The Myth of the Muslim Golden Age [1]


Part onepart twopart threepart four

Adversarial v investigative

The first thing any society has to get right is its formal method of getting at the truth.  In this nation, too many consider the adversarial common law system the be all and end all but I’d suggest that’s only by comparison to Shariah or a Star Chamber.

The adversarial system of prosecution and defence wastes resources in double investigation because one side is only going to present its own side, not get at the truth. And it produces situations like the West Midlands police of yesteryear.  There can also be more than enough evidence to convict but technicalities, legal interpretations and expensive lawyers mean known killers get off and innocents [discovered later] get convicted.

Our system is based on rhetoric and ideology, not justice.

This blogger strongly supports the investigative model which approaches a large table with all the evidence placed on it from whatever sources, good or bad, sound or unsound, able to be fitted into a storyframe or not, it all sits there on the table and is gone through.

And as in the planning departments of councils, the eventual conclusions are then publicly available for a time, along with the investigative professionals’ comments.

After the two or three layers of process are gone through, the judiciary plus lay jurors make a joint decision.

Appeal then still exists based on any new evidence.  Sentencing should be along statutory lines per offence, irrespective of male or female, indigenous or ethnic.

Was there a “Muslim” Golden Age or not?

Sadly, this falls along the same lines as the climate scam. There is one view taught in schools and one only, the literature for the other is suppressed.  Trolls go around online, mopping up the still extant doubts by mocking any who hold them.  This whole coercion comes back to:

We believe a scientist because he can substantiate his remarks, not because he is eloquent and forcible in his enunciation.  In fact, we distrust him when he seems to be influencing us by his manner. – I.A. Richards, Science and Poetry, 1926

Not just his manner but deploying the forces at his disposal to shut you up. Plus there’s another problem – this is a blog, not a thousand page tome, which is needed to answer in detail.

Behind the Veil was writing of the climate scam here but it applies to the Muslim Golden age too:

I cannot name the year I became suspicious, but that I have certainly become. The key has become the politicisation of it all especially the efforts to airbrush the counter argument out of it all.

If it were so self evident, it would be simple to demolish and the climate scientists would be confident in their knowledge to debate it out of the room but for some reason, they don’t seem to be and their argument is to call for the suppression of such discussion.

I wish I could find it but I once read an article in which someone described the PR origins of the much used phrase “the science is settled” which is in such prevalent use.

The issue for me is that we really can no longer have an honest debate on the issue. If the argument is in fact true it has been too heavily compromised, especially by its proponents who have been repeatedly caught at the lies, the scheming and the manipulation.

So let’s proceed here, aware that this is putting the minority view, the minority report so to speak and also aware it places the author on the throat-slitting Index.

The accepted establishment orthodoxy

In ‘Christianity and Islam,’ a chapter of The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, Jeremy Johns … notes that each faith ‘focuses upon an issue which the other regards as peripheral,’ Islamic military aggression and Christian ingratitude being morally equivalent.1

In ‘Islam and Christendom,’ a similar chapter in The Oxford History of Islam, Jane Smith identifies the greatest of the Arab contributions to Western culture that Johns says we fail to respect at our peril:

It has long been recognized that one of the most significant and lasting contributions of the medieval Muslim world to Christendom was to provide access for western scholars to the great classics of Greece and Rome by their translation into Arabic, from which they were rendered into European languages. Most of the works of Plato and Aristotle were known to Arab Muslims.

And here we have the first example of PC bollox – the Oxbridge academic establishment hegemony. Smith leaves something unexplained or makes demonstrably false assertions. Johns also the latter. They might have done it innocently but that still does not excuse them, particularly when those errors are straight down ideological lines.

Article author Carson 1 tackles the twisting of the truth:

‘Most of the works of Plato’ means The Republic.

‘Most of the works of…Aristotle’ includes works that Aristotle did not write and that do not reflect his philosophy.

A ‘lasting’ contribution means access to a translation from Arabic into Latin until a translation directly from the Greek is available or even means access to a translation from Arabic into Latin after a translation directly from the Greek is already available.

The passive ‘were rendered’ means ‘were rendered by Christians and Jews, not Muslims.’ 

Access ‘for western scholars to the great classics of Greece and Rome by their translation into Arabic, from which they were rendered into European languages’ almost always means access to a Latin translation of an Arabic translation of a Syriac translation of a Greek text. Sometimes it means access to a Latin translation of an Arabic translation of a Hebrew translation of a Greek text. It can even mean access to a Latin translation of a Hebrew translation of an Arabic translation of a Syriac translation of a Greek text. Only on rare occasions does it mean access to a Latin translation of an Arabic translation of a Greek text.

A contribution ‘of the medieval Muslim world to Christendom’ means the translation into Latin by a Christian or a Jew of an Arabic translation by a Christian or a Jew of a Syriac translation by a Christian or a Jew of a Greek text obtained by ‘the medieval Muslim world’ when it conquered the parts of ‘Christendom’ that contained the libraries and monasteries in which it was kept. It means, in other words, a third, fourth, or fifth—hand version of a stolen Greek text.

Smith’s reference to the great classics of Rome is especially bizarre. She gives no examples, which is perhaps just as well, since they would be Latin translations of Arabic translations of Syriac translations of Greek translations of Latin texts.

At this rate, Oxford will be telling us in a few years of French translations of Latin translations of Arabic translations of Syriac translations of Greek translations of Latin translations of French texts. The French translation will have nuit where the French text has jour.

This could go on for a few hundred pages but the point is – these sinecured academics have blithely accepted the handed down orthodoxy, just as egregiously as any Christian in the age of Christendom accepted the “sky fairy myth” and which people like Johns and Smith are the first to rail against.

According to Franz Rosenthal in The Classical Heritage in Islam, ‘the only Latin text whose Arabic translation is preserved is’ by Orosius.  

Rosenthal … gives the following list of ancient Greek writers some part of whose works were rescued by translation into Arabic:

‘Theophrastus, (Pseudo—?) Euclid, Hero of Alexandria, Pappus of Alexandria, Rufus of Ephesus, Dorotheus of Sidon, Galen, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Nicolaus of Damascus, Porphyry and Proclus.’

Where dhimmi history would have led us to expect the name of Plato, we see Pappus of Alexandria or Rufus of Ephesus, and instead of Aristotle we see Dorotheus of Sidon or Nicolaus of Damascus.

According to Charles Burnett in ‘Arabic into Latin,’ a chapter of The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, ‘The Republic of Plato, though translated into Arabic, was not subsequently translated into Latin.’

Thus, the only work of Plato translated into Arabic did not make its way back to the West.

Though there is, according to Bernard Dod in The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy, ‘a tenacious legend that the West learnt its Aristotle via translations from the Arabic,’ Islam did not rescue Aristotle either.

In A History of Philosophy, Frederick Copleston says that ‘it is a mistake to imagine that the Latin scholastics were entirely dependent upon translations from Arabic or even that translation from the Arabic always preceded translation from the Greek.’ Indeed, ‘translation from the Greek generally preceded translation from the Arabic.’ This view is confirmed by Peter Dronke in A History of Twelfth—Century Western Philosophy:

‘Most of the works of Aristotle…were translated directly from the Greek, and only exceptionally by way of an Arabic intermediary.’

So the great rescue of Greek philosophy by translation into Arabic turns out to mean no rescue of Plato and the transmission of Latin translations of Arabic translations of Greek texts of Aristotle, either directly or more often via Syriac or Hebrew, to a Christendom that already had the Greek texts and had already translated most of them into Latin, with almost all of the work of translation having been done by Christians and Jews and none of it by Muslims.

What makes this all the more unacceptable from academics is that they, above all people, should have checked their sources, should have been assiduous in getting their micro-facts right. That they have not done so means either scholastic shoddiness … or else an agenda.

This continues in part two tomorrow.


– Jonathan David Carson

– Ralph Ellis

– John J O’Neill

– Emmet Scott

– Richard Butrick

– Ali Hassan, translated by Ibn Kammuna, reviewed and Edited by Jon MC

– Atheist Universe [nom-de-plume only given]

Part onepart twopart threepart four

4 comments for “The Myth of the Muslim Golden Age [1]

  1. Lord T
    January 6, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Well there is a golden age. It started a long long time ago and they are still living in it. The rest of the world moved on and they blissfully kept going thinking they were the centre of the universe. Then along came our useless politicians and opened up a hole for them to expand more and they see that age getting brighten. Hopefully that brightness will be the flash a nuke makes as mecca and medina get vaporised.

  2. Hereward Unbowed.
    January 6, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Arabic translations of Greek texts?

    The argument is so simplistic as to be utter tosh.

    Do give me a break, this is Islamic inspired wanton propaganda, here it is worth noting to observe how much money the Qataris and Emirates those Wahhabist Saudi proxies: pump into faculties on British University campuses. The new order, is fast erasing out of existence the truth and in its place the liars can point out the new airbrushed history and of ‘the golden age’. That vacant sap Boris has fallen for it.

    The C7th raiding barbarians out of Medina, ~ 642 AD……..they set fire to the great library of Alexandria why would they bother translating ancient Greek texts?

    Since only a matter of a few years ago, it is interesting to note that, if one ‘googles’ the burning of the great library, slowly but surely the number of items telling the truth about this ancient vandalism are being reduced and or, revised/rewritten removed.

    The classical tradition is derived from ancient Greece and latterly Rome, actually directly through the Byzantines who were imbued with the Greek tradition and the Romans cribbed off the Greeks. It would be truer to say, that, in fact the Greek cultural centres moved from Greece to Rome, therefore with Arab ‘culture’ coming so late to the party what need was there of using (if there were any) translations from Arabic of the Greek ancient writings – it would have meant so much more, very unnecessary work.

  3. January 6, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Lord T – understandable attitude.

    Hereward – Alexandria is mentioned in one of the other parts.

  4. January 7, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    The books by Emmet Scott and John O’Neil debunk the Islamic Golden Age meme. All the Muslims ever did for civilization was wreck it! They’re still doing so.

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