Christian, Islamic and Jewish Cultural Interaction in the Middle Ages

Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Latin in the Middle Age University: An introduction

Welcome to the courseblog pages for studying and comparing the establishment of universities around the Mediterranean region, Europe, Africa and Western Asia from 900 – 1500 CE.  In this period four major languages were used to create extended studies in the sciences, philosophy, theology and medicine:  Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Latin.  By the end of this period we’ll find that only Arabic and Latin retained prominence but that they became more distant and cut-off following the rise of the Ottoman Empire after 1453 and the conquest of Constantinople, and the rise of the European maritime empires from 1492 onward. 

In these pages we’ll examine the following: 

  1. The range of early centers of academic learning as institutions that received state and private foundation support.
  2. The geographic location of these centers
  3. A study of their curriculum and specialization
  4. What was the life of a typical student like?
  5. What evidence do we have of exchange of knowledge between European and non-European universities and between European Christian colleges and Muslim colleges?
After a survey of the location and type of scholarship undertaken between 900 and 1500 CE, we’ll form small groups that will explore and report back in a following class session on their findings.  You may use a text, map or sample from archives, art, architecture to illustrate and share with the class the specific example of Middle Age University and knowledge that you find.

About Patrick Kane

Lecturer of History, Humanities, and Global Studies in the Dept. of General Studies (Humanities and Social Sciences) at Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Author of The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt: Aesthetics, Ideology and Nation-building (London: I.B. Tauris, 2012)
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