Introduction

Towards a Balanced Historiography of Medieval

Philosophy

John Inglis

The goal of the present volume is to serve as a prolegomenon to the writing of a balanced history of medieval philosophy, one that more accurately represents the philosophy of this period. This introduction supplies a historiographical treatment of the limited role that Islamic and Jewish philosophy have come to play in the standard academic histories written over the last two centuries. In short, my claim is that what we call the standard histories of medieval philosophy are in fact little more than histories of Christian philosophy. I will argue for a balanced type of historiography, one which is fair to each of the three great monotheistic traditions. The fact that members of each of the three great monotheistic traditions studied and made use of the Classical philosophical heritage will serve as the focal point. Often the members of one tradition studied the same Classical texts, worked on similar issues, and read the works of members of other traditions. This is one reason why an adequate history of medieval philosophy should cover each of these three traditions together with their intellectual relations. This history has not yet been written, yet needs to be written.

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