Philosophy 67 - 4.3 Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Philosophy

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe what constitutes Jewish, Christian, and Islamic philosophy.
  • Outline the historical path of classical ideas up until the early modern era.
  • Identify the ideas of key philosophers in Africa and Europe.

Greek and Roman imperialism in the Middle East and North Africa brought Jews—and later, Christians—into the intellectual sphere of Hellenism. Early on, Jewish and Christian scholars incorporated ideas of classical Greek and Roman philosophy into their theological studies. As Arab conquerors and traders expanded into the Middle East and Africa, the Muslim world also came into contact with classical philosophy and the natural sciences, adopting and advancing many key ideas. At the same time, religious centers of learning were developing their own philosophies of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Within these institutions, people engaged in deep and often contentious debate about the nature of humans, of the world, and—more generally—of being. There were also active epistemological debates attempting to determine the boundaries of what could and could not be known. These thinkers developed ethical systems that adherents put into practice. Yet a tension runs through most of these works, as philosophers tried to balance theological revelation with freedom of intellectual exploration.

This lesson has no exercises.

The content of this course has been taken from the free Philosophy textbook by Openstax