)

This was raised by eh a while back.. and I quoted what Hannam had to say on the subject:

The truth I think is something like this. There was undeniably a decline in scientific knowledge in the Western Roman Empire as it declined and collapsed but the roots of this can be traced to the pagan Romans. After 200 BC there was a fruitful cultural contact between Greeks and the bilingual Roman upper classes. This introduced a version of the classical tradition into the Roman Empire but it was a thin popularised version which was translated into Latin. Bilingualism and the conditions which favoured scholarship then declined rapidly after AD180 as the empire entered the 3rd century crisis. Roman citizens who were gradually becoming Christian were therefore limited to pieces of the classical tradition which had been explained and summarised by Latin authors.

Meanwhile the richer, more complete version of the classical tradition fell into the hands of the Muslims as they rapidly expanded across Asia and the Mediterranean.

It was then translated into Arabic, further developed and moved across north Africa to Spain.

As soon as Western Europe had recovered sufficiently it's intellectuals travelled to Spain to translate the materials and bring them into medieval culture.

philosophy-dubai/fact-check-please-t42144.html

The revisionists that deny these historical facts are the ones I don't agree with.

Cheers,
Shafique
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 17, 2012
Actually, studying Greek thinkers was suppressed in the Islamic world and individuals could (usually) only study Greek thinkers in private. The translation and transmission of Greek in the middle east was done before as much as during the Islamic period by non-Muslim translators. These works often went Greek->Aramaic->Arabic and were accompanied with translation errors. In the West, the transmission was smoother as it was Greek->Latin.


Do you have any ref. where this very dubious inf. came from? As far as I know the Lingva Franca of the eastern part of the Roman Empire had always been (Conia) Greek, the language of the New Testament, not Aramaic. Moreover, this region was under formal power or at least big influence of Konstantinopolis before invasion, where the concept of Christianity had been developed. So there were a lot of people who understood Greek fluently in the ME at that time.

On the other hand, there had been no any single man except a few monks from Ireland, who understand Greek in dark ages in the West. One of them translated Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite in Latin in 9th century and it was the first direct translation from Greek in the Western Europe.
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Re: Greek Influence on Religion Aug 17, 2012
Red Chief wrote:Do you have any ref. where this very dubious inf. came from?


What exactly are you asking?

That the transmission of Greek->Arabic often went Greek->Aramaic->Arabic?

I thought this was common knowledge.

You can always check the internet. Hunayn ibn Ishaq is one name that quickly comes up as someone who translated works from Greek->Aramaic->Arabic. There were many others as Aramaic was widely spoken in the Middle East (and was the true lingua franca during the time).

As far as Greek->Latin, I hope this post helps. It also gives you names you can look up and read more about:

himself wrote:The West did not "recover" the learning of the Greeks from anywhere. For the most part, they never had it. The Romans had not bothered to translate it, and knowledge of Greek in the West decayed when the muslims conquered the Med and cut off Greek from Latin Europe. However, an effort was begun in Ostrogothic Italy by Boethius, and his translations of Aristotle, which became known as the Old Logic, formed the basis of learning in the cathedral schools. Similarly, Jaques of Venice brought Aristotle to Mt. St.-Michel directly from Byzantium; and William of Moerbeke from Byzantine Sicily. Sylvain Gougenheim has written a book, the precis of which is that the Cordoban connection, while important, was not all-important, as the same books were available in Byzantium in the original Greek and without the translation errors accumulated on the journey from Greek to Syriac to Arabic. His book is available in French and German, but I am still waiting for an English edition.
http://www.amazon.com/Aristote-au-Mont-S....9 349953&sr=1-1

An irony: the works of the faylasuf enjoyed greater reputation and circulation in the Latin West than in the House of Submission, where they were always viewed with grave suspicion. Edward Grant writes that all the faylasuf fell at one time or another under official censure. (Al-Kindi, for example, was publicly caned and his library confiscated.) Toby Huff notes the important difference between a study of nature that is institutionally embedded in a society and one that is pursued by solitary individuals.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Rise-Early-Mo ... 404&sr=1-1



http://jameshannam.proboards.com/index. ... ge=1#12165
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 17, 2012
Eh, you seem to be caught up in spin yet again. You're revisionist version is taking isolated examples and hyping it - whereas even Hannam acknowledged the accepted historical fact of the transmission (and development) of the Greek classics to the West.

Hunayn ibn Ishaq was one of the Syriac translators - and did indeed translate Greek works into Syriac (he was Assyrian and fluent Arabic) and also then into Arabic. He checked the final Arabic translations for consistency and fidelity. The 'errors' you speak of by others who chose to translate literally word for word, rather than Ishaq's method of conveying the whole meaning are just features of translations. The big-thing-point is that these translations were taking place under Islamic rule and for benefit of the Muslim scholars. They used the available resources.

Apart from Syriac translators, who were largely Nestorian Christians, there were later Muslim translators who translated the works as well.

There were bits of Greek thought that had been preserved in Europe - and that's what you're hyping.

This from Wiki - and you can check out the sources - and refers to the instances you're citing:

There was a brief period of revival, when the Anglo-Saxon monk Alcuin and others reintroduced some Greek ideas during the Carolingian Renaissance.[33] After Charlemagne's death, however, intellectual life again fell into decline.[34] Excepting a few persons promoting Boethius, such as Gerbert of Aurillac, philosophical thought was developed little in Europe for about two centuries.[34] By the 12th century, however, scholastic thought was beginning to develop, leading to the rise of universities throughout Europe.[35] These universities gathered what little Greek thought had been preserved over the centuries, including Boethius' commentaries on Aristotle. They also served as places of discussion for new ideas coming from new translations from Arabic throughout Europe.[35]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmissi ... ite_ref-12

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Shafique
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Re: Greek Influence on Religion Aug 17, 2012
The big-thing-point is that these translations were taking place under Islamic rule and for benefit of the Muslim scholars


The translations to Aramaic were taking place before and after the Arab invasions of the region. The heavy lifting of the translations had been done by Christians who translated the works either to Aramaic or Arabic. Before the Arab invasions, the translations were only translated to Aramaic (duh) and after, the translated Greek works now in Aramaic were further translated to Arabic; again, the work of translation was done by Christians.

So, the "big-thing-point" was that translations were taking place before Islamic rule under the Persian empire and after the Persian empire under the Abbasid. The Muslim conquests of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa hindered the works of the Greeks from falling into the hands of Europeans. It's like someone slashing your tires and then later inadvertently helping you to get new ones. The Muslims never dropped the Greek works to the West. Where transmission happened Arabic->Latin was when Europeans ended Muslim occupation in Sicily and parts of Spain. The retaking of parts of Spain was also crucial in timing as the book burning Almohad rulers were prevented from destroying the works of Aristotle and others in Toledo as that city had been secured by the reconquista.

The translation of Greek->Latin is well known and attested. That many works only became translated after the fall of Constantinople only means (1) Europeans inevitably would have acquired Greek works, (2) Europeans would have acquired the full corpus of Greek works sooner if not for the Muslims and (3) Europeans were translating Greek->Latin in several documented instances in the period before the falls of Constantinople anyway.
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 17, 2012
rayznack wrote:The translations to Aramaic were taking place before and after the Arab invasions of the region.


Thanks for your opinion. It's a shame that the translator you cited, Hunayn ibn Ishaq, doesn't fit in with your spin.

The other big-thing-point is that highlighted portion of Hamman's summary in my post above, as well as the Wiki entry which all talk about how Arabic works in Spain were imported to the rest of Europe.

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Shafique
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 17, 2012
I can't help if you don't know that numerous Greek works were translated to Aramaic under the Persian empire. Your beliefs based on ignorance is your problem.
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 17, 2012
You really can't help yourself with your spin, can you.

Ibn Ishaq translated many works NOT PREVIOUSLY TRANSLATED, and also produced the celebrated translations of Plato etc. He lived and worked in the Abbasid period - under Islamic rule. He translated from Greek into Arabic, and also into Syriac.

In the Abbasid era, a new interest in extending the study of Greek science had arisen. At that time, there was a vast amount of untranslated ancient Greek literature pertaining to philosophy, mathematics, natural science, and medicine.[3][4] This valuable information was only accessible to a very small minority of Middle Eastern scholars who knew the Greek language; the need for an organized translation movement was urgent. In time, Hunayn ibn Ishaq became arguably the chief translator of the era, and laid the foundations of Islamic medicine.[3]

In his lifetime, ibn Ishaq translated 116 works, including Plato's Timaeus, Aristotle's Metaphysics, and the Old Testament, into Syriac and Arabic.[4][5] Ibn Ishaq also produced 36 of his own books, 21 of which covered the field of medicine.[5] His son Ishaq, and his nephew Hubaysh, worked together with him at times to help translate. Hunayn ibn Ishaq is known for his translations, his method of translation, and his contributions to medicine.[4]
[edit]

Early life

Hunayn ibn Ishaq was a Nestorian Christian born in 809, during the Abbasid period, in al-Hira, Iraq..


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunayn_ibn_Ishaq

Facts, not spin.

And I loved your response to my other big-thing-point - in the highlighted portion of Hamman's summary in my post above, as well as the Wiki entry which all talk about how Arabic works in Spain were imported to the rest of Europe.

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Shafique
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 17, 2012
Hunayn Ishaq was one individual. There were other translators before him who translated Greek studies to Aramaic under the Persian empire.



in the highlighted portion of Hamman's summary in my post above, as well as the Wiki entry which all talk about how Arabic works in Spain were imported to the rest of Europe.


The Arabic works were translated and had translational errors that were corrected by the Greek->Latin translations done around the same period and later. But the really funny, big-thing-point is that the transmission to Greek->Latin would have undoubtedly occurred much sooner had the Muslim conquests never happened. The Muslims were a hindrance to the Greek studies reaching Europe, not the other way around.
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 17, 2012
In Ishaq's time (Abbasid) there were vast amounts of Greek works still untranslated. Ishaq was one translator who was gained renown for his methods and the fidelity of his translations - from Greek into Arabic. That there were works translated in earlier periods is just another one of your 'take a tit-bit of information and spin it'.

Ishaq and subsequent translators worked within the Islamic empires.

I'd call that an own-goal on your part to introduce Ishaq to this thread. However, it is very relevant as he did translate Plato and Aristotle - and did so without errors.

That the translations in Arabic were imported from Spain is what the historians say happened. Your Greek>Latin supposed corrections is an interesting spin. I prefer historical facts myself. ;)

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Re: Greek Influence on Religion Aug 17, 2012
Thanks for your views - I'll stick with the undisputed reality that translation errors from Arabic existed and Europeans required direct Greek to Latin translations for the most pristine translations of Greek studies:

In the 13th century a second phase of the translation movement began and the attention turned eastwards towards the Byzantine Empire. By now the Latins had a taste for classical literature and thought it would be better to get the original sources. In some sense this was right. Translation was not the high art it could have been. The greatest translator here was William of Moerbeke, a Flemish Dominican who lived most of his life in Greece. He was the bishop of Corinth and was encouraged by his friend St Thomas Aquinas to find better translations of Aristotle (Aquinas was unhappy with the quality of those that were in Europe at the time – many sentences were incomprehensible). William translated 50 books, including everything we have now of Aristotle. He also translated everything he could find of Archimedes.


http://bedejournal.blogspot.com/2009/08 ... ments.html

Really, at this point, there is no dispute regarding the translation issues and the need for direct translations from Greek.

My comment that translations to Aramaic/Arabic from Greek by Christian writers before *and* after Muslim invasions was part of the broader point that Christian translators had done the heavy lifting of Greek translation to Arabic - the big-thing-point that apparently has fallen on the wayside with your failed attempt to prove otherwise. But thank you for agreeing that Hunayn Ishaq - a Christian - was a major translator of Greek studies to Arabic. You're totally in agreement with me.
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 18, 2012
rayznack wrote:thank you for agreeing that Hunayn Ishaq - a Christian - was a major translator of Greek studies to Arabic.


You're welcome - I didn't realise that anyone had disputed that this Abbassid-era translator was a Christian citizen of the Islamic empire, or that you mentioned his religion at all. It seemed to me like you were trying to make the case that translators like him translated from Syriac to Arabic, when in fact Ishaq translated from Greek into Syriac AND Arabic.

Your strawmen are getting more desperate. You really must hate Muslims intensely if you insist on believing all these bizare theories which are essentially just Islamophobic myths. :shock:

Anyway, as for your other revisionist theories and denial of the transmission of Greek texts via Spain - I'll just file that away with your other bizare historical arguments such as your argument that the Crusades were NOT holy wars. ;)

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Shafique
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Re: Greek Influence on Religion Aug 18, 2012
shafique wrote: I'll just file that away with your other bizare historical arguments such as your argument that the Crusades were NOT holy wars.


I've shown the crusades were as much holy wars as the 9/11 martyrdom attacks.

I understand you're not very 'bright', so I'll fill you in: I'm using basic logic where I show that if a = b and b = c, then a = c.

Not very difficult for anyone with normal intelligence levels to understand but I forget I'm dealing with someone with the brain power between a field mouse and pre-schooler.

But anyway, we agree on the important facts of this thread:

  • All Greek translations were available from the Byzantines - Europeans translated Greek studies via this route
  • Christians performed the heavy lifting of translating Greek studies beginning before the Muslim invasions under the Persian empire
  • Greek->Aramaic->Arab->Latin translations were error prone
  • Muslims hindered European discovery of Greek works
  • Europeans acquired translations of Greek studies from Muslims, Byzantines, etc in spite not because of Muslims
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 19, 2012
Well, translations are only part of the story. We have concluded that there was tremendous Greek influence on the major Abrahamic religions, in fact I would venture so far as to say that they are nothing but Neoplatonism with embellishments and the addition of a fatherly figure in the form of God or Allah.

After the fall of the Greco-Roman Empire, Europe was plunged into a Dark Night (Ages) lasting almost a 1000 years! During this period, Islam flourished and would have continued to flourish but for the emergence of a Persian called Al-Ghazali (1058-1111). He is arguably considered by many Muslim scholars to be second in importance after the founder of Islam, Mohammed. Al-Ghazali single handedly closed off Islam to all outside influences and tried and scucceeded in ending Hellenism in Islam, which was liberally encouraged by earlier Muslim scholars and leaders from Mohammed and Omar to the likes of Abu Cenna (Avicenna) and Al Farabi. This brought scientific thinking in Islam to a screeching halt.

And another phenomenon then started in Europe known now as the Renaissance. The Christian Church persevered with Greek thinking leading to the adoption of the scientific method and making the Renaissance possible.

BTW, Plato never believed in a God. Although he did occasionally surmise about some power or gods (not with a capital 'G') for the World of the Ideas. But he never actually got around to explaining this in any great detail.

Evitav Welcome! Long time no see :D
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 22, 2012
rayznack wrote:The translation of Greek->Latin is well known and attested. That many works only became translated after the fall of Constantinople
It's the only common knowledge I can agree with you if you mean the 4th Crusade, regardless of how weird it sounds together "Crusade" an destroying and looting the capital of Christianity by regtag and bobtail from all over Europe, who act in interests of a bunch of merachants from Genoa and Venice. The rest"knowledge" has to be proved.

Defenitely only after that Great Loot the works of Plato together with Socrates himself became known in the West and mass direct translation from Greek to Latin took place. So I was surprised to read a sentence of FF about the influence of Plato on Augustinus, whose theory of "PERSON" was very Western (I mean the latin part of the Roman Empire).

As for Christianity I guess it was the religion, which was invented by Greeks, written in Greek (the New Testament) and developped in Byzantium by Greeks using the neoplatonics tools. So it has less in common with Old Testament than Islam, which actually was a return to and an international extension of Judaism.
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Re: Greek Influence on Religion Aug 22, 2012
I think you're confusing the Fourth Crusade with the First, unless you have evidence the Crusaders' attack on the city due to starvation and Byzantine double crossing was actually at the prompting of the Venetians (hey, I'm open to weird theories); I also don't think the Crusaders looted obscure texts but I could be wrong.
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 22, 2012
Looks like eh needs to hit those history books again. :roll:

The sacking and looting of Constantinople was the Fourth Crusade, the first left Constantinope intact.

It shows what happens when you rely on dodgy blog sites for historical information. ;)

The facts still remain, that it was under Muslim rule that many previously untranslated words were translated into Arabic, and then these were transmitted to Western Europe via Spain. This is made clear in the quote Hannam gives about the limited number of translations into Latin etc..

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Re: Greek Influence on Religion Aug 22, 2012
The sacking and looting of Constantinople was the Fourth Crusade, the first left Constantinope intact.


Your ignorance is truly astounding. Politics between Italian merchant states and the Byzantines were relevant in the 1st Crusade when the leaders (largely from the merchant states) held captured Jerusalem and Antioch rather than return the cities to the Byzantines (this was after the Byzantines fled prior to the taking of Antioch and refused to turn up in person to claim Jerusalem).

I'm not aware of disputes between the Venetians/Genoans playing any significant role in the Fourth Crusade.

I'm shocked and appalled by how dumb you are. And, of course, I never claimed Constantinople was sacked in the 1st Crusade - but hey, you're apparently too loopy to read and comprehend what's actually written.

that it was under Muslim rule that many previously untranslated words were translated into Arabic, and then these were transmitted to Western Europe via Spain.


What a critical omission you've just left out. Your supposed fact (not really) ignores that Greek works did not reach the West for centuries precisely because of Muslim invasion.
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 22, 2012
Frequentflier wrote:He is arguably considered by many Muslim scholars to be second in importance after the founder of Islam, Mohammed. Al-Ghazali single handedly closed off Islam to all outside influences and tried and scucceeded in ending Hellenism in Islam, which was liberally encouraged by earlier Muslim scholars and leaders from Mohammed and Omar to the likes of Abu Cenna (Avicenna) and Al Farabi. This brought scientific thinking in Islam to a screeching halt.
That is not true. There was a discussion about this on the other forum, worth reading. I'll quote excerpt:
I find it odd how Imam al-Ghazali's weaking the grip of Aristolean philosophy is identified as the begin of the decline of science in Islam, and in the same breath, Thomas of Aquinas doing the same is praised. Especially when you consider that much of the Christian defense of their faith against philosophy borrowed heavily from the Ghazalian tradition - including direction adoption by none other than Thomas Aquinas. What Imam al-Ghazali said was that Philosophy was not a means to reach the ultimate Truth. And the author of this article acknowledge that Aristotelian philosophy is ill-suited to base physics upon.

A Muslim scholar exposing the flaws of the Aristotelian system is the reason that Pakistani scientists only seem able to master practical application of scientific discovery. But his European pupil doing the same is the reason why people like Richard Dawkins exist. It of course has absolutely nothing to do with the billions upon billions of dollars that Harvard, Yale, Princeton are given yearly and the billions upon billions of dollars Muslim governments keep mostly to themselves. Something is awry... and it isn't Ghazali's genius.

.... What exactly was the error of Imam al-Ghazali? He did not attack science, he did not attack rationalism. And I find it odd that the same man who we had such a lively debate about the religious utility of logic is accused of these sorts of things. Rather, what Imam al-Ghazali did was make a scholarly defense for the supremacy of revelation and scholarly (usuli) interpretation over pure rationalism. The Ash'aris are usually the ones blamed for distorting the interpretation of the texts of the Qur'an and Sunna. So this whole discussion to be seems to be completely contradictory in the larger scheme of things.

.... What happened is that the oppression and suppression of the Church as a governing body was counteracted by the new knowledges that had come from the Muslim world. The intellectual state of Europe as a whole was far below that of the Muslim world. The introduction of their former wisdom brought about a scholastic revolution. This coincided with the re-formulation of Europe as a cohesive culture and military threat to mostly Ottoman dominance. As scholasticism begin breaking the grip of the Church, colleges and the like where funded by the wealth that Europe was acquiring, while the Ottomans were placing large amounts of resources into their military complex....

http://forums.understanding-islam.com/s ... ithout-God


--- Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:10 am ---

Another good post on that thread, worth reading:
The argument isn't about rationalism, because the Greeks were very 'rational'. It is essentially rationalism versus empiricism. The Muslim philosophical world-view was primarily rooted in empiricism, while European thought, particular that of Greece was primarily rational. It was the Muslim world that developed a systematic view of this philosophy which ultimately impacted European thought.
In Greek thought, such as that of Plato, the idea was that reality is the world of perfect form and symmetry, which only exists in pure reason, not experience. What this essentially meant over time, stripped of all the gibberish, is that what we perceive us as the objective world, is not real but an allusion. This thought heavily influenced approaches towards understanding reality. Much of the Muslim attacks on Greek philosophy was aimed at this type of rationalism.

Avicenna developed a systematic approach to the idea of mind, i.e. it is essentially a blank slate upon which knowledge is attained through sensual perception. Abstract concepts are formulated from observation. ibn Tufail, the Spaniard, is famous for his story of Hayy ibn Yaqdhan. A man, stranded on an island, outside of civilization, can, through observation round him, come to the conclusion that God exists. Imam Ghazali attacked this rationalism as well and was pretty successful. But in doing so, he somewhat killed the idea that God can be realized through reason. This is why he ultimately ended up a mystic, i.e. he drew a line between intuition and reason. As Iqbal points out, Ghazali failed to see that intuition and thought stem from the same source and there differences are a result of how the self approaches the issue of time. Iqbal always points out that the Muslim world was always essentially anti-classical and the responses of people like Ashaari, Ghazali, ibn Taymiyya and ibn Hazm are systematic developments of this progression. The Muslim world was essentially ridding itself of these influences through time.

http://forums.understanding-islam.com/s ... post119540

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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 22, 2012
^Great info Nucleus - thanks for that.

eh - you're digging yourself into a hole. RC was talking about the sacking of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade, and the wholesale looting of it by the crusaders, who took a lot of the loot back to Venice. And the reason given in history books for the Crusader's attack on Constantinople in the 4th crusade is not 'starvation and double crossing' but rather an attack to try and depose the then emperor in favour of prince Alexios Angelos (who offered to bankroll the Crusaders when he met them in Venice).

As for your revisionist blogger-only view of history, I refer you to the quote I gave from Hannam, and also the one from wiki:

By the 12th century, however, scholastic thought was beginning to develop, leading to the rise of universities throughout Europe.[35] These universities gathered what little Greek thought had been preserved over the centuries, including Boethius' commentaries on Aristotle. They also served as places of discussion for new ideas coming from new translations from Arabic throughout Europe.[35]


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Re: Greek Influence on Religion Aug 22, 2012
And the reason given in history books for the Crusader's attack on Constantinople in the 4th crusade is not 'starvation and double crossing'


Just stop, you have no idea what you're talking about. The prince and his blind father, the formerly deposed emperor, were restored to the throne without Constantinople being sacked. It was after the prince who led the crusaders to Constantinople was restored and unable to fulfill his agreement with the crusaders that Constantinople was sacked - when the crusaders were left stranded and starving outside the walls of Constantinople.

Your ignorance is truly astounding. But this is beside my original question to RC who claimed the Crusaders were acting in the interests of the rival Italian merchant cities. It was the 1st Crusade this was an issue rather than the 4th.

but rather an attack to try and depose the then emperor in favour of prince Alexios Angelos (who offered to bankroll the Crusaders when he met them in Venice).


The crusaders were never bankrolled after they did exactly what was asked of them. Hence the term "double cross" a post above.

Learn2read.

As for your revisionist blogger-only view of history, I refer you to the quote I gave from Hannam, and also the one from wiki:

By the 12th century, however, scholastic thought was beginning to develop, leading to the rise of universities throughout Europe.[35] These universities gathered what little Greek thought had been preserved over the centuries, including Boethius' commentaries on Aristotle. They also served as places of discussion for new ideas coming from new translations from Arabic throughout Europe.[35]


Sorry, how does this address what I actually wrote several posts ago?

I wrote:What a critical omission you've just left out. Your supposed fact (not really) ignores that Greek works did not reach the West for centuries precisely because of Muslim invasion.


I'm addressing the critical omission in your post rather than what it actually says. Try this thing called reading or even a dictionary if you're having trouble understanding what is being written.
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Re: Greek Influence On Religion Aug 22, 2012
By the 12th century, however, scholastic thought was beginning to develop, leading to the rise of universities throughout Europe.[35] These universities gathered what little Greek thought had been preserved over the centuries, including Boethius' commentaries on Aristotle. They also served as places of discussion for new ideas coming from new translations from Arabic throughout Europe.


This directly addresses your revisionist view that the Greek works weren't transmitted to the West via Arabic translations from Islamic Spain.

Greek works preserved was limited - hence the 'what little Greek thought had been preserved'.

Greek works transmitted to West via Spain: the last bit highlighted as well as Hannam's quote:
The truth I think is something like this. There was undeniably a decline in scientific knowledge in the Western Roman Empire as it declined and collapsed but the roots of this can be traced to the pagan Romans. After 200 BC there was a fruitful cultural contact between Greeks and the bilingual Roman upper classes. This introduced a version of the classical tradition into the Roman Empire but it was a thin popularised version which was translated into Latin. Bilingualism and the conditions which favoured scholarship then declined rapidly after AD180 as the empire entered the 3rd century crisis. Roman citizens who were gradually becoming Christian were therefore limited to pieces of the classical tradition which had been explained and summarised by Latin authors.

Meanwhile the richer, more complete version of the classical tradition fell into the hands of the Muslims as they rapidly expanded across Asia and the Mediterranean.

It was then translated into Arabic, further developed and moved across north Africa to Spain.

As soon as Western Europe had recovered sufficiently it's intellectuals travelled to Spain to translate the materials and bring them into medieval culture.


Your spin has failed. Again.

As for the sequence of the 4th crusade, the Crusaders attacked and besieged Constantinople on the behest of Alexios IV, and then went on to sack Constantinople, slaughtering their fellow Christians and looting the Byzanatine capital. That they only sacked the city after the siege and the failure of Alexios to raise enough booty for the crusaders, and then Alexios IV was killed in Jan 1204 (and it was his successor Alexios V that refused to honour the deal with former emperor - you should read your history more closely) is neither here nor there. RC was right all along.

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