Averroes (or Averrhoes), Abul-walid Mohammed Ibn Ahmed

Averroes (or Averrhoes), Abul-Walid Mohammed Ibn- Ahmed (surnamed el-Hajid), an illustrious Arabian philosopher and physician, was born at Cordova, Spain, in 1120. The name is a corruption of Aben- or Ibn-Roshd. He studied theology, jurisprudence, medicine, and philosophy under the best masters, and was intimate with men who were leaders of scientific thought in Spain in the 12th century. Like his father, he was distinguished for his varied knowledge, and succeeded him in the office of mufti, or chief judge of Andalusia, and subsequently held the same office in Morocco. He stood high in the esteem of successive rulers, especially of Al-Manstr; but the latter, yielding to 'those who could not reconcile the philosophy of Averroes with his professed devotion to the Koran, and perhaps also impelled by personal animosity, banished him for several years, but finally restored him to his office. Averroes died at Morocco,- Dec. 12, 1198. It is difficult to understand in what his heresy consisted. As told by the Arab historians, it is enveloped in vague and puerile circumstantialities; but according to Ibn-Abi-Oceibia, the real cause was the hatred of the Mohammedan priesthood to the culture of philosophy and the study of the ancients. This is somewhat confirmed by the fact that Averroes did not suffer alone. A general persecution raged; everywhere philosophers, physicians, poets, and others of like pursuits, were in danger;

and before the close of the century the light of. scientific genius in Southern Spain had gone out. Averroes's writings are numerous, and embrace almost every subject of human knowledge. He is said to have written nearly eighty treatises, most of which pertain to medicine and the kindred sciences; but .he is chiefly known in modern times as a commentator on Aristotle and Plato. The first edition of his works was published in a Latin translation at Venice in eleven volumes (1552-60), the commentaries filling eight volumes, while the remaining three contain his refutation of Al-Gazali's work against the Greek philosophy, his great medical work, Kulliyat (incorrectly Colliget), and miscellaneous treatises. His philosophy inclined towards pantheism and materialism. His doctrines were denounced by the University of Paris, after which Leo X issued a bull against them.: See Renan, Averroes et l'Averroisme (Paris, 1852); Muller, Philosophie und Theologie von Averroes (Munich, 1859); Munk, Melanges, p. 418-458; Stockl, Phil. des Muttelalters, ii, 67-124; Herz, Averroes, Vdter und Sohn: Drei Abhandlungen uber die Conjunction des separaten Intellects mit den Menschen, translated into German from the Arabic version of Samuel ibn-Tibbon. (Berlini, 1869).'

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