ابن رشد: شهادة من مقصورة المتفرجين / Ibn Rushd: A Spectator's Testimony



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مطر, محمد عفيفي; Matar, Muhammad Afifi

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Research Article

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Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[The author-an Egyptian poet who studied and taught philosophy, and whose poetry is permeated by philosophical concerns-reflects in this essay on the significance of reviving Ibn Rushd in the context of contemporary Arab culture. He draws a distinction between cultural inheritance (mirāth) and cultural heritage (turāth)-the latter being the living and dynamic aspect of the cultural legacy. The two co-exist in a tense and dialectical relationship. Stressing the hegemonic role of political authority, he points out how the field of philosophy has been turned into a vulgar ideological discourse or into a stunted and ineffective academic discipline. He singles out four moments in the twentieth century in which the name of Ibn Rushd became a battle cry in the Arab world: (1) In the early twentieth century when Faraḥ Anṭūn summarized Renan's work, Averroès et averroisme, in a highly selective way to support European notions of politics, social organization and religious egalitarianism. (2) Later when the study of Ibn Rushd was undertaken in a historicizing and culturally-conscious fashion in order to defend him against the labels attached to him by medieval Europeans and Orientalists. These studies were carried under the auspices of national recovery of the heritage. (3) More recently a Moroccan circle of dedicated scholars has tried to recapture the tradition of Andalusian and Maghrebi philosophy of yore. It constitutes a promising departure. (4) The contemporary scene in Egypt where most of the work on Ibn Rushd tends to be either deadly academic or harnessed to the power campaign for the self-styled forces of "Enlightenment" against the so-called forces of "Darkness." The author devalues efforts to manipulate the discourse of Ibn Rushd, and to relegate him to a field other than philosophy in order to propagate and to pretend that the concerns of Ibn Rushd correspond to those of the authorities. Towards the end of his testimony, the poet points to a prison poem he wrote ("Blood-Dripping Faces") in which he calls upon Ibn Rushd, his maître de pensée, to heal and correct.]

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