chapter  6
20 Pages

Moments in the Islamic Recasting of the Greek Legacy: Exploring the Question of Science and Theism

ByS. Nomanul Haq

The story of what we call Arabic or Islamic science is largely, though neither exclusively nor simply, the story o f the Islamic career of Hellenism. T o be sure, there exists pressing evidence that many currents other than the Greek were flowing into the reservoir o f the Islamic culture in its heyday; and yet it is also true that the metaphysical and cosmological framework o f Arabic science in general arose out o f a process of a uniquely Islamic appropriation o f the received Greek legacy - a legacy in which Neoplatonism loomed large. In the hands o f the scientists o f Islam, a large number o f whom were also philosophers in the sense o f philosophy proper, this legacy underwent such fundamental transformations as to transcend itself. Here it should be added that the growth o f science from the European Middle Ages down to what we call the Scientific Revolution cannot be explained if the history of these fateful transformations is absent from our perspective.