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Andalus and SefaradOn Philosophy and Its History in Islamic Spain$
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Sarah Stroumsa

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691176437

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691176437.001.0001

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(p.27) Chapter 1 Beginnings
Andalus and Sefarad

Sarah Stroumsa

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the earliest manifestations of systematic philosophy in al-Andalus, as well as their religious and political context. The second half of the tenth century was a watershed in Andalusian intellectual history. The story of this turning point is twofold. The first part relates to the introduction of sciences to al-Andalus, while the second relates to the censorship of philosophical and scientific books. The censorship of books was accompanied by the persecution of their readers, which drastically limited, and sometimes paralyzed, the Muslim practice of philosophy as it was prevalent at the time: Neoplatonic as well as mystical philosophy. Yet these restrictions were applicable to Muslims alone. Jewish thinkers, inspired by the same suspect sources, continued to develop the same sort of forbidden philosophy. Consequently, it is these Jewish thinkers who are prominent in the history of philosophy in al-Andalus in the eleventh century; and it is also they who served as custodians of the forbidden lore until better times. The chapter also studies Ibn Masarra, who is commonly considered to have been the first independent Andalusī Muslim thinker of local extraction.

Keywords:   al-Andalus, Andalusian intellectual history, censorship, Muslim philosophy, Neoplatonic philosophy, mystical philosophy, Jewish thinkers, Ibn Masarra, Muslim thinkers, philosophical books

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