Merhaba Misafir

The Western Reception of al-Ghaza-lı - ’s Cosmology from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century


Among subjects of Islamic theology, the cosmologyof al-Ghazali has received much attention in the West.Scholars in the Renaissance were familiar with al-Ghazali’scritique of philosophical theories of causality in the17th discussion of his Incoherence of the Philosophers(Tahafut al-falasifa). During the first half of the 19thcentury, when the Western academic study of Islamictheology began, scholars came to the conclusion that inthis chapter, al-Ghazali denied the existence of causalconnections. That position was connected to an apparentlack of progress in scientific research in the Muslimcountries. Ernest Renan, for instances, understood al-Ghazali critique of philosophical theories of causality asan anti-rationalist, mystically inspired opposition to thenatural sciences. This view became immensely influentialamong Western intellectuals and is still widely held.When al-Ghazali’s Niche of Lights (Mishkat al-anwar)became available during the first decades of the 20thcentury, Western interpreters understood that at leasthere al-Ghazali does not deny the existence of causalconnections. During much of the 20th century, Westernscholars favored an explanation that ascribes two differentsets of teaching to al-Ghazali, one esoteric and one exoteric. The last decades of the 20th century saw twovery different interpretations of al-Ghazali’s cosmologyin the works of Michael E. Marmura and Richard M.Frank. Both rejected that al-Ghazali held exoteric andesoteric views. Marmura explained causal connectionsas direct actions of God and Frank regarded them as expressionsof secondary causality. Their contributions ledto the understanding in the West that al-Ghazali did notdeny the existence of causal connections and cannot beregarded as an opponent of the natural sciences in Islam.

Yayınlandığı Kaynak : DÎVÂN: Disiplinlerarası Çalışmalar Dergisi
  • Yıl : 2011
  • Cilt : 16
  • ISSN : 1039-6834
  • Sayı : 30
  • Sayfa Aralığı : 0-0
  • IO Kayıt No : 24185
  • Yayıncı : Bilim Sanat Vakfı