A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, April 14, 2014

Google Marks Averroes' 888th bithday

The Birthday Boy
Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad Ibn Rushd was born April 14, 1126 (in the western calendar), at Cordoba in Al-Andalus, so he turns 888 today.

The great Andalusian philosopher/scientist/mathematician, the defender of philosophy who wrote the great response to al-Ghazali's attacks on it, may have had as much or even more influence on the intellectual tradition of Western Europe, which knew him as Averroes and received much of medieval Europe's knowledge of Aristotelianism through his work. He influenced Jewish philosophers including Maimonides) as well as Christian (Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, and the so-called Latin Averroists.

Dante could not bring himself to put Muslims in Purgatory or heaven, but he at least put Averroes and Avicenna (Ibn Sina) in Limbo, which was his outermost circle of hell.

And today, for his 888th, Averroes received perhaps the ultimate contemporary accolade: Google gave him one of its trademark "Google Doodles" (and explained it here):

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