Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages

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A true account of a turning point in medieval history that shaped the modern world, from “a superb storyteller” and the author of When Jesus Became God (Los Angeles Times).
 
Europe was in the long slumber of the Middle Ages, the Roman Empire was in tatters, and the Greek language was all but forgotten—until a group of twelfth-century scholars rediscovered and translated the works of Aristotle.
 
The philosopher’s ideas spread like wildfire across Europe, offering the scientific view that the natural world, including the soul of man, was a proper subject of study. The rediscovery of these ancient ideas would spark riots and heresy trials, cause major upheavals in the Catholic Church—and also set the stage for today’s rift between reason and religion.
 
Aristotle’s Children transports us back to this pivotal moment in world history, rendering the controversies of the Middle Ages lively and accessible, and allowing us to understand the philosophical ideas that are fundamental to modern thought.
 
“A superb storyteller who breathes new life into such fascinating figures as Peter Abelard, Albertus Magnus, St. Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, William of Ockham and Aristotle himself.” —Los Angeles Times
 
“Rubenstein’s lively prose, his lucid insights and his crystal-clear historical analyses make this a first-rate study in the history of ideas.” —Publishers Weekly
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About the author

Richard E. Rubenstein is professor of conflict resolution and public affairs at George Mason University and an expert on religious conflict. A graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, he was a Rhodes Scholar and studied at Oxford University. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia.
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Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
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Published on
Sep 20, 2004
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9780547350974
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Medieval
History / General
Philosophy / History & Surveys / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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“[A] panoramic view of early Christianity as it developed against the backdrop of the Roman Empire of the fourth century” (Publishers Weekly).
 
The story of Jesus is well known, as is the story of Christian persecutions during the Roman Empire. The history of fervent debate, civil strife, and bloody riots within the Christian community as it was coming into being, however, is a side of ancient history rarely described.
 
Richard E. Rubenstein takes the reader to the streets of the Roman Empire during the fourth century, when a fateful debate over the divinity of Jesus Christ is being fought. Ruled by a Christian emperor, followers of Jesus no longer fear for the survival of their monotheistic faith. But soon, they break into two camps regarding the direction of their worship: Is Jesus the son of God and therefore not the same as God? Or is Jesus precisely God on earth and therefore equal to Him? The vicious debate is led by two charismatic priests. Arius, an Alexandrian priest and poet, preaches that Jesus, though holy, is less than God. Athanasius, a brilliant and violent bishop, sees any diminution of Jesus’s godhead as the work of the devil. Between them stands Alexander, the powerful Bishop of Alexandria, who must find a resolution that will keep the empire united and the Christian faith alive.
 
With thorough historical, religious, and social research, Rubenstein vividly recreates one of the most critical moments in the history of religion.
 
“A splendidly dramatic story . . . Rubenstein has turned one of the great fights of history into an engrossing story.” —Jack Miles, The Boston Globe; author of God: A Biography
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