- Format: Hardbound
- Pages: 300
- Publisher: Islamic Book Trust (October 1, 2009)
- Language: English
his is an attempt to present to the general reader the life and works of Avicenna, who is beyond doubt the most provocative figure in the history of thought in the East. It is not a defence of him and his system, nor a critique of his philosophy. During his lifetime he was deliberately scornful of defenders and critics alike; he could not think better of them now that a thousand years have gone by. With his position amply justified, and after that extended period when his name hung on the lips of physicians and philosophers from the borders of China to the cloisters of mediaeval Paris and Oxford, it seems best to let him speak for himself. The painted frieze only lately discovered behind a coating of plaster at the Bodleian, is sufficient evidence that he is no newcomer to the Western world.
We have felt no temptation to adapt him to modern thought; or to graft his conceptions on to those that belong distinctively to an experimental age. We have wished to give the right historical perspective, and to show him as the product of the impact of Greek thought on Islamic teachings against the background of the Persian Renaissance in the tenth century.
The legitimate question whether there is anything of permanent value in his thought has been left for the reader to decide. Yet it has been emphasized that the problems he was confronted with resulted from the conflicting disciplines of two separate cultures brought face to face. He is therefore of more than historical interest. His attitude can be of guidance to those in the East who are meeting the challenge of Western civilization; and to those in the West who have yet to find a basis on which to harmonize scientific with spiritual values.
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