Averroes (Ibn Rushd): His Life and Times
Averroes, or more correctly Ibn Rushd, was a 12th-century jurist, philosopher and physician from Cordoba in Spain. He is one of the great Muslim philosophers and a key figure in post-classical European thought, thanks to the translation of his work into Latin, and its influence on figures like Thomas Aquinas.
Averroes (the Latin form of his name) believed that the religious law should be obeyed but that rational thought and logic had their place in religious inquiry too, and that philosophy was not antithetical to religion.
He devoted himself in particular to the study of Aristotle’s works as they existed in Arabic, earning the title of the ‘Commentator’. However, his detailed commentaries added much to the medieval corpus on Aristotle. Indeed, Averroes achieved such prominence in later European thought that his influence rivalled that of Aristotle himself.
Speaker Professor Amira K. Bennison is a professor in the History and Culture of the Maghrib at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge. She has a master’s degree from Harvard University and a PhD at SOAS.
She has appeared in several TV programmes about the history of the Middle East and North Africa including ‘Europe’s Lost Civilisation’; ‘The Thirties in Colour’, ‘Islamic Science’; and ‘The Ottomans’. She is also a regular contributor to Radio 4’s ‘In Our Time’ with Melvyn Bragg and other radio programmes on Islamic history.
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