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ARABICI


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ARABISSnS


part of their psychologj-. There is, they taught, but one active intellect, and that is common to all men. It resides in the sphere of the moon, but, being brought, in some way, into contact with the indi- vidual soul (which thereby "participates" in it), it generates there the universal, abstract, immaterial, idea. It was principally against this doctrine of the unity and separation of the active intellect that the .Scliolastics directed their attacks on the Arabians. The Scholastics objected to the doctrine on two accounts. Tiiey denied that it was a tenable doctrine in psychology, and they denied that it was a faithful interpretation of .\ristotle. This is the main conten- tion of Albert the Great and St. Thomas, both of whom wrote special treatises on the unity of the intellect, and on one point at least the most unsym- pathetic critic of Scholasticism agrees with them, namely, when they argue that monopsychism is not in keeping with the general tone and spirit of Aris- totelean philosophy.

Another aspect of monopsychism to which the Scholastics did not fail to call attention was its bearing on the question of immortality. The passive intellect, the Arabians taught, is material, and per- ishes with the body. The active intellect, although it is immaterial and, therefore, imperishable, is not part of the individual soul. There is nothing, there- fore, in man that has the power of resisting death; and to say that man is immortal because the im- personal, universal, intellect is immortal has no more meaning than if one were to say that man is im- mortal because the laws of nature are immortal. This conclusion is frankly admitted by Averroes, who teaches that according to pliilosophy the human soul is mortal, although according to theology it is immortal. This admission of the principle of two- fold truth (namely, that what is false in philosophy may be true in theology, and vice versa) shows more clearly than anytliing else the inherent irrecon- cilability of Arabian pliilosophy and Scholasticism. The Scholastic movement from beginning to end, whatever may be its deviations and aberrations on other points, held steadfastly to the principle that, since God is the .Author of all truth, the truth of reason and the truth of revelation (that is, philosophy and theology) cannot come to any real conflict. The beginning of the decline of Scholasticism dates from the introduction (from Arabian sources) into the Schools of the principle of twofold truth. In the acquisition of knowledge, the Arabians taught, there is a contact (copulatio, continualio) of the im- personal active intellect with the individual passive intellect. The contact, indeed, is only momentary. The passive intellect, however, has a longing for the active intellect, desires it, as matter desires form. Hence the tendency on the part of the individual soul towards a more permanent union with the great Impersonal Intellect, a union that is to be attained by tlie practice of asceticism and the exercise of the contemplative powers of the mind. In this union man becomes a saint and a seer, a being divine rather than human; in this state of ecstasy all that is ba.se and petty becomes transformed into the sublime and noble, until at last man can exclaim, "I am God". Here again one sees how closely the Arabian reproduces the neo-Platonie doctrine of purification and ecstasy. It is only fair, however, to add that some of the more faithful Aristoteleans among the .\rabians, such as Averroes, were content to put scientific knowledge in the place of ecstatic contemplation, and thus succeeded in avbiiling the contradictions implied in the mysticism of the Sufis.

The .\rabian pliilosophy, as is well known, exer- cised a profound influence on the Scholastic phil- osophy of the twelfth and succeeding centuries. It \a not «o well-known that, even when Schol.usticism wan at \iA height, when Albert and Thomas were


attracting attention by their brilliant exposition ol Aristot«lean philosophy, there was in the very heart of the Scholastic stronghold, the University of Paris, a group of philosophers who openly professed ad- herence to the doctrine of Averroes. Aiid this coun- ter current of Averroism is traceable in the progress of Scholastic philosophy down to the time of the Renaissance. Still, one must not overrate the debt which Scholasticism owes to "Arabism", as it was called. The .\rabians contributed in a very large de- gree to making .\ristotle known in Christian Europe; however, in doing this, they were but transmitting what they themselves had received from Christian sources; and, moreover, the Aristotle who finally gained recognition in Christian Europe was not the Arabian Aristotle, but the Greek Aristotle, who came to Western Europe by way of Constantinople. The Arabians, in the second place, contributed to medie- val medicine, geography, astronomy, arithmetic, and chemistry, but failed to exert any direct influence in philosophy. They provoked discussion, their doctrines were the occasion of disputation and controversy, and thus, indirectly, they contributed to developing the philosophy of the Schools; but, beyond this they cannot be said to have contributed towards shaping the course of Scholastic thought. Indeed the whole spirit of Arabian philosophy — its tendency towards materialistic pantheism, its doc- trine of the unity of the intellect, its hesitation on the problem of individual immortality, and, above all, its doctrine of the twofold truth — must have revealed at every point of possible contact the utter impossibility of a reconciliation between Arabian and Scholastic Aristoteleanism. It is true the School- men, or some of them at least, drew largely from Avicebrol's "Pons Vitte"; but, though they did not suspect it, their teacher in that case was a Jew, not an Arabian. Indeed whatever influence came from the Mosque passed through the Synagogue before it reached the Church. When Arabian works were translated into Latin the translation was often made from the Hebrew translation of the Arabic text, and the Jew was often the only means of interchange of ideas between Moorish and Christian Spain. What- ever Scholasticism owes to the Arabians, it owes in equal, if not in greater measure, to the Jews.

MuNK, Melanges de philosophie juive et arabe . . . (Paris, 1859); DiETERlci, Die Philosophie der Araber (Berlin, Leip- zig, 1858); Archiv f. Gesch. der Phil., especially for 1889 and 1904; Ueberweq-Heinze, Gesch. der Phil.. II, (9th ed., Berlin, 1905), 234 sqq.; Turner, Hist, of Phil. (Bos- ton, 1903), 311 sqq.

William Turner.

Arabici, a small sect of the third century, whose founder is unknown, and which is commonly named from Arabia, where it flourished, but sometimes also Thanatopsychit;e, from the nature of the error. The soul was believed to perish with the body, though both soul and body would be revived again at the day of judgment. The Arabici were misled not, apparently, by any philosophical speculation about the nature of the soul, but by their biblical exegesis of I Tim., vi, Ifi, "Who only hath immortality." This passage, they held, ascribes undying life to God alone, and therefore predudcs its unbroken posses- sion by man. They failed to distinguish immortality as it is an essential attribute of Clod from the im- parted immortality which man has from Him. The error was short-lived, and the Arabici, after about forty years of estrangement, were reconciled to the Church, through the persuasive mediation of Origen, at a .niiTwil held in 250.

.Ni, 1 iiK, Ihyi. Ecd.. V. 25; EiisEBiua, Uial. Eccl, VI, 37; .St. Ar.iMiM , /)(• //ar., Ixx.xiii; Pr.ede.st., Ha-r., Ixxxiii; UuDUKiM, De Arabicorum Haresi (Jena, 1713).

P. P. Havey. Arabissus, a titular see of .\rmenia, suffragan of