Eloy Zarate HIST 2A
16 Questions total
House of Wisdom Study Guide – Part 4
Chapter 8: On the Eternity of the World As you move into the final part of the book, you should understand the different cultures and their respective attitudes toward learning – and its relationship to religion. Hopefully, the cooperative relationship within Islam and the contrast to Christianity is clear. The final section of the text is going to bring the role of rulers to the fore. Pay close attention to Frederick II. Understand his lineage…don’t forget Roger II. Know why both are important!
Overwhelmingly, this part of the book is a review of the major figures and places that the book has covered. Go back through the guide as you read and make sure that you are identifying them correctly. Add the following to your list:
1. St. Thomas Aquinas 2. Averroes – Ibn Rushd 3. Avicenna – Ibn Sina 4. Leonardo of Pisa – Fibonacci 5. Pope Gregory IX
Trace the story of Frederick II. What would he represent today?
1. Why was Frederick ex-communicated….twice? What does this show about the relationship between rulers and the Church?

2. How did European Christians describe Frederick? How does that contrast to the Arab descriptions of Frederick?

3. Consider the story of Frederick’s control of Jerusalem. What has changed since the first chapter on the Crusades? (Read page 167 carefully.) 4. What is the value of “Arab learning” to Frederick? How is Frederick and his reign an important “way station” in the West’s journey toward scientific advances? (p. 171)
In light of Lyons argument about willful forgetting, consider his discussion of Averroes. Very importantly, look at how Averroes is acknowledged in the Renaissance….by Dante and Raphael. What tension or hypocrisy does it reveal?
1. What questions do the philosophies of Averroes and Avicenna allow Europeans to ask/consider?

2. How is the “Eternity of the World” explained by different thinkers? How does Frederick II understand or seek to understand it?

3. How effectively does St. Thomas Aquinas communicate the ideas of the Arab philosophers?
Eloy Zarate HIST 2A
16 Questions total
Most people are quick to recognize that the debate over “Reason and Faith” is a very old one. This chapter has shown some of the major developments of that debate. Think about how this time period shaped our current understandings.
Chapter 9: The Invention of the West Think about the title of this chapter. Most of you have gone through school with a firm understanding of “the West”. You have learned its history – a nice narrative of the rise of the state and progression toward modern democracy. What would it mean that the West is invented? This is the final chapter of the text. Keep the argument of the book in mind. Understand how a “willful forgetting” and an “invention” go hand in hand.
1. Why does the Church give up on “Condemnations?”

2. What shift takes place in education, particularly higher learning?

3. How is Thomas Aquinas meant to resolve this tension? How do you think he resolves the tension?

4. What do the condemnations of 1227 show about the tensions within intellectual traditions? (p. 195)
Lyons ends this chapter with a discussion of Copernicus. What had you learned about him up to this point? Lyons has done this repeatedly throughout the book. He has challenged your understanding of the Crusades, exploration, the “flat earth”…etc. What is the legacy of a “willful forgetting” in your education? How might we better understand the world if we re-incorporate these aspects of the story?

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