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Mont Saint-Michel or Toledo: Greek or Arabic Sources for Medieval European Culture?

October 23, 2008

Sylvain Gouguenheim has recently caused a controversy in claiming that European culture owes nothing to Arabic culture, but that the successive renewals of learning of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance were entirely of Greek inspiration (Aristote au Mont Saint-Michel: Les racines grecques de l'Europe chrétienne). This lecture weighs the relative importance of translations made from Greek and those made from Arabic in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, in an attempt to achieve a balanced view of what European culture owed to its ancient forerunners and to then contemporary Byzantine and Islamic civilizations.