Spreading the Word: Multicultural Medieval Philosophy

Does the thought of a multicultural medieval philosophy surprise you? Do you believe those “dark ages” were mostly focused on religion and predominantly concerned with Christian theological discussions? If yes, it may well be that your views were shaped by historical narratives that are still, unfortunately, not that uncommon. It was after taking courses in Islamic philosophy and in the History of science and religion that I realised how caricatured my understanding of medieval philosophy was. That is why I am always glad to come across content that sheds light on what has been excluded or ignored (for example, this one).

By not paying attention to whole cultures and traditions, we can easily get a distorted impression of our shared human history. This can negatively influence our beliefs and attitudes without even our realising it. Of course, we cannot know everything there is to know. But the good news is we can always learn something new and keep broadening our horizons. That is what today’s article can help us do. The essay “Medieval but not Christian” is written by philosophy professor Yitzhak Y Melamed and published on aeon. It is a very accessible, engaging, and thought-provoking read. Here is one of his quotes from the article that once again reminded me just how important it is to guard against intellectual hubris. Enjoy!

“Ascribing conceptual blindness of such a vast scope to highly competent scholars seems to me barely credible, and yet we cannot absolutely rule it out since such blindness is indeed a common mark of activity dominated by ideology.”

Yitzhak Y Melamed
patterned window in a wall

Keeping up the “Spreading the Word” tradition, I hope to share an insightful and thought-provoking article or video every weekend. I feel it is essential to care for our physical and mental well-being. Humans have always turned and returned to storytelling to find meaning. My weekends’ “Spreading the Word” posts are an online version of sharing meaningful stories.   

keep exploring and storytelling!

Image credit: Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

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