Religious and Scientific Duality of Thought: How Ibn Rushd and al-Ghazili Set the Agenda for Medieval Scholastic Debates

Religious and Scientific Duality of Thought:  How Ibn Rushd and al-Ghazili Set the Agenda for Medieval Scholastic Debates

Saei, Joseph Eric

Chrestomathy: Volume 8, (2009)


As inheritors of two conflicting metaphysical traditions, kalam theology and Greek philosophy “proper,” Abu Hamid al-Ghazili (1058-1111) and Abu al-Walid Ahmad Ibn Rushd (1226-1298) were forced to choose between two options: remain fully within the bounds of one camp, maintaining that it exclusively trades in truth, or take the unpopular and difficult road of attempting to harmonize the two traditions. Whereas al-Ghazili relinquishes his ties to philosophy, polemicizes the whole subject as heretical nonsense, and ultimately arrives at a stringent scriptural viewpoint, Ibn Rushd seeks something of a middle ground, using philosophical methods to extract truths that accord with an allegorical interpretation of relevant passages in the Qur’an. One of the most contentious doctrinal questions addressed in al-Ghazili’s and Ibn Rushd’s intertextual dispute is whether the world is eternal or created in time. Their divergent approaches to this issue exemplify their divergent methodologies.


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