Modernity has roots -- in past ages of FAITH.

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Roland Bainton writes of the Catholic Church during Europe's period known as the Medieval:

The Church had many faults and many failures, but in spite of them all, it
was the greatest force for justice and order in the world of the Middle Ages.

[Roland H. Bainton, 1941]

Angelus Domini

Roots of Modernity

In Dante's Divina Commedia, Ulysses is made to say:

    Consider well the seed from which you grew:
    You were not formed to live like animals
    but rather to pursue virtue and knowlege.

Thoughts by Robert Shepherd

Have we gotten too smart for God? Too rich and pampered to appeal to a higher power? The Enlightenment in its rush to embrace science and modern openness and the democratic impulse tended to view the past negatively. Rome, and especially Christianity, were often portrayed as symbols of repression, or historic bullying. Or, what good there was in Jesus' religion of love became corrupted when the Church gained Constantine's sword (state support). Thus began the "muscular" Christianity that Jesus himself repudiated. The man of Galilee had contrasted the kings of the Gentiles who lord it over their "subjects" with his own way -- to serve.

The bully stereotype, while sadly true in some aspects, is all too often distorted into parody -- and all we see is a picture of inquisitions and book-burnings, inquisitions and the near-genocide of colonial peoples -- ie, religious tyranny. We are "modern" - and Christian faith represents bygone days, and primitive times. We no longer need the "crutch" of those outmoded superstitions. We are "enlightened" now. We are "free" from all that old-fashioned religious malarkey.

America prides itself, and indeed some acknowledgement is deserved, on its early strides toward widespread literacy and the rise of a burgeoning middle class. Tocqueville came to New England and was astounded at the grade schools teaching the three R's to boys and girls, children of rich and poor. Such a radical notion was unheard of in Europe. In fact, far from the extremes of wealth that Europe revealed, New England democracy was essentially "all middle class." Tocqueville was pleased with the spirit of optimism, the economic hustle-and-bustle, the participatory involvement of one and all. (Or so it seemed)

My God, he seems to say. Self-government can work!. Tocqueville saw ordinary people full of confidence in themselves, in each other, and without a sullen silent hatred of their leaders. Everyone griped about the government -- or the Banks -- then having got it off their chest, pursued their immediate concerns. In Europe, on the other hand, violent revolution or insurrectionary revolt constantly lurked -- simmering beneath the surface.

Tocqueville thought the blessings of literacy and Democratic self-confidence were by-products of the trust that the American system placed in the common man. Everyone knew the Bible, and were acquainted with their Bible-based "rights" within the puritan "Hebrew" Democracy. In contrast, the Europe Tocqueville knew was mired in ignorance, and revolutions simmered, constantly suppressed, ever-ready to explode. The poor of Europe could neither read nor write, knew only so much religion as the authorities (priests served only the higher priests, and they in turn served the bishops, the prelates, the kings and popes.) The common people were distrusted, ever-suspected of revolutionary intent.

But where did America get its Bible, and its Christian faith? Tocqueville had such high praise for the gospel milieu of New England's pervasive Puritanism, but where did those blessings originate? From the very "tyrannical" system that the Americans fought so hard to break free of. From the very Old World culture that Tocqueville contrasted our Democracy with.

Yes. America got its Bible from Europe, and got its Christian faith from Europe too. Thomas E. Woods' new book lays out in much detail the ironic truth that Western Civilization in fact was essentially BUILT by the Catholic Church of history. Sure, there are the cases of censorship. There were the periods of persecution of those who were deemed heretics or "different."

But far from creating the Dark Ages, the Church of Rome in essence colonized a continent steeped in barbarian tribalism, mired in ignorance, poverty and illiteracy. Monasteries were islands of relative prosperity and learning, and at times almost single-handedly preserved the light of earlier times within their possession.

The very alphabet we in the West use was a bequest of Roman civilization -- via the Church.

Politically, throughout the medieval period the Church was the largest organized Christian body in the Western world. It was intimately intertwined with most aspects of secular society, including governmental and judicial. The Church was the most powerful element of society and the most influential. This role was so dominant that the church's power was secure, not depending any way on public affirmation or monetary donations [p62 Doyle, Sipe & Wall].

"The Catholic Church permeated every aspect of life and was the dominant social, economic, intellectual, and political force in Western civilization until the late sixteenth century." [p32 Doyle, Sipe & Wall] Robert Oppenheimer, Father of the Atomic Bomb, (who after the holocaust of Hiroshima had misgivings), declared, "Christianity was needed to give birth to modern science." ["On Science and Culture," Encounter, vol. 19, no. 4 (October 1962), 3-10. Cited online]

God's Crucible: southern Spain

When contact with the Islamic Golden Age (Spain, etc) startled Europe into an energy of imitation and self-help, it was only possible because Christian erudition immediately recognized the cultural wealth represented by the flowering of Islamic and Judaic culture to the south. Maurice DeWulf states: "It is hard for us adequately to realize what this enrichment [thirteenth century] must have meant at that time." [Philosophy and Civilization, p78]


Musa ibn Maymun
Moses Ben Maimon
wrote in Arabic

The rationalism and Aristotelian piety of men like Maimonides inspired European Christians to create their own like syntheses, inspiring the Scholastical genius of generations of late medieval scholars. The scholasticism of the late middle ages paved the way for later renaissance in Europe, the emergence of science, Biblical humanism and yes, the Reformation. The treasures of Hebrew and Arabic (and indirectly, the Greek learning of a host of ancient writers) suddenly became available to Latin-reading (Christian) Europe. In fact, as Dinesh D'Souza asserts, science as an organized, sustained enterprise arose only once in human history -- and that was in Europe, in the civilization called Christendom. See "What's so great about Christianity."

And in turn, European scholars, mostly men of Christian faith, (largely Church-trained and many of them monks or other churchmen) had the eyes and appreciation to recognize the treasures of other men of faith (and reason) the Jews and Moors of Spain.

Scholars like Maimonides and Averroës (ibn Rushd), mutual friends, both physicians, both sons of judges, both called Córdoba home -- were both hunted down by the Christian conquerors (the Inquisition) yet their joint impact on the rise of Europe intellectually is almost incalculable -- Europe's rationalism, its renaissance, its development of philosophy, its scientific age (still to come). The philosophical schools of Avicennism and Averroism exerted great influence on Christian Scholasticism.
More: wiki article.

The greatest of the fathers of Christian Catholic philosophy was the "Sicilian Ox" -- Thomas of Aquino, Thomas Aquinas. Ungifted as a social speaker, he was brilliant with pen and ink. Friedrich Heer writes: "Avid for knowledge, Aquinas immersed himself in the newly discoverd texts [coming up from Mooish Spain]; he read Averroes and Avicenna early in his career ... and steeped himself in the growing number of classical, Arab and Jewish texts becoming available [translated into Latin]. Aquinas, Albert the Great and Meister Echart were all, for example, deeply indepted to Maimonides, the grand master of neo-Judaism, the Jewish "Enlightenment." [p 267. Medieval World: Europe 1100-1350]

The Jews and Arabs of Moorish Spain became conduits for treasure troves of ancient Greek writings, and Europe was able to receive it only because there existed sufficient learning among churchmen to appreciate the value of those discoveries. Similarly, Arabic and Jewish contributions in fields from astronomy and mathematics and medicine became available to Europeans through the vehicle of literacy, a gift of (one might say) religion. The Averroists were physicians and scientists, astrologers and philosophers in the tradition of Aristotle. If the Dominicans of Paris began by disputing and disproving this vast new knowledge, they ended by digesting, transforming and heralding a new brilliance throughout Western Europe.

A very similar thing happened in Italy, where the fertile Muslim and Jewish influence poured in from Sicily (and Palermo) as well as the Andalus (Cordova). Averroist physicians and astrologers wound up "taking over" Padua and Bologna as much as did the Aristotelian Averroists "take over" the Sorbonne Dominicans of Paris. Scholasticism won the West.

Desmond Stewart remarks: "Muslim mysticism passed directly or indirectly into the very fibre of Spanish Christian tradition. Saint Teresa of Avila or Saint John of the Cross might never have written as they did if they had not been exposed to such Sufi doctrines as the concept of God as the Beloved and Friend, and the belief that God could be known only through renunciation of the world." See a barefoot reformer.

Indeed, the persecution Teresa's Carmelites suffered was surely due in part to the suspect aura sensed by authorities reminding them of Sufis (or Jews) -- a fate suffered by the mysterious (or mystic) Alumbrados, too. [more] Teresa herself was grandaughter of Juan Sánchez de Cepeda, a converso who had "relapsed" from Christianity back into Judaism. In 1485 he was summoned before the Catholic Inquisition in Toledo, along with his wife and children, including Teresa's father, who was six at the time. They were given the choice of reconverting to Christianity or being burned alive. [p 539, James Carroll] And John of the Cross, Teresa's loyal protegé, according to his biographer Gerald Brenan, himself had Jewish ancestry as well, but may not have known it. [p 359, James Carroll]

Even the Crusades, the fruition of Christian fanaticism, had the benefit of introducing to "the unwashed Franks" the example of Semitic peoples with superior habits of cleanliness, more prevalent literacy, and greater restraint in morals, than their own levels at that time. Ironically, though the Crusades failed in taking and keeping the Holy Land possessions they sought, they brought benefits to Christian Europe that remained -- the exposure to different (and in many ways superior) ways of looking at the world.

Will and Ariel Durant note that the poetry and music of the Troubadours came from Muslim Spain into Provence, and from Muslim Sicily into Italy [p 342]. The idea of chivalry has often been correlated with the "courtly love" serenaded by the Troubadours. Henri Bergson declares those sublime concepts to have originated with Jesus Christ. That may be so, ultimately. But the direct source was clearly the lofty poetic inspiration of Moorish Spain. Countless reflections of these old thoughts abound even still. Even the Spanish language retains them, and their Arabic roots are (we are told) easily discernible. The noble idea of the self-sacrificing lover (the knight) joyously willing to suffer for his love of the Beloved, his Queen, his Lady. Que besa su mano or que besa sus pies.

Well might Christendom remind itself of these forgotten roots of Chivalry -- which in Islam nourished the noble concept of Futuwwa, a kind of virtuous manly ideal, a self-sacrifical integrity or spirituality infused goal for the "true" Islamic warrior. His "jihad" (struggle) was first and foremost an internal one. He conquered himself, first, and in consequence embodied the virtues of outwardly nobility and valor.

A guide to this lofty ideal of chivalrous manhood was found in al-Andalus, centered in the cultured cities of Córdoba, etc. It was the renouned Moorish theologian Ibn Hazm, in his Ring of the Dove, who laid out -- more than anyone else -- the high calling and sacrifice of true chivalry.

Claude Lebedel declares: "Without contacts with the Arab culture, [Europe's] Renaissance could probably not have happened in the 15th and 16th century." In fact, the earliest glimmerings of science were largely within the Church itself, as Thomas E. Woods conclusively asserts. Another scholar of medieval Europe, Richard Fletcher, cites the scientific contributions of Robert Grosseteste and Roger Bacon, both Catholic men of the cloth, as forerunners of modern science. Fletcher adds, "Modern science begins in thirteenth-century Europe, based firmly on the plinth furnished by translations from Arabic and Greek. In this perspective the European scientific and industrial revloutions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries appear less as new beginnins than as the end of a long haul." [p 153 Moorish Spain]

Even the theology of the Church itself was profoundly affected by its medieval Semitic predecessors (including Hebraic-Moorish Spain). Commenting on al-Gazālī's influence, one biographer notes:

"The greatest of these Christian writers who was influenced by Al-Ghazali was St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274), who made a study of the Islamic writers and admitted his indebtedness to them. He studied at the University of Naples where the influence of Islamic literature and culture was predominant at the time." [Margaret Smith. al-Ghazali: The Mystic. London 1944]
Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, a sublime "theological" contribution in its own right, owes much to the rich influences of Arabic predecessors. Literary exegetes of our own times have traced roots of Dante's vision of heaven and hell back to the allegorical writings of Moors such as the Spanish mystic Ibn Arabi.

Incidentally, the Rosary adopted by the West (ie, Catholic Church and observance) originated OUTSIDE of Christianity, in fact St. Dominic borrowed the idea from Muslims own prayer beads. Known as subha ("to exalt"), Muslim prayer beads usually occur in sets of 99 counting beads and an elongated terminal bead. The counting beads are used to recite the 99 attributes of God, with the terminal bead reserved for reciting the name of Allah.

Reason is integral to faith
Scholasticism in the north owed much to the Aristotlean piety of Maimonides and the Averroists of Moorish Spain. Commenting on the impact of Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed, Abraham Joshua Heschel cites a 16th century thinker who said one "could not stop praising this work," which so rapidly attained an authoritative place in world literature, making Maimonides the teacher of Christian scholasticism. Alexander of Hales, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas took up his doctrines as bricks for their own systems. And as for Meister Eckhart, Rabbi Moses ben Maimon was an authority "second only to Augustine." Maimonides impact also reached Nicholas of Cusa, Leibniz, and Spinoza. [Heschel. Maimonides. p 209]

Maimonides influence was so profound that it reached far beyond his own community. Expelled from Spain by Torquemada's Inquisition, he lived throughout the Mediterranean. Even in Egypt it was Spain he considered home. While he mostly wrote in Arabic (Guide to the Perplexed, etc), his translations found kindred minds all over the known world. It is said of him, "Maimonides is the only medieval thinker to have a lasting effect on the theology of other religions, on Christians, Arabs, Karaites, and Jews. [Heschel. Maimonides. p 210]

The Victory of Reason: how Christianity led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Sciences
Another book published 2005 (as was Thomas Woods) covers much the same ground, yet with differences. (Rodney Stark's The Victory of Reason.) Stark breezes by the powerful influence of Islamic-Judaic culture on Europe's medieval rise. Praising the Catholic contribution, he properly credits scholasticism and the deep appreciation for Reason which the Christian schoolmen heralded. But it was predecessors like Maimonides and Averroës (and many others of their philosophical kin) who deserve credit for sharing their inspiration with the Christian scholars to the north. God uses our minds. Part of faith is reason. Part of our love of God is the thinking, reasoning part of us.

Gabriel Sivan makes the point that the Magna Carta, promulgated 35 years after Maimonides completed his Mishneh Torah, echoes many of the same precise themes -- concepts valuing the human rights of individuals against arbitrary coercive power. These concepts, enshrined in the Magna Carta, were reiterated and expanded through developing English history, as in 1688 -- then even more in American history with the American Bill of Rights.

Also during this period, Pope Sylvester II (Gerbert of Aurillac) made significant and even remarkable contributions, but died under mysterious conditions barely after his papacy began. Having studied under Moorish scientists, he is creditied with bringing Arabic (Hindu) numerals to Europe. As well as the Abacus, and various musical innovations. But as a Frenchman, he was viewed with suspicion in Rome. Rumors about his brilliance began to spread. Supposedly his mathematical genius came from Arabic or Jewish MAGIC, he had made a pact with the devil, which accounted for his amazingly rapid ascent (from nowhere) to the highest seat in Christendom. Mysteries of Gerbert

On the Value of Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew (1524)
Robert Wakefield's exploration into Shemitic treasures was a single example of the Christian discovery of the lore and philosophy of southern Spain in the years following the Inquisition that effectively pulled the curtain down on the glories of Andalucia. Names like Nicholas of Lyre, Pico della Mirandola, Johann Reuchlin, and Conrad Pellicanus deserve honors for early labors into the realms of biblical originalism (and even talmudic and kabbalistic learning) -- one might say -- centuries ahead of their time. (For Abraham Maimonides virtual conversion to Sufism, Arabic mysticism had a significant impact on Spanish Jews)

Christian Hebraism was essentially a natural European flowering and fruit of the Hispano-Judaic tree. Its immediate impact ran the gamut from esoteric pursuits like kabbalah and gematria to broader cultural zones as well. Its impact on Christian humanism and the Renaissance was truly immense. But without a doubt the most profound influence was upon Western religion. Just in English, consider. The seminal figure par excellence in the evolution of the English Bible was William Tyndale. Fleeing royal persecution, he determined to learn Hebrew with an eye on translation of the Jewish Bible into English. Like Jerome who gave Christians the Vulgate, Tyndale had to learn Hebrew -- and that meant seeking out Jews. See Fresh rediscovery of Shemitic mysticism

For Tyndale, in hiding from his pursuers, the town of Worms was attractive. Worms had a noted Jewish community, whose stone synagogue was the oldest in Europe [north of the Pyrenees]; their reputation for learning had been founded by the great Talmudic scholar Rabbi Schlomo. With the break up and expulsion of the sophisticated and erudite Jewish communities of Spain, Worms was for Tyndale a Mecca for the study of Hebrew. The result for us, indirectly, is our Bible, in English. [See God's Bestseller. Brian Moynahan. 77]

Each small step somehow opened to door to others, some slightly larger. The first rays of light prepared for a dawn of even greater light. As learning advanced, scholars grew in self-confidence and their boldness increased. Humanism appeared on the scene, as did the Renaissance, and soon would come the Reformation, too -- plus science and the modern world. The tragedy is the historic immolation perpetrated by supposed Christian monarchs of the mightiest realm in Europe (Spain-Portugal) against those vulnerable peoples who became their victims.

Ages of Faith fail to get the credit due

Yet in spite of the record of history, modern Enlightenment tends to view the ages of faith with scorn. Calling ourselves enlightened, we look on the past as an era of superstition, oppression, and tyranny. Professor Phillip Jenkins calls anti-Catholic sentiment the last acceptable prejudice. Ever since the intellectual revolution of the modern age, it has become vogue to call our own time the Age of Reason. And religion is the villain, the bête noir. Voltaire said of the Christian (Catholic) Church, Écrasez l'infâme.

Critics rightfully point to church censorship of scientists like the Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin. Père Teilhard managed to escape the strictures of his own Church only through secrecy and (in effect) stealth. Yet Père Teilhard is a giant in his field of biology and paleontology, and surely one of the great and creative intellects of science, a priest that deserves plaudits for his contributions.

Also unfortunate is the Church's ongoing (entrenched) stance against religious freedom and against Democracy generally. Of course some of the opposition has a theological base, the "curse" of being right. When you possess the truth (theological correctness), you are obliged to make war against any deviation from it -- ERROR. So when the Church attacks denominational pluralism, or excuses its inquisitions against the Jews, the Albigensians, the Hussites, etc -- it has a theological basis for demanding that we all "think alike."

"The church is right, and cannot err." Extra ecclesiam nulla salus (Outside the Church there is no salvation). Similarly, America was an object of loathing from its very inception. It was a republic (Democracy), heretical in itself. It was protestant, and made literacy available (and the Bible) to the lowest sorts of individuals. After gaining independence, it enacted Religious Freedom (for heresies no less).

It is no wonder that almost from day one, the Church has warned the faithful against America. Then with the Irish pouring into America, She threw up her hands as if, 'Ahh well, they deserve each other.' (Darwin himself as much as said the same thing, though he had no such theological ax to grind. He merely voiced his own genteel prejudice against the yankees, and against the Irish, both of whom he rather smugly disdained.)

The more Voltaire praised Pennsylvania, the more the Church cringed.

America has the somewhat dubious distinction of having earned the Church's ire against its "Americanist heresy." This was spelled out in the rather backward-looking First Vatican Council, or more precisely the Syllabus of Errors. Americanism being one of the ERRORS singled out. Pluralism may be a boon for modernity and democracy, but theologically speaking, pluralism is an error, and heretical -- as are modernity, secularism, freedom of religion, and democracy itself.

The Church has become painted almost like a big, bad Bully. Lots of rules, a phony kind of righteousness, and an enemy of anything pleasurable, or fun.

But if we consider the condition of our Barbarian ancestors, their illiteracy and level of under-development, it is not hard to understand the role of the Church (and kings, too) almost like the parents of a small child - if not juvenile delinquent.

The modern world would do well to remember the role which Christianity has played in the building, the rise of Western Civilization and Euro-American culture itself. Thomas E. Woods' book is a possible resource to consider. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. America has been called the world's first secular republic, but never forget that the founders, at least a hearty proportion of them, were sincere Christians (though mostly non-Catholic). But protestant though America was (and Deist, in the Founding generation) the roots of the New World go back, without any doubt whatever, into Old World and the Catholic soil of Europe's medieval (Catholic) history. Our roots were thoroughly Christian (and indirectly, those roots were, in Europe's history -- Catholic.)

Closing his book "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization," Woods quotes a powerful remark by Simone Weil (who fled the Nazi's and lived in wartime London). She wrote: 'I am not a Catholic; but I consider the Christian idea, which has its roots in Greek thought and in the course of the centuries has nourished all of our European civilization, as something that one cannot renounce without becoming degraded.'

Churchmen came upon Aristotle, classical lore,
Ibero-Islamic-Hebraic culture, math & science

Stanley Lane Poole writes:

The history of Spain offers us a melancholy contrast. For nearly eight centuries, under her Mohammedan rulers, Spain set to all Europe a shining example of a civilized and enlightened State. Her fertile provinces, rendered doubly prolific by the industry and engineering skill of her (Moorish) conquerors, bore fruit an hundredfold. Cities innumerable sprang up in the rich valleys of the Guadelquivir and the Guadiana, whose names, and names only, still commemorate the vanished glories of their past. Art, literature, and science prospered, as they then prospered nowhere else in Europe. Students flocked from France and Germany and England to drink from the fountain of learning which flowed only in the cities of the Moors. The surgeons and doctors of Andalusia were in the van of science : women were encouraged to devote themselves to serious study, and the lady doctor was not unknown among the people of Cordova. Mathematics, astronomy and botany, history, philosophy and jurisprudence were to be mastered in Spain, and Spain alone. The practical work of the field, the scientific methods of irrigation, the arts of fortification and shipbuilding, the highest and most elaborate products of the loom, the graver and the hammer, the potter's wheel and the mason's trowel, were brought to perfection by the Spanish Moors. The Cid himself, the national hero, long fought on the Moorish side, and in all save education was more than half a Moor. Whatsoever makes a kingdom great and prosperous, whatsoever tends to refinement and civilization, was found in Moslem Spain.

In 1492 the last bulwark of the Moors gave way before the crusade of Ferdinand and Isabelle, and with Granada fell all of Spain's greatness. . . . . There followed the abomination of desolation, the rule of the Inquisition, and the blackness of darkness in which Spain has been plunged ever since. . . . So low fell Spain when she had driven away the Moors.

The Moors of Spain. 1897

Old Spain's Convivencia
Richard Fletcher writes:

The most fortunate beneficiaries of this coexistence were neither Christian nor Muslim Spaniards but the uncouth barbarians beyond the Pyrenees. The creative role of Islamic Spain in the shaping of European intellectual culture is still not widely enough appreciated. Apart from anything else, it is a most remarkable story. The scientific and philosophical learning of Greek and Persian antiquity was inherited by the Arabs in the Middle East. Translated, codified, elaborated by Arabic scholars, the corpus was diffused throughout the culturally unified world of classical Islam in the ninth and tenth centuries until it reached the limits of the known world in the west. And there, in Spain, it was discovered by the scholars of the Christian west, translated into Latin mainly between 1150 and 1250, and channelled off to irrigate the dry pastures of European intellectual life. The rediscovery of Aristotle's works by this route decisively changed the European mind. Navigational devices such as the astrolabe made possible the voyages of discovery to east and west, Newton's work would have been inconceivable without the knowledge of mathematics transmitted through Spain. The advances in medical science of the seventeenth century were grounded upon Arabic observation and practice. Europe's lead in resourcefulness and creativity, the vital factor in the history of the world for the six centuries preceding our own, was founded in large part on intelligent grasping at opportunities offered by the civilisation of Islam; and that proffer came through Spain.

Europe's Courtly Love
Hints of Arabic Influence on Courtly Love

Henri Bergson believed that chivalry and courtly love were rooted in the love self-sacrificial love ethic of Jesus. Indeed, the ultimate Christly connection is hard to deny. But what were the immediate sources?

Long hidden from view, the answer may well lie in the major contact between civilizations that took place with the first medieval exposures to the Arabic (and Persian) worlds. Not only Marco Polo, then the "Crusades" -- but also the long and continuous coexistence in areas like Spain, and Sicily. We quote:

Probably influenced by Arabic love poetry, the troubadours of southern France were followed by northern French trouvè:res, by German Minnesänger, and by Danté, Petrarca, and other Italian poets (dolce stil nuovo) in converting sexual desire from a degrading necessity of physical life into a spiritually ennobling emotion, almost a religious vocation." (Oxford Literary Dictionary: See wiki)

"There were several elements of courtly love which were developed in Arabic literature, namely the notions of "love for love's sake" and "exaltation of the beloved lady" which have been traced back to Arabic literature of the 9th and 10th centuries. The notion of the "ennobling power" of love was developed in the early 11th century by the Persian psychologist and philosopher, Ibn Sina (known as "Avicenna" in Europe), in his Arabic treatise Risala fi'l-Ishq (Treatise on Love). The final element of courtly love, the concept of "love as desire never to be fulfilled", was also at times implicit in Arabic poetry" (Ibid See wiki)

Specifically, we are told, "The love traditions of Jamil and Umar made their way into the French Provençal courtly love whereby the Arabic word TaRiBa (to sing) became TRoBar and TRouBadour. The great Arabic literature of the genius Abu Mohammad Ibn Hazm of Cordoba (994-1064), especially his chivalric love. deeply influenced Andreas Capellanus (art of courtly love)." (Source: Abdullah Mohammad Sindi)

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Robert Shepherd
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Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover
of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.

Thomas Aquinas

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