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Thread: Would enlightenment have happened in Europe without Islam?

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    Deus Meumque Jus
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    Were Greek texts a necessary precursor to the enlightenment? They likely did hasten it, but I suspect there would have been a philosophical movement in Europe one way or another. The basis of which would have been economic, as Europe was becoming the focal point of the global economy. Eventually despotic government and religion became a hindrance to economic progress, and revolution just happened. Doesn't take much to realize that monarchy, and out-dated religious rules are dumb.

    If you look back to the Axial age and the Indian/Greek/Chinese philosophies that were developed then, the basis was also economic. The communities had specialized to an extent that philosophy could be developed. I'd guess similar occurred as Europe started to organize itself after the fall of Rome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Rather than the reformation. I was thinking more in terms of the advancement of science.
    I'd think of it less as an advancement of science, more an advancement of technology using reason. Capitalism and commerce likely drove most technical/'scientific' innovations in the early days, then eventually science became formalized as a discipline.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Rather than the reformation. I was thinking more in terms of the advancement of science.
    Of course, that's what I thought you meant. There's a very Anglo-American tendency to think the Reformation was part of the Enlightenment for some reason.

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    This might be a worthwhile read:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_science

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    It certainly would have looked different without Aristotle and the Thomists.

    Or for that matter, defiant adoration of the Bible as an anti-Qur'an and mortal terror of the Turks, both of which profoundly influenced the Reformation and thus helped unhook the universities from the Vatican.

    But I do not think anything could have ultimately stopped the advancement of science; that has been an ongoing project of all humanity for a lery long time; knowledge is generated everywhere, it merely accumulates in the financial capitals of whatever empire is on top in any given century. That was Rome, then it was Baghdad, then it was Istanbul, then it was Seville and Cordoba, then...

    And so it goes.

    "Europe" is a much later invention than this time period; the people of France and Britain and Spain of this time period did not imagine themselves to be happy little friends of anyone who happened to share a continent/skin color. "Christendom" there was, perhaps, before the Reformation ripped it to shreds. But even that had only meant unity against non-Christian threats. Not amity and group projects in the meanwhile. The idea of an international system of secular universities patiently working together to advance common knowledge emerged only at the end of this time period.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio Parker View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    But did this play a part in bringing about enlightenment, or did it just save material that would otherwise have been destroyed by the Church?
    I think so, but who knows. Could you've had enlightenment without the Reformation? I don't think the Reformation would've happened without those documents.
    Why the Reformation? Maybe indirectly by the violence and wars that it caused. The Reformation essentially made Christianity *more crazy*. Luther was explicitly against using reason, and opened the door for modern fundamentalist Christianity.
    You seem to think the enlightenment happened in spite of the Reformation.

    My point was that the logjam of thought maintained by the church was broken. That some thoughts or beliefs went the other way i.e. crazier is beside the point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Rather than the reformation. I was thinking more in terms of the advancement of science.
    I think the replacing of God with celestial mechanics does involve religion.

    The fall off Byzantium led to, among other things, the realization that the Donation of Constantine was a forgery. Those repercussions ultimately resulted in someone like say Newton to be not threatened with the Inquisition. That seems kinda important to the "advancement" of science, the advancing taking place in people's awareness.

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    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Rather than the reformation. I was thinking more in terms of the advancement of science.
    I'd think of it less as an advancement of science, more an advancement of technology using reason. Capitalism and commerce likely drove most technical/'scientific' innovations in the early days, then eventually science became formalized as a discipline.
    There is little doubt that these would be some of the factors. Not to mention great thinkers such as Galileo, Kepler, et al, who were quite capable of doing research and had the mental capacity for original thought.

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    So, wasn't the scientific climate of the Persians was already very strong and not greatly pushed around by religious concerns?

    https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistoria...olden_age_was/

    Also, gotta say that the Persian language sounds really cool and Arabic sounds aggressive as hell. Kind of like French vs German or Dutch.

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    Senior Member Tharmas's Avatar
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    My thoughts, based on various histories I read years ago (I admit my memory may be somewhat faulty):

    The Muslims conquered Spain in the Dark Ages, and it was slowly reconquered by Europeans. The reconquest was completed in about 1490, just in time to finance Columbus. The reconquest opened up many Arabic ideas and texts to Europeans, and for quite a while there was a going concern in Spain translating Arabic texts (including their translations of Greek texts) into Latin.

    The great wealth unleashed by the conquest of the New World no doubt fueled cultural growth and transformation.

    Among the concepts learned from the Arabs were: Arabic numerals, zero, algebra, etc. These concepts certainly had great impact on the development of science in the West, which in turn no doubt fueled the Enlightenment. The revolutions in astronomy and physics provided natural explanations to what had previously been the province of a deity. The stage was set for the conflict between Religion and Science.

    As for the Reformation, no doubt it contributed to a sense of intellectual freedom, with the idea that individuals could determine Truth for themselves (super powered by the printing press). Consider that at about the same time the Muslim world officially declared that religious texts and dogma must supersede natural philosophy, thus effectively ending the Islamic renaissance.

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