By Richard E. Rubenstein
Richard Rubenstein recounts with strength and energy this marvelous tale of the highbrow ferment that planted the seeds of the medical age in Europe and displays our personal struggles with religion and reason.
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Additional resources for Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Dark Ages
21 King Amyntas also had a son: Philip of Macedon, the future conqueror and "protector" of most of the Greek city-states, who was a year or two older than Aristotle. According to one story, the boys were childhood playmates and best friends. Perhaps they were, since, years later, the Philosopher was happy to return to Pella to advise King Philip and, it is said, to tutor the teenaged Alexander. Another apocryphal tale suggests that, while serving the Macedonian king, Nicomachus taught Aristotle the rudiments of medicine and initiated him into the cult of Asclepius.
All these authors' writings could be found in the libraries of Toledo, Lisbon, Segovia, and Cordoba ... and so could their original sources. There, to their amazement, Spain's new masters found Arabic translations of books that Europeans had long talked about but never read—legendary works like Ptolemy's Almagest, the lost key to astronomy and astrology. In one library, Muslim physicians could be seen consulting Galen's On the Art of Healing and On Anatomical Procedures, the first scientific medical textbooks.
One key figure was an archdeacon of the cathedral named Domingo Gundisalvo, a talented linguist with philosophical interests of his own. 5 He had a close friend and colleague called Juan Avendeuth, a Jewish scholar who was an authority on Arabic language and literature. 6) When Raymund asked Gundisalvo to join him in establishing a workshop in Toledo to translate Arabic manuscripts into Latin, the archdeacon brought his Jewish colleague in on the project. There the two men developed a unique method of collaboration.