History of Arabic Logic

Johannes Steuchius

Johannes Steuchius was a prominent Swedish Lutheran theologian and academic, a descendant of celebrated Lutheran bishops and academics. Born in 1676 in Harndsand in northern Sweden, Steuchius moved with his family to Lund in 1694 when his father, Matthias Steuchius, the renowned academic and theologian, was appointed Bishop of Lund. After completing his studies in logic and metaphysics at Uppsala University, Steuchius was given the opportunity to attend some of Europe’s foremost Protestant academic institutions, a luxury afforded to few. He continued his theological and philosophical studies as a visiting student at the universities of Rostock, Hamburg, Wolfenbiittel, Helmstedt, Wittenberg, Altdorf, London, Oxford, Amsterdam, Haarlem, and Leiden. During this period, he studied under many prominent Lutheran academics, such as Professor Johann Fecht, one of Germany’s leading representatives of Lutheran orthodoxy. He also met Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and visited the famous library in Wolfenbiittel during this time. In 1701, Steuchius was appointed as a lecturer and associate professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at Uppsala University. In 1702, he returned to Lund and was appointed a librarian and professor at the University of Lund. By 1707, he became a full professor of logic and metaphysics as well as extraordinary professor of theology. He returned with his family to Uppsala University in 1710 and became its archbishop and prosecutor in 1714.

Steuchius had tremendous influence in the University because of his relationship with the executives. He presided over nearly one hundred dissertations at Uppsala University, drafted a new school order that was ultimately adopted at the parliamentary level in 1723, and was appointed superintendent in Karlstad that same year. He believed religion was fundamentally important to society and that there needed to be unity between religion and society. He had a strict Orthodox Lutheran view and in 1735 introduced a law, the Charter of Religions, to intervene on suspicion of any religion other than the Church of Sweden being practiced to combat radical Pietism. As superintendent, he was also

History of Arabic Logic 225 responsible for visiting parishes, prescribing priests, and participating in priesthood meetings. After serving as bishop of Linköping, Steuchius succeeded his father as Archbishop of the Church of Sweden in 1730 and held this position until his death in 1742.1

Variant Names: Johann Steuch, Jons Steuch, Joanne Steuchio, and lohannes Steuchius Suecus

Summary and Analysis

Steuchius’ dispHtatio uses Arabic logic to present an historical account of the development of philosophical thought in Arabia before and after the emergence of Islam. In doing so, he argues that philosophical thought was hindered in Arabia because of Islam. His argument can be divided into four propositions.

Steuchius first proposes that philosophy drew its origins from the East. His evidence for this claim is that many of the Greek philosophers, considered the forefathers of European philosophy, began cultivating their philosophical thinking as a result of exposure to ancient Eastern philosophy.

Second, he argues that Arabs living in pre-Islamic Arabia were among the Easterners who cultivated philosophy. His evidence for this is based on the scholarship of historians, such as Thomas Stanleius and Georg Hornius, who described the ancient Arabs as skillful logicians and astronomers with advanced systems of speech composition and poetic structures. Steuchius claims that the Chaldeans and Egyptians are two of these cultivators of philosophy and that Arabs and Persians learned from them. He also cites the biblical narrative of Job as demonstrating the natural capacity of pre-Islamic Arabs for argumentation and dialectics.

Third, like many Lutherans, Steuchius asserts that the development of philosophical thought halted among the Arabs with the arrival of Muhammad. His evidence for this is that once Muhammad gained power and was recognized as a great prophet, he declared war on philosophy, prohibiting his followers from cultivating any literary culture, an offense punishable by death. Steuchius supports his claim by saying that Muhammad feared that philosophical studies would call into doubt his superior status among his followers and he wanted to protect his Qur’an as the principal source of truth. As a result, all philosophical developments outside the Qur’an were superfluous and the Arabs grew unaccustomed to philosophy.

Steuchius’ fourth and final proposition is that philosophy ultimately re-emerged among the Arabs when Christians began translating Greek literature into the Arabic vernacular. His evidence for this is that from the time Christian academics re-introduced philosophy to Arabia, Arabs started to visit Greece to study philosophy. He cites a series of caliphs who allowed Greek philosophy to flourish in Arabia by supporting Arab

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liberal arts academies and funding philosophy in schools. Steuchius also lists a series of eminent Arabic philosophers from the tenth to fourteenth centuries, arguing that many learned Muslims considered their own theology to contain various errors that could not be reconciled with philosophy. Accordingly, a state of perfection was only possible once a marriage occurred between Greek philosophy and Islam.

In sum, Steuchius argues that these philosophical studies once again began to languish among the Arabs under the Turks’ “barbarous arms.” According to him, the Arabs as a race are capable of captivatingly novel and insightful philosophical developments, but were prevented from doing so when Islam appeared. Steuchius likens Turks’ appearance on the world scene as a military power to a kind of reappearance of Muhammad: an excuse for the decline in Arabic philosophy. His disputation is a reflection of the political context when the Ottoman Empire lost power in Europe, resulting in a Lutheran interest in Arabia in the post-failed Turkish 1683 Siege of Vienna. Steuchius believes Christian academics saved the day by introducing Muslims, who had no other avenue to restore their loss of learning, to Greek philosophy. This suggests that as a true representative of Greek philosophy, Protestant Europe can now save Arabic philosophy from the hands of the ‘barbaric Turks.’

Disputation on the History of

Arabic Logic (Uppsala, 1721)

I think I can claim without any risk of being mistaken that philosophy draws its origins from the East. This is supported by the testimony of the most distinguished men [such as Plato, Manetho, Georg Hornius, Thomas Stanleius and others]. However, I am aware that the Greeks worked hard in this field, spreading philosophy not just to the Romans but to almost the whole world. They were the first to write about philosophy, and the origin of all wisdom is owed to them. Even the Romans believe this as Cicero and Seneca clearly hint. But this masquerade, with which the Greeks claim glory for themselves, should be removed according to Hornius. There are also some Greeks who argue the same. A certain Laertius will be sufficient as an authority; he began his work thus: “There are some who say that the study of philosophy began among the barbarians.” Who does not know that Homer, Solon, Lycurgus, Pythagoras, Plato, Eudoxus, Democritus, and a great number of other Greeks recorded in history took long journeys to the East? Because of this Hornius says,

There is no doubt that when cities were built and states founded, a seat for literature and wisdom was also founded, and just as the East was the first place to have a more humane culture, so it was the first to stand out in its praise of wisdom. From this it came about that eminent ancient Greek philosophers set out there as if to buy wisdom.

Porphyry, on the authority of Diogenes, says that Pythagoras went to Arabia, among other regions, and lived there with its king. Hence, Eusebius rightly says: “the Greeks sought out teachings in other places like merchants.”

Before I elaborate on this point, I think it is relevant to say a few words to shed light on the question of whether the Arabs paid attention to philosophy first, as did the other Easterners. Indeed, I am aware of various scholars who consider the Arabs barbarians, including [Zacharias] Ursinus, Hottinger, and others. Also, many geographers, displaying a lack of skill, portray these regions as unknown deserts. All these scholars, except the greatest ones, are guilty of this line of thought (according to Ludewig, who is harsher than is fair). But they reveal to us that the native writers of this nation call the era before the Arab Empire and Muhammad, who compiled the Qur’an, the “Age of Ignorance.” Gregory Abu al-Faraj, the keenest investigator into Arab affairs, said this about old Arabia: “The fact that some [old Arabs] survive to these times springs from that double lineage, namely Kathan and Adnan, and a double condition fits for the Arabs, one of ignorance, the other of Islam.” What about Islam? Pococke, the most learned commentator on Eastern matters, gives an excellent description of this state by Mustafa Ebn or his son Kassai in the book Ta‘rifat: “Islam is when someone heeds and submits himself to the things handed down by Muhammad.” Hence, they call their sect al-Eslam or Islamism, and themselves Muslims or Islamists; and of course, if we rearrange the letters it derives from Ishmael, the son of Abraham, whom he produced from the slave Hagar. Certain investigators into his genealogy say that this cunning soldier [Muhammad] originated from this seed and lineage. To this end, Muhammad claims Abraham to be a Muslim, and he wants the laws in his Qur’an, which he imagines was sent down from heaven, to be known as Islam.

To return to the main point, following Pococke’s lead, I interpret the words of Abu al-Faraj given above not to mean the ignorance of philosophy, but of religion. Here we must listen to the Arab Ibn al-Athlr (through Pococke’s translation), who describes ‘ignorance’ as the condition of the Arabs before Islam, since they were ignorant of God and His messenger. Therefore, Jacob Golius’ [Arabic-Latin] Lexicon [mostly based on al-Jawhari] defines the state of ignorance as the Arabs’ paganism, or the time before Muhammad, and Ibn Kathir al-Farghani, or more commonly Alfraganus, comments on the elements of astronomy: “... in the age of ignorance, which is what Muslims called this time that preceded their religion.” Abu al-Faraj would not have agreed with Ibn al-Athlr if he had felt differently. For the Arabs were certainly not ignorant,

History of Arabic Logic 229 and Abu al-Faraj had an excellent understanding beyond “the skill of his own tongue, correct speech, poetic structures, the composition of speeches, or the cause of the stars’ rising and setting.” If indeed Abu al-Faraj called the ancient Arabs unphilosophical, I think that he meant that they lacked proper philosophy or Greek Aristotelianism, which they were ignorant of until the eighth century. But Abu al-Faraj’s words seem to imply at first glance that the Arabs were completely incompetent in learning philosophy. Thus, he says: “Truly God had not allowed anything much of the knowledge of philosophy to them, nor had He made them suited to these studies.” But the lack of [philosophical studies] has an explanation, since Abu al-Faraj informs us elsewhere that he understood philosophy as ‘theology’ (i.e., the exploration of the origin of the universe), about which he writes that the ancient Arabs were ignorant. If this was not really Abu al-Faraj’s opinion, then he was contradicting himself, as [Herman] Conring says.

I have limited access to ancient Arab authors, so I will consult nonArab writers, from whom I will seek aid and assistance to advance my thesis further. For example, the first one is Porphyry, who quotes Diogenes: “Pythagoras went to the Egyptians and Arabs.” [Johannes] Schefferus also argues convincingly that the Greeks learned divination and the art of augury from them. The Arabs take pride that they are the children of Abraham, and that many of them have absorbed something of Abrahamic philosophy. On this matter, I rely on the authority of al-Shahrastam, whose words Pococke translates like this: “the light which went from Adam to Abraham was divided; it was dispersed from him to his children in two parts. One of them stayed with the sons of Israel, the other with the sons of Ishmael, and so on.” The most distinguished men concur with this point of view. Ludewig, whom I have praised above, says that the ancient Arabs were skilled in astronomy, geometry, physics, and other disciplines. Hornius, following Eusebius, claims that their brilliance shone like a star. Some even argue that Solomon’s wisdom was being favorably compared to that of the Arab philosophers in 1 Kings 4:30. Tacitus notes that Judaea is bordered on the East by Arabia; and Johannes Wandalinus says the same. It is clear from this that Arabia was considered part of the East by the Hebrews themselves. For this reason, the anonymous Jew who translated the Book of Kings into Arabic understands the “sons of the East” in the passage cited above as being the Arabs. This is also Conring’s opinion. Let us also hear Stan-leius, who says that among the ancient Arabs there were learned men, skilled in natural philosophy, astronomy, and other disciplines. If this is true, then it is likely that the ancient Arabs and Persians received philosophy from the Chaldeans and Egyptians, who were among its earliest cultivators. Therefore, whoever examines the matter a little more closely and dispassionately will easily discern that the ancient Arabs, among other nations, cultivated philosophy.

Many have thought deeply about logic, but too little has been said on this subject by historians of philosophy. Everyone knows that logic can be divided into two main areas: natural logic, which is the innate ability of the mind to receive, decide, and reason; and artificial logic, or dialectic. Natural logic goes back to the beginnings of humankind. The history of dialectic can also easily be outlined, for it developed gradually. But I digress, and will continue with the Arabs, demonstrating that they had skill in the art of logic as well.

Even if we concede that Aristotelian logic was unknown to the ancient Arabs until the eighth century, it may not be inferred from this that they all lacked the art of reasoning, since reasoning is not solely bound to the maxims of a certain Stagirite [Aristotle]. For there is not just one path to the truth, nor does everyone reason in the same way. Thus, it was rightly said by someone: “men made arguments before Aristotle, the god of syllogizers, was born.” These are the words of Abu al-Faraj, which I will illustrate with a brief commentary: “But the learning of the Arabs, who were especially eager for glory, was this: skill in their own tongue, correctness of speech, the structure of their poetry, and their composition of speeches.” By “correctness of speech,” we understand grammar or oratory or dialectic. But he distinguishes “correctness of speech” from “skill in their tongue” and “composition of speeches.” Therefore, by “composition of speeches” he undoubtedly meant dialectic. Indeed, Pococke hints this in his notes to that book of Abu al-Faraj. Johannes Cotovicus also confirms this conjecture and says that “modern Arabs, preserving the old way of living and teaching, ignore other subjects and occupy themselves with dialectic and rhetoric.” We must listen to his words: “Arabs do not pay any attention to philosophy, but a few at least occupy themselves with dialectic and rhetoric.” The nationality of Job, who was from the land of Uz in Arabia, also supports this argument. The vast majority of the learned, whose works I do not have time or space to quote, affirm that Job was a true Arab. When Job engaged in dialogue with his friends, he disputed with them in such a way that he deserves to be called the best of the dialectician of his time. For in his life story we find that he not only made arguments against his friends, and made correct responses, but also made objections and used limitations in his argumentation. The Church Fathers recognized him as the best logician. Jerome said about Job that “he determined all the laws of dialectic, with propositions, assumptions and conclusions. In fact, he even showed up specious arguments for solving problems.” Cassiodorus thought the same: “Where are those who say that the art of dialectic did not begin from the holiest scriptures? The pages in Job are full of allegory, propositions and holy questions.” Ambrosius affirms that Job was the first to discover dialectic: “Job, who discovered these things, was much more ancient [than the Greek dialecticians].” Among more recent men, we must listen to Volaterranus, who shows that four kinds of disputation

History of Arabic Logic 231 occur in the book of Job, and that the first is dialectic: “The first disputation is dialectic, which proceeds from provables. This happens with Job and his three friends, when he proves his thesis that God sometimes afflicts a just and innocent man. But his friends argue to the contrary; that God strikes no one beyond their deserts.” [Theophilus] Gale says, “It is clear that Job was a profound and perceptive philosopher, for he speaks very keenly.” From this [Andreas] Rivetus rightly observes: “Anyone who is not skilled in dialectic will oppose Job to no effect.”

What should we think about Job’s friends? Surely, they are also dialecticians? Some deduce this from the conversations they have with Job. For this reason, Hornius affirms that their conversations were imbued with philosophy—he understands this to be dialectic, which is clear from the context—and that they came from Job’s school and engaged in disputation with him. But when Job is spoken of as a dialectician, this should not be understood as if the art of argumentation were restricted to the rules and precepts outlined in Aristotle’s Organon. Indeed, the natural ability of speaking in various manners and forms has manifested itself in a variety of nations and philosophers. Furthermore, according to the very distinguished Hornius, since Job was the greatest philosopher, he did not want to hide his wisdom in private. Accordingly, he opened a school and taught logic to the public. This, according to Eliphas Themanites, is proven in the book of Job. For this reason, there must have been more dialecticians in Arabia, for the Arabs had a teacher “compared to whom there was no one more ancient, more learned, or more sublime in all of antiquity.” [...]. The Arab, Ahmad ibn Yusuf, says that among the ancient Arab kings there was a certain al-Hârith, who was called a philosopher. Pococke says that this man was not a philosopher; and Johann Ludewig, following Ibn Yusuf, thinks that al-Hârith was called a philosopher because of his wonderful speaking abilities. Ludewig wishes to attribute the study of literature to the Arabs before the time of Muhammad, and he does not wish to attribute it to al-Hârith.

When Muhammad, that monster who burst from a dark corner into the middle of the theater of the weakening world, had obtained power, he became so conceited that many treated him as the greatest prophet and worshipped him, and philosophy vanished among the Arabs for a time. For this most evil illiterate man feared that the students would be superior to the master if they continued to pursue philosophy. He called philosophical studies delusions, fallacies, and trifles, and declared war on them. Not only did he discourage his followers from cultivating literature, but he also prohibited it with the threat of punishment. Hornius cites this law: “no Muslim, no matter his status or level of learning, may learn any of the seven liberal arts, otherwise he will be punished with death.” Indeed, Muhammad attracted everyone to him as if he were a teacher, and portrayed the Qur’an as if it were a treasury of the highest wisdom, declaring everything else to be superfluous and useless. Thus,

the Arabs grew unaccustomed to literature at last, and all their philosophy, cultivated by their elders with care and effort, disappeared. I think this fact should be attributed neither to their laziness nor the dullness of their spirits, but to that false prophet and the Umayyad Caliphate’s administrators, who put no effort into promoting study. Therefore, I think that the time of Muhammad was clearly not a time of knowledge, as some argue, but rather ignorance.

I will now briefly explain how the Arabs began to practice philosophy again. Since Greece shone throughout the whole world, especially in its cultivation of the liberal arts and literature, the Arabs believed that the only way for them to restore their loss of learning was to translate Greek books into Arabic. The Christians in Arabia gave examples of Greek learning in the Arabic language. From this time onwards, the Arabs routinely visited Greece, and returned home having been enriched with much learning. The first of the caliphs who worked on introducing Greek philosophy was Abu Ja’far al-Mansur, who began to sit on the throne in the year 754, and the second was the caliph of the Hashemites. Under Harun al-Rashid, not only were men of any kind of learning held in high honor, but schools were also founded where Greek philosophy was taught. He finally opened the way for the caliph al-Ma’mun, whose deeds almost all writers praise and extol. He was kind and favorable to the Muses and proved himself in these arts. Thus, Greek philosophy flourished brilliantly among the Arabs under his rule. This prince summoned men thoroughly learned in philosophy from every place; he sought books everywhere, especially from Greece, which he ordered to be translated into Arabic at great expense. When these studies took deeper root, he particularly encouraged them among his subjects. Finally, he founded schools and supported them with his generous patronage, and these schools were so successful that they rivaled those of the Greeks. Greece has produced many exceptional works; in addition to borrowing these from the Greeks, the Arabs produced many exceptional works of their own. Due to this, many works of wise Greek men that have been lost among the Greeks themselves survive among the Arabs.

After the introduction of Greek philosophy, it is agreed that dialectic was among the first of the arts the Arabs practiced. Abu Zakariya Yulianna ibn Masawayh taught dialectic in Baghdad in the eighth century. Abu al-Faraj speaks of him thus: “Johannes was considered a great man in Baghdad. He composed elegant books. He founded a school for the sake of debating, where he talked about every kind of ancient discipline. He even lectured, and as many students as possible were gathered to him.” Abu Ya’qub ibn Hunayn was another eminent philosopher, who was active in about the year 850. After returning to Arabia from Greece, he practiced philosophy using Greek principles to the praise of his countrymen. He was succeeded by Ya’qub al-Kindi, a superb dialectician, who also knew the other parts of philosophy and wrote various books

History of Arabic Logic 233 about them. Qusta ibn Luqa, roughly contemporary to al-Kindl, was by no means inferior to him. In the beginning of the tenth century, these philosophical studies flourished to the point that many new universities were founded. Thabit ibn Qurrah was also active during this time; it is said that his Logica is still unparalleled. In about 940, Abu Bishr Matta b. Yunus was also very valuable and useful to the Muslims. He was called ‘the dialectician’ because of his exceptional ability to reason. Abu al-Faraj says that “the dialectician Abu Bishr Matta was skilled in the art of logic; while teaching, he would often go over the same speech to make it understandable.” Here I can also mention al-Farabi, who taught his students analytics, and who “brought the art of logic out of the depths, uncovering its secrets, and making them easy to grasp. He outlined all that he knew about logic in clearly organized books. In these books, he covered aspects of the art of analytics and methods of speaking which had been overlooked by al-Kindi and others. His books on logic, physics, metaphysics, and politics fulfilled their purpose satisfactorily.” Al-Farabi’s contemporary Afrihi ibn ‘Adi was a notable logician of this age, who, Leo Africanus says, died in Arabia Felix.

Abu al-Faraj says that some learned Muslims thought that their theology—if it can be called that—was mixed with various errors and could be cleansed with the help of logic. They said that if Greek philosophy were joined to Arab religion, it would at last achieve a state of perfection. Now let us skip over al-Buzjani, al-Farabi, al-Razi, al-Baqillani, and Abu ‘Abd Allah, the teacher of Avicenna, all of whom Abu al-Faraj, Leo Africanus and others write were dialecticians. In about the year 1050, the celebrated Avicenna was active. He was no less a dialectician than he was a doctor. For he himself asserts that God would make the art of dialectic clear to him, if only he had faith in Him. There is a certain lengthy passage of Avicenna, which is worth citing here in full:

For about 18 months I lay down to read books carefully. Whenever I was confused on some point, or could not find the middle term of a syllogism, I went to the mosque and poured out prayers as a suppliant to the Creator of all things, until that which was obscure and hidden was opened to me. At night I went home and worked on reading and writing by lamplight. Whenever sleep or some other weakness in the senses troubled me, I drank some much-needed wine until my strength came back. Then I turned back to my reading. Even if some light sleep overtook me, I dreamt about those problems, with the result that many solutions became known to me through lack of sleep. Nor did I stop, until I had acquired a solid understanding of dialectic and physics.

This is not the time to discuss the claim that Avicenna had one eye closed when it came to medicine and was blind when it came to philosophy. Buta certain man exaggerates when he says that “[Avicenna] labored with such great efforts that he alone wins the medal among the interpreters of Aristotle, nor did anyone understand the mind of that philosopher so well.” Abu al-Faraj ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Tayyib was active in the same century; he was not only a dialectician but also practiced metaphysics for twenty years. Ibn al-Rawandi was also a dialectician.2 Important dialecticians from the following century include Abul Chais, who founded a school of logic and metaphysics; al-Ghazali who taught 6,000 students logic and other subjects in the university at Baghdad; and al-Tughra’i, al-Sharif, and Saighus. Abu al-Barakat al-Baghdadi wrote a book called Kitab al-Mu‘tabar, in which he described many things that pertained to dialectic (according to Ludewig). There was also Osanius, Abul Helmus, Mogrebinus, Thosactus, the teacher of Averroes, who he praises in his writings, and many others, who I do not have the space to list. But all of them are considered famous among their own people in the art of dialectic.

Averroes lived in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and his followers are called Averroists, just like the Thomists and Scotists among the Scholastics. His commentaries on Aristotle are still extant. Although Averroes was known as ‘the interpreter’ and as a commentator, Ludewig thinks that Averroes was responsible for corrupting the arts, for he constantly erred in explaining Aristotle’s books due to his ignorance of Greek, Latin, and the history of philosophy. All that he absorbed from Aristotle he owed to Arabic translations, which were inaccurate on many points. The noble Hornius claims that Averroes was a contemporary of Avicenna, though I do not know how, as Avicenna lived a whole century before! Leaving aside this anachronism, we continue to list the other philosophers of this century. They include ‘Abd al-Salam, whose books were burned due to the envy of some malevolent men, “most of which were about all kinds of philosophy” meaning that he too was a dialectician; Saed, who is said to have been perfectly skilled in the art of medicine and dialectic; Muhammad, who commentated on certain works of Avicenna; Abu Bakr al-Razi, Abu Sahl Yahya al-Masihi, Yuseph, Hasnus, Jakub, and Al Enanus, who also contributed to logic; and Noimoddis Nachjaranensis, who ends my list of philosophers of this age, which Averroes began, and is no less praiseworthy, though he was much inclined to the sect of metempsychists [tanasukh].

In the fourteenth century, al-Tusi stood out among his peers for his exemplary work on Fakhr al-Din al-Razi’s logic and Avicenna’s metaphysics. They record his saying: “Some pens can accomplish more than a hundred thousand armored horses.” Najm al-Din al-Qazwmi, the author of Hikmat al-‘Ayn, was also a distinguished logician. One of the last notable Arabic philosophers was Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, a man of wondrous learning, whose teaching and reputation shone so brightly that he became the prefect of all the schools and universities of the Mongols.

He was a wise man, distinguished in all kinds of philosophy. Under his command all the schools that were under the Mongols’ power were returned to their former glory. He composed many books on logic, physics, metaphysics, and so on. But after the fourteenth century, I cannot say for certain that there were dialecticians among the Arabs, because their intellectual poverty since that time has left few traces of philosophical activity. When the Turkish Empire arose among the Muslims, I am compelled to agree with the much-praised Pococke that these nations did not retain their previous study of literature: “These studies finally began to languish among the Arabs under the Turks’ barbarous arms, and along with their former honor they also banished their former vigor.” But Dr. Olaus Celsius verbosely demonstrates that the Arabs’ studies were not completely extinguished by Turks, and some remains of their former learning endured.

Dear reader! This is what I have been able to say at present about Arabic dialectic. I know that a more talented man could have written about this better than I; but, in writing about these complex matters, I am content to obtain pardon from good men, even if I do not receive praise.


  • 1 Steuchius’ biography was compiled from the following sources: Martin Weibull, Lunds universitets historia: 1668-1863, Vol. 1 (Lund, 1868), 272-3; Adolph Hofmeister, Die Matrikel der Universität Rostock, vol.
  • 4 (Rostock, 1891-1895), 21; John Wordsworth, The National Church of Sweden (London: A. R. Mowbray, 1911), 331; C. V. Jacobowsky, “Svenska studenter i Oxford c. 1620-1740,” Personhistorisk Tidskrift 28 (1927): 128; Jan Olof Rüden, “Ensemble Music Copied by the Swedish Student Nils Til-iander in Greifswald, Rostock and Wittenberg 1698-1699,” in The Dissemination of Music in Seventeenth-Century Europe, ed. Erik Kjellberg (Bern: Peter Lang, 2010), 279-304; Patrik Winton, “Johannes (Jöns) Steuchius (Steuch),” in Svenskt biografiskt lexicon, vol. 33 (Stockholm: Albert Bonnier, 2011), 413; Kay Zenker, Denkfreiheit: Liberias philosophandi in der deutschen Aufklärung (Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag, 2012), 230.
  • 2 [MK] On the significance of Ibn al-Räwandl in Islamic intellectual history, see Mehmet Karabela, “Ibn al-Räwandi,” in Oxford Encyclopaedia of Islam, Philosophy, Science and Technology, ed. Ibrahim Kahn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 352-4; Sarah Stroumsa, Freethinkers of Medieval Islam: Ibn al-Rawandf, Abu Bakr al-Reizt and Their Impact on Islamic Thought (Brill: Leiden, 1999); and Josef van Ess, “Ibn ar-Rewandl, or the Making of an Image,” Al-Abhäth 27 (1978-79): 5-26.
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