Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-mm7gn Total loading time: 0.44 Render date: 2022-08-18T20:03:53.344Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

WHEN THE PRESENT MISUNDERSTANDS THE PAST HOW A MODERN ARAB INTELLECTUAL RECLAIMED HIS OWN HERITAGE

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 May 2018

Hassan Tahiri*
Affiliation:
Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande Edifício C4, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal

Abstract

The beginning of the 20th century has witnessed a significant development that has renewed and stimulated the long passionate historical relationship between two great civilisations which are traditionally known as the West and the East. Following their ancestors who cultivated the quest for knowledge tradition, some Arab scholars have come to leading European countries to learn the latest advancement in knowledge. They did not expect they would be confronted with what seems to be the poor showing of their scientific and cultural heritage according to the assessment that was carried out in the previous century by Western scholars and historians. The Western study of the Eastern heritage had such influence that it has generated new Arab intellectual elite which blames the past for the present difficulties. Following the discovery of major scientific Arabic works in the second half of the 20th century, some Arab scholars like Ibrahim Madkour realised that they had in fact just misunderstood their own tradition. What is the source of their misunderstanding? How did they become aware of it? And how can a better understanding of the past change present attitudes and guide future actions? By attempting to provide some answers to such questions, the aim of this paper is to shed light on what seems to be a turning point in modern Arabic intellectual history.

Résumé

Le début du XXe siècle a connu un développement important qui a renouvelé et stimulé la longue relation historique passionnelle entre deux grandes civilisations traditionnellement connues sous le nom d'Occident et d'Orient. Suivant leurs ancêtres qui ont cultivé la tradition de la quête du savoir, plusieurs chercheurs arabes sont venus dans les grands pays européens pour apprendre les dernières avancées scientifiques. Ils ne s'attendaient pas à être confrontés par ce qui semble être la performance médiocre de leur patrimoine scientifique et culturel selon l’évaluation réalisée par les érudits et historiens occidentaux au siècle précédent. L’étude occidentale du patrimoine oriental a eu une telle influence qu'elle a fini par donner lieu à l’émergence d'une nouvelle élite intellectuelle arabe qui blâme le passé pour les difficultés présentes. Suite à la découverte des travaux scientifiques majeurs arabes durant la seconde moitié du XXe siècle, certains intellectuels arabes comme Ibrahim Madkour se sont rendus compte qu'ils avaient en fait mal compris leur propre tradition. Quelle est la source de leur incompréhension? Comment en ont-ils pris conscience? Et comment une meilleure compréhension du passé peut-elle changer l'attitude présente et guider l'action future? En essayant de fournir des éléments de réponse à de telles questions, le but de cet article est de faire la lumière sur ce qui semble être un tournant dans l'histoire intellectuelle arabe moderne.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

التقليد : التزام قول المقلد من غير دليل– أبوالوليد الباجي1Quand on commence à voir autrement le paysage, les préjugés tombent d'eux-mêmes, presque sans effort – Roshdi Rashed2

1

“A traditionalist is he who follows a tradition without proof.” (Abū al-Walīd al-Bājī, Kitāb al-Minhāj fī tartīb al-ḥijāj, ed. A. Turki [Paris, 1978], p. 13.)

2

In R. Morelon and A. Hasnawi (eds.), De Zénon d’Élée à Poincaré. Recueil d’études en hommage à Roshdi Rashed (Leuven, 2004), p. XX.

1
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

WHEN THE PRESENT MISUNDERSTANDS THE PAST HOW A MODERN ARAB INTELLECTUAL RECLAIMED HIS OWN HERITAGE
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

WHEN THE PRESENT MISUNDERSTANDS THE PAST HOW A MODERN ARAB INTELLECTUAL RECLAIMED HIS OWN HERITAGE
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

WHEN THE PRESENT MISUNDERSTANDS THE PAST HOW A MODERN ARAB INTELLECTUAL RECLAIMED HIS OWN HERITAGE
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *