The incoherence of the intellectuals : ibn Rushd, al-Ghazali, al-Jabari, and Tarabichi in eight centuries of dialogue without dialogue
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Scholars, philosophers, and theologians have debated the compatibility of Hellenic Philosophy with Islam since the eighth century CE. In his book Averroes et l’Averroisme (1852), Ernst Renan identified Tahāfut al-Falsifa by al-Ghazali and Tahāfut al-Tahāfut by ibn Rushd as the two key texts resolving the issue: the Islamic world accepted al-Ghazali and fell into decline, while Europe accepted ibn Rushd (Averroës) and experienced the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Renan’s argument has endured among Arab liberal intellectuals over the past one-hundred sixty years, but using ibn Rushd as the mascot for Arab Rationalism has failed to inspire anything resembling asecond Nahda. Two contemporary Arab intellectuals, Mohammad ʿAbed al-Jabari and George Tarabichi, have engaged in their own dialogue about the works of al-Ghazali’s and ibn Rushd’s and whether or not Averroism can effect real change in the modern Arab world. This paper examines the works of al-Ghazali, ibn Rushd, Renan, al-Jabari, and Tarabichi in their historical, cultural, and geographical contexts to conclude that the solution to the problems of the modern Arab world, if one exists, does not lie solely within the works of ibn Rushd.