Monday, May 19, 2014

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Edward Grant and the myth that Medieval man did not know about the fantasy of Aristotle

Another lie exposed, Aristotle has little to do with science anyways

by Ferdinand III

As the Moslem Jihad crucifies Christians under the Pact of Umar in Syria; bombs Chaldean Christian churches with babies inside in Iraq; impels mob violence against Coptic Egyptians; and rapes and enslaves young Christian girls in Nigeria; the sentient, moral observer, divorced from the putrid anti-Christian hate of secular Marxist society; might be forgiven that Islam is a Bronze-age barbarism, better suited to the Mongolian steppes of the early 13th century; or the child-sacrificing Canaanite hill-tops of the 3rd millenium BC, than in the modern world. Question. Would a tribal-fascism, whose main book is openly racist and supremacist be capable of anything other than violence, hate, misogyny and rape ? It answers itself.

In the real world of the 5 senses, our modern society was birthed and developed during the hard-period, which should never be romanticized but which as well, was not 'dark', named rather oddly, 'the Middle Ages'. As if our period is enlightened – see Darwinism, Marxism, Atheism, the atheist-evolutionist death cult of Hitler, globaloneywarming, abortion and euthanasia for more information.

Edward Grant is perhaps the best medieval historian and most accurate in both sources and interpretations [one of his seminal works is reviewed here]. As Grant makes clear, Islam did not invent anything by itself. Any inventions within Moslem lands were the creations of non-Moslems. By the very early 11th century, Islam was ossified, the Ghazali cult of fundamentalist Koranic interpretation and the utter rejection of reality and science, was firmly entrenched within Islam. With the church and state bound together, and the political-economy openly hostile to thinking, individuality and freedom, the Moslem empire and its constituent parts was destined to fail.

As Grant writes; by the end of eleventh century, Western Europeans were aware that both Muslims and Byzantines had access to philosophical and scientific texts that they did not have. After the capture of Toledo, Spain and Sicily from the Muslims in 1085 and 1091, respectively, a number of scholars translated Greek and Arabic texts, but tended to prefer the Greek ones because Greek was a related Indo-European language, which Arabic was not. A large number of the works which existed in Arabic were originally translations from Greek themselves, and it would obviously make more sense to copy directly from the Greek in Constantinople since a more precise rendering could be made, with fewer misinterpretations than from Arabic. The result was a major movement of translations from the twelfth century until the second half of the thirteenth century.

Many works in optics, astronomy, medicine and mathematics were translated, but it was Aristotle's work on natural philosophy that had the greatest impact. The two greatest translators from Greek to Latin were James of Venice (d. after AD 1147), the first major translator of Aristotle's works from Greek to Latin, and the Flemish scholar William of Moerbeke (c. AD 1215-c. 1286), who was the last.

Grant, page 166:
"William of Moerbeke translated at least forty-eight treatises, including seven on mathematics and mechanics by Archimedes, translated for the first time into Latin (Grant 1974, 39-41; Minio-Paluello 1974, 436-438). His Aristotelian translations are truly impressive. He was the first to translate Aristotle's biological works from Greek into Latin. In translating the rest of Aristotle's natural philosophy, Moerbeke found it useful to revise, expand, and even complete some earlier translations, including revisions of at least three treatises previously translated by James of Venice. In addition, Moerbeke translated Greek commentaries on Aristotle's works from late antiquity. Thus, he translated John Philoponus' Commentary on the Soul, and Simplicius' Commentary on the Heavens. One of the earliest beneficiaries of Moerbeke's translations was Thomas Aquinas."
Grant continues on page 167: Arab translations ?
"With Moerbeke's monumental contributions, all of Aristotle's natural philosophy was available by the last quarter of the thirteenth century in translations from Greek and Arabic. Although many scientific works were translated from Arabic to Latin in the first half of the twelfth century by such translators as Plato of Tivoli, Adelard of Bath, Robert of Chester, Hermann of Carinthia, Dominicus Gundissalinus, Peter Alfonso, John of Seville, and others, the earliest translations of Aristotle's works on natural philosophy appear to have occurred in Spain in the latter half of the twelfth century. By far the most prominent translator of Aristotle's works on natural philosophy was Gerard of Cremona (c. A.D. 1114-1187), the most prolific translator from Arabic to Latin of works on science, medicine, and natural philosophy."

Gerard of Cremona and those associated with him translated dozens of works from Arabic to Latin, among them probably Alhazen's book on Optics, which could not have been translated from Greek since it did not exist in Greek. It is thus true that there were translations from Arabic and that some of these did have some impact in Europe. It would be historically inaccurate to claim otherwise. But although this translation movement was significant, we should focus at least as much on how these different civilizations used this information.
Grant's last point is key. Moslems and Arabs did not invent anything of note. Perhaps their slavish devotion to Aristotle – itself a non-science – might show some limited 'intellectual energy', but the Moslems and Arabs never proved the ancient Greeks right or wrong. They never built upon their ideas, nor did they challenge them. Much of Aristotle is pure gibberish of course. It stultified thinking for 2000 years – abiogenesis ? cosmos did not move ? the earth was 'still' ? plants could become fauna ? Some Aristotelian nonsense still clouds judgements even today. In any event, the Moslems did not improve or disprove any aspect of this non-science.