THE decisions of Ephesus and theexcommunication of Nestorius and his adherents did not bring peace tothe Church. Before long new troubles arose. It is necessary to followthese at least in outline as they led to further schism in the EasternChurch, and it was the schismatic bodies which separated from theChurch which were the means of transmitting Greek learning to theArabs. When at length the Muslim Arabs invaded the Roman Empire, thesesectarian bodies welcomed them as deliverers and were on friendly termswith them. The position is not fairly viewed if we class Christians onone side, Muslims on the other, without further qualification. For somecenturies before the Arab invasions the Christians were split intohostile sects, active in spreading their propaganda against oneanother, in close contact with the Arabs, and so far as the twodissenting sects were concerned, both actively persecuted by theByzantine goverrunent and both in consequence disloyal to it. It isnecessary to appreciate this position to understand the relationbetween the Arabs and the Christians.
But al-Kindi's more accurate study of Aristotlehad not entirely disposed of the older inaccuratepseudo-Aristotelianism which had prevailed amongst the imperfectlyinformed Arabs of an earlier day. Probably in the opening years of thetenth century and in Baghdad there was gathered a group of men whocalled themselves the the Brotherhood ofPurity" or "the Sincere Brethren", but is more probably intended toexpress the term "philosophers", at a time when the recent accession topower of the Buwayhid dictators produced a temporary experience oftoleration and free thought. Somewhere about A.D. 98o this groupproduced a body of epistles or essays which aimed at being a completeencyclopedia of philosophy and science. These essays are 52 in numberthe first fourteen deal with mathematics and logic, 15-31 with naturalscience, 32-41 with metaphysics, the remainder with mystic theology,astrology, and magic. Epistle 45 describes the organization and guidingprinciples of the brotherhood. Very commonly the Imam Ahmad is given asthe author of this work, but Shahruzi names five contributors, AbuHasan 'Ali b. Harun az-Zinjani, Abu Ahmad an-Nahajuri (or Mihrajani),Abu Sulaiman Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Busti (or al-Muqaddisi), al-'Awfi,and Zayd ibn Rifa'a. These letters were produced in or near Basra orBaghdad. The contents show a kind of obscure and crude type ofAristotelianism, such the earlier period of the revival of Greek as wascurrent in curate standard,science, before al-Kindi had set a more acbut references are made to older philosophies, to Hermes, Pythagoras,Socrates, and Plato, all confused and vague. Aristotle appears chieflyas a logician: the "Theology of Aristotle" and the "Book of the Apple"are accepted as genuine Aristotelian works. No reference is made toal-Kindi or his work, but Abu Ma'shar and other eighth or ninth centurywriters arc quoted. There is no trace of the influence of al-Kindi. Thedoctrine contained in these letters is eclectic, the world is describedas an emanation from God, the human soul as of celestial origin andstriving to return to God and to be absorbed in Him, a consummation tobe attained by wisdom, the of Gnostic and neo-Platonicwriters. The Qur'anis interpreted allegorically, and reference is madeto the Christian and Jewish scriptures, which are treated in a similarway. This teaching shows distinctly Shi'ite, probably Isma'ilian,tendencies, but the language in which it is expressed is involved andobscure, perhaps intentionally so with the intention of veilingspiritual teaching from the profane. The Batini or allegorical movementhad its roots in older nonMuslim thought, and presumably had survivedin Lower Mesopotamia where were many ancient creeds, all more or lessmixed up with politically subversive movements: this was the area inwhich the Khalif al-Mahdi had tried to suppress the Zindiqs or"atheists ", and in which the Qarmates afterwards had their beginnings,the home of the Isma'ilians, in any case definitely anti-'Abbasid andanti-Arab. In Islam this kind of Batini thought was strongest in theIsma'ilian sect, it had strong Gnostic tendencies and laid great stresson the spiritual and esoteric, as against the exoteric (Lewis, Camb., 1940, 44 sq.). This type of thought isinteresting as it represents the "wisdom "cherished by the Isma'ilians,by their adherents in the Fatimid khalifate in Egypt and later by theAssassins of Central Asia and Syria, offihoots of the Fatimids, andpresumably by the Druzes of the Lebanon. Though very far removed fromthe natural line of Islamic thought it still forms a living andvigorous branch of Islam, though it is not Arab
Feb 17, 2011 · Beginnings of persecution
This essay is going to focus on the Roman Empire from the rise to the fall and the government, architecture, mythology, Family Structure, and Food of the Romans.
Christianity, Rise And Spread Of Christianity - World history
At the death of Iamblichus in 33o, his schooldispersed, but he had a successor in at Pergamum inMysia, who educated the sons of Eustathius, a noble Roman who was senton an embassy to the Persian court. By that time the Roman Empire wasprofessedly Christian, and the philosophers who adhered to paganism hadto keep their religious sympathies secret. Amongst Aedisius' pupils wasthe Emperor Julian, who made an attempt to revive decaying paganism,but without permanent result. The great hope of the pagan party lay inthe neo-Platonists. At the beginning of the fifth century Hypathia (d.415) expounded neo-Platonic doctrines at Alexandria, but for the mostpart Alexandrian thought was not much attached to neo-Platonism. Thesame teaching was continued after her by Hierocles (circ. 415-450), apupil of Plutarch of Athens (d. 481), who seems to have beenresponsible for introducing neo-Platonism into Athens which from histime forward became its home. Plutarch was succeeded at Athens bySyrianus of Alexandria. After him came Proclus (410-485) a native ofConstantinople who received his education at Alexandria, then continuedat Athens under Plutarch and Syrianus. He was the author of a treatiseon "Platonic Theology "and of one called "Theological Elements ", whichcontains a statement of the doctrine of Plotinus modified in a formwhich supplied the philosophical ideas of the later neo-Platonists, sothat he ranks next after Plotinus as an authority of their system. Atthat time the school of Athens, the home of neo-Platonism, was secretlypagan and conscious of the precarious character of the tolerance whichit enjoyed. One of his pupils was Marinus, who wrote his biography.