The Vital Roots of European Enlightenment

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-01-30
  • Publisher: Lexington Books

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The Vital Roots of European Enlightenment is a collection of essays that deal with the influence of Ibn Tufayl, a twelfth-century Arab philosopher from Spain, on major European thinkers. His philosophical novel, Hayy Ibn Yaqzan, could be considered one of the most important books that heralded the Scientific Revolution. Its thoughts are found in different variations and to different degrees in the books of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Isaac Newton, and Immanuel Kant. But if Ibn Tufayl's fundamental values, such as equality, freedom, and toleration, which the thinkers of the European Enlightenment had adopted as theirs, paved the way to the French Revolution, they certainly marked the end of the Age of Reason in southern Spain and the rest of the Islamic world. Ibn Tufayl's philosophy was appropriated, subverted, or reinvented for many centuries. But the memory of the man who wrote such an influential book was buried in the dust of history. The Vital Roots of European Enlightenment reexamines Ibn Tufayl's momentous book and its continued influence over contemporary philosophy. This intriguing book will appeal to those interested in comparative literature and religion. Book jacket.

Author Biography

Samar Attar has extensive publications in both English and Arabic in the fields of literary criticism, philosophy, migration, and gender studies.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
A Chronology of Ibn Tufayl and Some European Thinkers Influenced by Him until 1859p. xv
Introduction: Buried in the Dust of History: A Forgotten Arab Mentor of Modern European Thinkersp. 1
Serving God or Mammon? Echos from Hayy Ibn Yaqzan and Sinbad the Sailor in Robinson Crusoep. 19
The Man of Reason: Hayy Ibn Yaqzan and His Impact on Modern European Thoughtp. 37
Beyond Family, History, Religion, and Language: The Construction of a Cosmopolitan Identity in a Twelfth-Century Arabic Philosophical Novelp. 63
The Book that Launched a Thousand Booksp. 81
The Extraordinary Voyagep. 97
A Philosophical Letter, an Allegorical Voyage, or an Autobiography? Hayy Ibn Yaqzan as a Model in Modern European Literaturep. 113
Conclusion: A Humanist Thesis Subverted?p. 127
Selected Bibliographyp. 145
Indexp. 159
About the Authorp. 173
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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