Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Martin Luther

What’s with ancient Athens? (Feb. 10, 2010)

            There is this Western civilization tendency of focusing mainly on ancient city-state Athens as the roots of its knowledge (with extension to all kind of knowledge and everywhere!).  The European and northern America civilizations insist that the “Greek miracle” between the 6th and 5th century BC was the cornerstone for dissemination of knowledge and the improvement of human cultures.  Worse, this tendency would like you to believe that enlightenment of city-state of Athens is a unique experience that was never witnessed before, later and in nowhere else at any periods of history!

            Based on that comforting assumption, most scholars gave up attempting to explain this phenomenon and just applied to describing this status as fact.  First, we can explain it pretty rationally. The City-Sates of Byblos, Sidon, Tyr, and countless other eastern Mediterranean cities preceded Athens in enjoying their Golden Ages at least one thousand years before Athens was built. Competition among the City-states for dominance in trade, industry, and schools of learning, and mastery of the seas was the main factor for the changes in their political-economic structures that shifted from monarchy, oligarchy, or democratic systems within the City-State limits. The constitutions were valid for the City-State residents.

            It happened that before Athens’ Golden Age the Phoenician city-states were subjugated by one of the Persian kingdoms.  Scholars and traders immigrated to Athens and transmitted their know-how in trade, learning, forms of governments, and schools of thoughts to the Athenians.  The pre-Socratic philosophers and the sophist teachers were the founders of rhetoric and sciences among the aristocratic Athenian classes who were required to be eloquent and learned in order to vying for political positions.

            This is the same process that occurred to many other Golden Age cities and nations.  For example, Venice and Genoa captured the scholars and artisans fleeing or emigrating from Constantinople after the sack by the second European crusaders.  It is what happened to Germany when the French armies sacked Rome and scholars bolstered the Reformist movement of Martin Luther and disseminated the Bible in the German language and encouraged printing.  It is the same when the French aristocracy fled France to London during the French Revolution and carried with them their knowledge and money and started a new era for the coming industrial revolution.

Europe’s “Renaissance” is Islamic; (October 19, 2009)

This post will demonstrate that Europe’s “renaissance” in the scientific disciplines and scientific research methods could not have been launched without the import of Islamic scientific manuscripts and knowledge in the sciences and mathematics.

In a previous post I demonstrated that the Catholic Church of Rome was the most obscurantist religion from 400 AC (when it exercised central power to Europe) till late 16th century: no scientific manuscripts or “heretic” opinions were permitted to reach her sphere of spiritual and temporary influence. During all that period, Europe’s borders were practically opened to all kinds of trades except in two instances after the Crusaders were kicked out from the Orient about 1200 and when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire in around 1450.

Europe didn’t dare challenge the Papal restrictions to knowledge until Martin Luther weakened the central religious power.  This qualitative shift was long due for a modern paradigm.  Islam never adopted any centralized religious power and thus managed to acquire knowledge “even from China” as the Prophet Muhammad admonished the Moslems.

In the same vein, Orthodox Christian Church of Byzantium was the obscurantist central religious power in Constantinople that wasted four centuries on the Near East region to produce any worthwhile scientific advancement. This region had to wait for Islamic Empires to conquer most of the Near East from the Byzantium Empire for sciences to get a new lease on life.

Islam civilization had fundamentally the zest to acquiring scientific knowledge, while feeling confident that the One and only God is a rational creator.  Without the breakout from Papal influence, Europe would have never greedily acquired Islamic scientific manuscripts and then translate them into Greek, Latin, and German and thus move on to experience renaissance.

After the 17th century, Papal Rome hurried to catch up with the trend and exhibited the will to show off that the Catholic Church is the main conservator of sciences and its promoter.

As a brief post, it will refrain from being exhaustive. The medical field was highly developed. Al Razi treaties were translated as early as the 13th century by Gerard de Cremone.  Ibn Sina (Avicenna), an acclaimed physician and eminent philosopher wrote many books on medicine and in pharmacopeia; his main translated medical manuscript was the basic source in Europe as late as the 18th century.

The renowned mathematician Al Khwarismi (820 AC) wrote “The beginning of algebra” (Kitab al Jabr); he developed what is known as algorithm; in his honor Europe gave this field of math his name (Algorithm).  Ibn Yahya al Maghrebi wrote “The brilliance in algebra” (al baahir fil Jaber). Actually, current mathematicians have discovered that an ancient Islamic mathematician solved Fermat theorem that was stated in 1620 and which took centuries to be demonstrated lately in Europe.

The Element of Euclid in geometry was translated by Al Hajjaj in the 9th century and commented extensively by Al Tusi.  Al Biruni founded the geodesic and mineralogy disciplines.  Around 770 Caliphate Al Mansur hired Indian astronomers.  Caliphate Al Maamun built the first observatory on mount Qassioun by Damascus around 830 and astronomy received a new impetus: Al Fazari and Yaaqub ibn Yarid adapt the Indian astronomy table Zij al Sindhind; the Almageste of Ptolemy is translated and Al Farghani wrote a compendium on the sciences of stars; Thabit ibn Qurra works on the Book of Solar Year; and Al Batani wrote the Sabean Tables.

The mathematician and astronomer Ibn Al Haytham (Alhacen) in the 11th century developed strong doubts on Ptolemy cosmology model and offered several updated models; he presented the concept that it is not productive to do astronomy and physics before acquiring firm knowledge in mathematics. Al Haytham offered a mathematical model for astronomy instead of the cosmology alternative of drawing schemas of the world with concentric circles and other schematic models.

Kepler (see note 1) adopted Al Haytham line of investigation in studying astronomy.  As a matter of fact, European educational systems of sciences focus mostly on mathematics as primary disciple before venturing into studying sciences.

The newly radical Islamist Mogul invaded Damascus and were defeated by the Mamluk’s Empires of Egypt.  The Mogul Hulago built the famous observatory of Maragha (Nizamiyya) in Mosul (Iraq). This observatory was the center of astronomy for thirty continuous years and graduated famous scientists.

The center was directed by the eminent mathematician and jurist the Persian Kamal al Din Ibn Yunus. Among the astronomers were Al Urdi, Al Tusi, Al Shirazi, Zij Ilkhani, and Ibn al Shatir.  Al Tusi proposed different cosmological models with non-concentric circles. Ibn Al Shatir synthesized the models for the Universe perfectly geocentric and completely different of Ptolemy’s. Copernicus adopted integrally Al Shatir’s cosmology; he even replaced the exact Arabic alphabet with the Latin counterparts; Copernicus didn’t need a translated version since the schema was self-evident.

Islamic Andalusia (Spain) (from 800 to 1,400) took the rationality relay as the central power in Baghdad weakened around 1050 by the arrival of newly radical converted princes from the central Asia provinces and the Caucasus.  Ibn Baja, Ibn Tofail, Ibn Rushd were the prominent thinkers whose works were quickly disseminated in Spain and Padua (Italy).

Europe’s “Renaissance” was becoming receptive to knowledge after 11 centuries of the Dark Age that was imposed upon it by the Catholic Church of Rome. Albert the Great, Dietrich of Freiberg, and Master Eckhart were avid readers of Islamic scientific manuscripts of Avicenna, Maimonides, and Averroes (Ibn Rushd).  The Prussian Emperor Frederic the Great was educated in Sicily and received his knowledge directly from Islamic sources.

Note 1:

Note 2: I stated historical facts; it is by no means a completely coherent model for the genesis of European civilization; it would be advisable to refrain from extrapolations at this stage.

Islam: the two messages of Jesus and Mohammad (February 3, 2009)

A challenge to all theologians: Islam is one of the Christian sects.



            Islam means submission (to God, the one and only).  This is a challenge to all theologians, religious researchers, and philosophers of all religious denominations (monolithic or not).  My hypothesis is:  The religious message of the Prophet Muhammad, during the first 13 years of proselytizing in Mecca, is identical to one of the Christian sects.  Let me suggest the following procedure or protocol:


 First, select all the religious Christian sects from the first to the Nicee council in 425; then select the remaining Christian sects after Nicee to the split between Rome and Byzantium around the year 1000, then the Christian sects that were formed between 1000 to the Martin Luther schism, then all the modern Christian sects from Protestantism, Calvinism, Baptism, Methodism, Episcopalian, Armenians (Catholic and Orthodox), and all the sects in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.


Second, develop taxonomy of attributes in order to categorize all these Christian sects.


Third, allocate all the sects to one of six categories or more if need be.


Fourth, select the verses in Islam that correspond to the period before the flight of the Prophet Muhammad to Medina or Yathreb


Five, assign each verse in that period to the taxonomy of step two.


Six, allocate the message of the prophet Muhammad in one of the categories chosen in step three.


The foundation to my hypothesis stems from reading a manuscript titled “Islam in its two messages: Christ and Muhammad” The author of the book is late Antoun Saadeh, a Lebanese of Christian Geek Orthodox denomination; the book was written in 1942 and Saadeh proves that Islam is almost identical to the message of Christ when we analyze the verses of the Koran pronounced during Muhammad proselytizing of his message before the legislation period for the new community in Medina. 


Since Christianity is an amalgam of many sects that split into schisms in the last two thousand years, then I figured that, from a scientific perspective, it would be more appropriate to differentiate Christianity according to sects.  It would also be fitting to study Islam by analyzing the various Moslem sects; though the variations would be based more on the legislations and Hadith than the fundamental spiritual content during the first 13 years of the message.




April 2020

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