Averroes:A Rationalist in Islam

p00676.pngNineteen ninety-eight marked the 800th anniversary of the death of Averroes, the medieval philosopher, commentator on Aristotle, and great Islamic intellectual. Now Roger Arnaldez, one of the world’s most distinguished Islamicists, gives us with the story of Averroes and his remarkable role in the history of the Middle Ages. All who study medieval history, theology, philosophy, Islam, or intellectual history will enjoy this book.

His prodigious knowledge of astronomy, medicine, Aristotelian philosophy, Qur’anic studies, and civil law made Averroes a favorite of the sultan’s court. He was appointed Grand Qadi, the highest judicial position in the medieval Spanish city of Cordoba. Yet in the midst of his success, Averroes faced a struggle that is not unknown to thinkers today: how to reconcile reason with faith.

In 1195, following conflicts with orthodox Muslim clergy, who possessed political influence and power, Averroes fell into disfavor with the leaders of the Islamic state. His writings were burned and he was forced into exile. Eventually he regained his position as an intellectual leader but he died shortly thereafter in 1198. This perceptive study of a multifaceted intellectual enriches our understanding not only of Averroes himself, but also of the medieval world in which he lived.

Through a combination of biography and analyses of Averroes’ various commentaries on Aristotle and his theological treatises, Arnaldez argues that Averroes deserves a higher place in Muslim intellectual history than he now holds.

Roger Arnaldez, member of the Académie Francaise and professor emeritus at the Sorbonne, is the author of numerous works, including Three Messengers for One God, also published by the University of Notre Dame Press.

“Like all Arnaldez’s work, this book is scholarly, judicious and helpful. A particular strength of the book is that it provides not only an accurate account of ibn Rushd’s views, but it also links his works with the cultural context within which he was working, and this is well done. The reader who knows nothing of this period will gain a solid understanding of it, and appreciate how creative a period of human thought this was.” Transcendent Philosophy

“[A] good sample of the Scholastic mode of thinking and argumentation from one of the brightest lights of the medieval period.” Theological Studies

Paper Edition 2000
168 pages
ISBN 10: 0-268-02008-6
ISBN 13: 978-0-268-02008-2

Roger Arnaldez
Translated by David Streight


Averroes:A Rationalist in Islam

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