Syllabus [EuroHist-HHS123-F09]

For 11/9-11

Assignment 10


Jerusalem 1099 and

Ibn Tufayl's Story of Hayy

Jerusalem - Detail from a 12th century Crusader Map.

Here is the whole thing: Jerusalem-CrusaderMap12thc.big.jpg [386KB]

For Monday:

Read: Asbridge: 295-333 The Siege of Jerusalem.  Asbridge-FirstCrusade-Jerusalem-sm.pdf [5.4MB]  Pages 3 and 4 of the PDF are a list of characters that you will find useful in this reading.  Page 5 has a glossary of some useful terms.  I highly recommend you look over these pages before you read the chapter.  You might even want to print out these pages so that you can refer to them easily while reading. This reading gets into much more detail and gives you much more insight into this period and the particular episode in history. 


Read this short description of the conquest of Jerusalem by Crusaders: William_of_Tyre-Capture_of_Jerusalem.htm.  [Figure out how to cite this if you use it.]

For Wednesday...

:::::Words:Daniel's Papers and Notes:Galen to Mondino :Heart Pictures:Galenic_Heart_diagram.jpg

This is a synthesis of a few physiological theories, but it reflects the general ideas presented in the Ibn Tufail reading. 

Follow the numered sequence, 1-5, and the arrows.  This is not a circulatory system, this is a one way system,

in one end and out the other.  We will discuss this diagram in class.


For Wednesday:


Read these exerpts from The Story of Hayy ibn Yaqzan by Ibn Tufayl (ca. 1105-1185 - from Moorish "Spain").

IbnTufayl-Hayy-Khalidi-CambridgeEd.pdf  [1.1MB]

pp. 99-114

pp. 121-122 [Start at bottom of p. 121, "The first thing..."]

pp. 125-127 [Start at the top of p. 125.]

pp. 138-140 [Start at middle of p. 138, "Since the animal..."

pp. 142-145 [Start at bottom of p. 142, "When it came to..."


            Ibn Tufayl’s name is also spelled, Ibn Tofail, Ibn Tofail, and sometimes called in the West, “Abubacer.” (In Latin the letter “c” is always hard like “k.”) His full name is Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Abd al-Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Tufail al-Qaisi al-Andalusi, أبو بكر محمد بن عبد الملك بن محمد بن طفيل القيسي الأندلسي.  If you prefer to read Arabic, here is a link to the text in its original language (or so I am told, I don’t read Arabic):



      This story explains how a person can find God by reading the book of nature and exploring the divine within.  I like to call it Radical Medieval Islamic Natural Philosophy for Dummys.  This sort of describes that internal jihad that I was talking about.  This was and is pretty radical stuff as it seems to suggest that the Koran is for the masses, whereas the book of nature written by God is the real deal. Similar ideas were floated in Christianity in the 13th and later in the 17th centuries.  This sort of stuff usually runs into a lot of resistance from religious leaders.  We won't read most of it, but I want you to get a taste. 


            Aside: Here is a quote from a literary translation of Genesis: “…and wetness would well from the earth to water all the surface of the soil, then the Lord God fashioned the human, humus from the soil, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the human became a living creature.”  It is interesting to compare this with the creation of Hayy.


Read over the notes on AverroĎs below and look at this small collection of images from MoorishSpain-1MB.pdf, in the eLibrary. The images are just to give your mind a visual context. 


"Essay" assignment suggestions: Draw and write: You could draw up (comic book style) both versions of the creation of Hayy or the creations of Hayy compared with the creation of humans in Greek mythology (Promethius) or the Biblical version or some other version that you might be familiar with.  ....or .... you could write about how Hayy uses nature to discover God and compare that with modern ideas... or... you could do some sort of visually oriented assignment dealing with the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099, or you could work with some maps and make some detailed diagrams that would go with the conquest of Jerusalem (try here Hebrew University Maps of Jerusalem Online, or use Google Earth or some other source).  Go nuts and do something fun.  Remember, that even picture oriented "essays" need to have some commentary and/or analysis.  

     -Most of you need to do at least two more essays and this assigment is a good one to work with.

Final Essay Information: The topic you decide to tackle is largely up to you.  You could expand the presentation you did (or will do), you could expand a homework essay you did, you could use the resource materials I provided to other students for their presentations, or you could discuss with me another idea that you had so long as it has some bearing on the period and locations for this course.  The technical specs for this paper are fully described in the Class_Policies-HHS123 page. 

Read this over...


AverroĎs (Ibn Rushd) 1126-1198  from Moorish Spain, born in Cordoba. Known in the West simply as "the Commentator" [The Commentator on Aristotle]. He was a judge and physician as well.  He had more influence on Christian philosophers than Islamic ones.  Many of his writings were very influential on major Christian theologans such as Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, and Albertus Magnus.  He knew Ibn Tufail personally.


Trivia: He is encountered in Limbo by Dante (Inferno Canto 4) along with Euclid, Galen, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Avicenna, Plato…etc.


He proposed that God thinking of himself is His relationship to the world. [Think about this statement.  Now think about this statement late at night under the influence.]


Passive Intelligence is immaterial, eternal, and universal and when actualized, it is one for all men… thus immortality not particular.  (I’ll discuss this in class.) 


Much like Al-Farabi, an earlier Islamic philosopher (d. 950), he considered philosophy to be superior to theology, which he felt relied on metaphor and picturesque language to describe the workings of God.  Theology was useful for ordinary, uneducated people, but philosophers were capable of understanding a higher truth.  This idea, of course, does not play well with theologians, but it sure was attractive to the sciency types.  This idea clearly something Ibn Tufayl liked and it also has something of a gnostic ring to it.


The first cause is self-evident.  There must be an unmoved mover… God, ... meaning that our world had to start at some point, and the starter, the one who needs no starting, we shall call God.


The main purpose of man is to become like God.  [This idea is also from Al-Farabi, but is particularly poignant for our reading of Ibn Tufail.]  Think about this.  How do we become like God?  What do we need to do or think or make?

13th C. Christian myths concerning the philosophy of AverroĎs  [These misunderstandings tended to give him a negative image amongst Christian theologians, who, none-the-less studied him intently.]   

Here are the misconceptions: 


AverroĎs actually proposed..            

AverroĎs was well aware that the individual person should have an individual soul/form after death.  He did not want to promote a collective, undifferentiated soul theory as this would go against scripture. But, according to his reading of Aristotle, it is matter and only matter that gives form individual existence.  Without matter, forms are universals and cannot exist in the plural [individuality is lost after death].  Put another way, identical forms without material existence cannot exist as separate forms, they exist as one universal form.  There is only one idea of chair but there are many examples of material chairs.  The problem as AverroĎs saw it, was that the human soul after death was a form without matter and would thus have no individuality, it would just be a universal human form.  His solution was to claim that individuality was maintained in a very subtle matter, “the animal warmth which emanates from the heavenly bodies.”*  He suggested that the soul discarded the dead earthly body and informed this celestial stuff, preserving its material individuality which would otherwise be lost upon death.  [I cannot help but think that this celestial stuff is aether/quintessence/5th-element/spiritus-like stuff.] This is confusing metaphysics.  I am confused and I have yet to read anybody who explains it very well or very confidently.  But this short description should at least give you the idea that AverroĎs took Aristotle very seriously and that his philosophy is very sophisticated and was extremely attractive to late medieval Christian theologians.

*See AverroĎs, AverroĎs’ Tahafut al-Falasifah, trans. A. Kamali, Lahore 1958, p. 357.  This text was not available in Latin in the 13th c.


Selected works:          



The sources used for this thumbnail sketch of AverroĎs


Hyman, Arthur, and James J. Walsh. Philosophy in the Middle Ages; the Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Traditions. New York,: Harper & Row, 1967,  pp. 281-325.


Lindberg, David C. Theories of Vision from Al-Kindi to Kepler. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976.


Lindberg, David C. The Beginnings of Western Science : The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 B.C. To A.D. 1450. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.


Lindberg, David C. "Medieval Science and Its Religious Context." Osiris 10, no. Constructing Knowledge in the History of Science (1995): 60-79.


Weinberg, Julius R. A Short History of Medieval Philosophy. Princeton, N.J.,: Princeton University Press, 1974.  See especially pp. 127-139.


Themes that were debated in the Middle Ages and played prominent roles in the Scientific Revolution:


Here is the extent of Islamic rule as of the 8th c.  It was huge.

(I added a bit to the north of this map so that it could be compared to the next map.)



For comparison, here is the Roman Empire at its largest.


Sources used in HHS123 Week 10:


Khalidi, Muhammad Ali. Medieval Islamic Philosophical Writings.  Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.


Asbridge, Thomas S. The First Crusade: A New History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.


Crusades Primary Sources On-line: some good readings here if you want more primary sources.


Optional, but of interest: 

:::HoST:HoST Fall 07 Web:Ass12 Darwin:Class materials:060810-evolution_big.jpg

"Human Beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals." 

Survey said...  True, False, or Unsure?

From Owen's article, below.


Read this story from the NY Times: Chang: Creationism, Minus a Young Earth, Emerges in the Islamic World from Nov. 2, 2009.


Now read this: Owen-Evolution Less Accepted in U.S.  Than Other Western Countries, Study Finds.htm


Resource Packages for Presentations:

Nyle: Dante-resources  with an emphasis on Homer and Chaucer connections.  Refer to this for bibliography and some descriptions: Dante-Resources-Bibliography.htm.  I was also thinking that you could look at the imagery of hell, or heaven and hell... the topology and/or geography... This could be a more visually compelling approach.


Mary and Jennifer: Here is the bibliography for the witch presentations: Witches-Witchraft-Witch_Hunts/WitchesBibliography.htm.  The resource site itself is here: Witches-Witchraft-Witch_Hunts/







Review Posted 10/10/08


Galenic_Heart-etc-Review-4.4MB.pdf (this is the same one that I posted on Week 0.)