What are the Effects of Translation Activities on Renaissance Philosophy?June 28, 2021
The combination of Christianity and Greek thought, which formed the Western Scholastic thought, was deeply influenced by Islamic thought not only formally but also substantively.
Church theology of the Patristic Period is Platonic in nature and St. Augustine’s ideas dominated until the 12th century. When the Arabic versions of Greek texts and the original works and interpretations of Islamic thinkers reached the West, the knowledge of the Greek world of thought led to a great enrichment and the interest towards Plato shifted towards Aristotle. However, there were differences between the Aristotelian texts and there were constant blurs in the Arabic translations. Nevertheless, the Arabic sources have not lost their value, as they have remained faithful to the original Greek texts, and the Arabic literature, which was so extensive and valuable, formed the basis for the studies and development of the West in the 13th century.
On this basis, firstly, monastic education was passed to universities, then Aristotle was discovered, and finally, the productive work of Dominican and Franciscan monks emerged. Paris and Oxford universities specialize in theology and philosophy, while Italy; He focused on medicine and law. In the 13th century, almost all Islamic resources were acquired through Spain and North Africa. As a result, a combination of works of the Patristic Period, the first translations of Boethius by Plato and Aristotle, and Arabic works was created.
Translations from Ancient Greek, Egyptian and Indian philosophies into Arabic have a great influence on the conceptualization and systematic structure of Islamic philosophy.
The translated works have been scrutinized and interpreted with discussions in the Islamic geography and original ideas have been created. This situation made places such as Baghdad and Tunisia the centers of science and philosophy; There have been developments in fields such as astronomy, medicine and philosophy.
The spread of the Umayyad and Abbasid administrations to a wide geography with the idea of spreading the religion of Islam led to the development of science and philosophy in these geographies. In this development process seen from the 12th century, the West; First of all, Islamic sciences started to translate Ancient Greek, Indian and Egyptian works from Arabic into their own languages. The first translation centers of the West; Toledo in Spain, Sicily and Salerno in Italy. The reason why translation centers started here is that Islamic culture has existed for a long time, especially in Toledo and Sicily. A group of translators, including Muslims, Jews and Christians; He translated works in fields such as medicine, astronomy, chemistry, philosophy and logic. In this period, Aristotle’s “Metaphysics”, Avicenna’s “el- Kanun fi’t Medicine” and Sahl b. Scientific and philosophical works such as Bishr’s “Astronomy Treatise” have been translated. In addition, the Quran has been translated.
16-17 of the translation movement intensively. It seems to have continued until the end of the century. Before encountering Islamic philosophy and translation books, the West took only the ideas of Ancient Greek philosophy that supported the sacred teachings and excluded the others. The interaction of the two cultures enabled almost all of Ancient Greek philosophy to be learned by the West, and thus became one of the reasons for the emergence of the Renaissance.
When we look at the historical course of the 12th century translation movement, some important events are as follows.
• In the 12th century, African Constantine translated the medical works he brought from Tunisia into Latin in Salerno.
• Roman Emperor II in the 13th century. Frederick established a university in Salerno in 1224 to learn Islamic sciences closely and appointed translators there. This university was the source for the spread of translation activities to Europe.
• In the 13th century, the translation movement spread to Germany and France, and in the 14th century it influenced the whole of Europe.
• The knowledge gained through translations underwent a successful transformation and laid the groundwork for the Renaissance that would begin in Italy in the 15th century.
• The works of astronomy and mathematics scholars from the 15th to the 17th centuries translated into Latin and their solutions to the problems they dealt with; It has been among the debates of scientists such as Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and Leonardo D. Vinci who lived in these centuries.
• The works translated from Greek to Persian were transferred to Anatolia and Byzantium via Tabriz and Trabzon. Discussions and problems that passed to the Ottoman Empire after the conquest of Istanbul in the 15th century were evaluated in the context of synthesis. In addition, the famous mathematician and astronomer Nasreddin-i Tusî’s work on trigonometry, whose problems were solved by Islamic scholars, was translated for the first time in the Ottoman Period.
• It is seen that the problems discussed in Islamic philosophy affect Western philosophers on philosophical issues such as belief, existence and knowledge through translations.
• The books, inventions, maps and tools found in the translation were used and developed by European scientists. This situation is the science bush in Europe.