National Contours for Moral Education » Spain
A leading European Muslim in a period during which challenge between Christians, Jews and Muslims was conducted in intellectual rather than military terms He wrote extensively on Islamic theology, philosophy and law, as well as astronomy, and for many years practised as a judge in Cordova. He is best known for Interpreting and expounding the thinking of Plato and Aristotle, demonstrating its compatibility with Islam. His own writings were translated into Latin and Hebrew. For moral education his importance lies especially in his insistence on the rationality of faith and ethics, moreso than Al Ghazzali.
The Incoherence of the Incoherence http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ir/tt/index.html
Harmony of religion and philosophy http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ir/art/ir100.htm
Film director, highly regarded for visual artistry (initially achieved in collaboration with Salvador Dali), and most especially for the morally provocative messages represented in his films. These included poverty, juvenile delinquency and fascism. He deliberately engaged in anti-religious polemic – seen as blasphemous by the Roman Catholic Church, but evidently pursued with frank sincerity.
Films + writings
Bunuel talks about the first film he saw and the first film he made (French with English subtitles) (4 mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdYFngjF8XQ
Greatly influential Rabbinic scholar and legal codifier. His early life was marred by the expulsion of Jews from Spain; his family eventually relocated in Turkey. Some 30 years of studies there were followed by another 40 in Palestine. He worked on all the available legal texts and commmentaries from previous generations – both Sephardic (predominantly Spanish) and Ashkenazi (from northern European countries) – including those of Maimonides – and produced definitive collations and commentaries. Shulhan Arukh his latest product was intended as a convenient digest of the Torah, accessible to anyone; it has continued to serve as such for those in the Orthodox tradition. Alongside his immersion in traditional scholarship he was also engaged in more mystical kabbalistic beliefs and practices, involving revelatory dreams, a spiritual diary and ascetic self-criticism.
Miguel de Cerantes Saavedra best known as author of Don Quixote, but prolific as writer throughout a life which included naval warfare, Algerian imprisonment and tax collecting. Don Quixote asks questions about the moral character of chivalry.
Founder of the Dominican Order of friars with its emphasis on poverty, prayer and preaching. His main sphere of activity was the French region of Languedoc. Though his own preaching secured only a poor response, his life style did attract followers. He had papal encouragement to counter Cathar/Albigensian popularity – deemed to be based on heretical teachings. The extent of Dominic’s association with the violence already emerging in the persecution of Cathars and the subsequent Inquisition is debated, but there is no doubting his zeal to extirpate all that is perceived as inimical to God in the world.
Abraham ben David ha-Levi Ibn Daud was probably the first Jewish Aristotelian philosopher. He claimed that any legitimate philosophical claims were already known in Torah and Jewish tradition (eg in Psalm 139). Similarly, he remarked that Christians and Muslims already acknowledged the Torah, so it is their religious teachings which are in contention and in need of as yet unproven justification. He challenged the beliefs of Karaite Jews who rejected any post-biblical developments as fundamentalist. Living in free response to the commandments is the way to justice for all. It is possible that he was martyred in Toledo in anti-Jewish riots.
Solomon ben Judah ibn Gabirol was a Jewish poet and mystic living in Spain and writing in either Arabic or Hebrew. He lamented the suffering of his fellow Jews, expressed his reverence for God on whom all life and meaning depends, and commended a moral way of life rooted in the 5 senses.
Joint founder of the society of Jesus (the Jesuits), given papal approval in 1540. He had previously been a Spanish soldier and hospital worker. His Spiritual Exercises were written as a basis for training the Jesuit missionaries in preparation for their travels to Brazil, India and Japan. By the time of his death there were almost a thousand members. The exercises rooted religion in the heart and not just the head. Examination of conscience is fundamental to good learning. He also founded the Gregorian University in Rome.
Majorcan born troubadour who in mid-life had a mountain-top experience which led to his becoming a Franciscan. After nearly ten years studying Arabic and philosophy, he travelled extensively to present the Christian faith as a fulfilment of human destiny, not least for Jews and Muslims. His engagement with Islam, though it may have proved fatal, was heartfelt and led him to draw on some of its theological insights. He wrote in Catalan, Arabic and Latin. His approach (which included memory-learning tools) was widely influential after his death and included the creation of a professorial position in Lullism at the University of Sorbonne.
Moses ben Maimon (known as Rambam) was the leading figure of Medieval Judaism. Cordova born, the family fled to Morocco when he was 13, before moving to Palestine and then Cairo in 1165 where his medical expertise was put to the service of Saladin. He made a systematic collection of Jewish legal teachings, including the Mishnah which were published in Hebrew. Like most of his subsequent writings, his commentary on the Misnah was known as the Sayings of the Fathers and written in Arabic. To these he added theThirteen Principles of Faith. his Book of Commandments, and his Guide to the Perplexed. He consistently sought to interpret the Jewish faith in terms which were rationally intelligible, and reconcilable with the thinking of Aristotle. Both his ethical teaching and theologian reflection were highly regarded by many Christians and Muslims as well as fellow Jews – but they were met with contention by many others,
Domingo de Salazar was a Spanish Christian missionary, first sent as a Dominican friar to work with Mexican Indians and subsequently with Filipinos. He took issue with the brutal and enslaving behaviour of the Conquistadors and successfully negotiated official support from both the Pope and King of Spain,
George Santayana was internationally well respected as a reflective writer who expressed his philosopher in poetry as much as academic treatises. He was a shrewd observer of human failings, both individual and social, and sceptical of the claims and dangers of institutional religions and romantic idealisms. He had simultaneous regard for natural beauty and moral sense.
Spanish born Roman author who used his writings, as well as his social and political contacts (including including imperial family tutoring role), to convey his Stoic beliefs and values. Thus in letters and lessons he presented what he considered to be significant moral virtues. He also used the power of satire to expose the abuse of political power – as in his Pumpkinification of the Divine Claudius. His apparently protracted death by suicide (in obedience to the Emperor’s order) was carried out with typical equanimity.
From a background as a Dominican friar, he was appointed Grand Inquisitor in Spain, with the brief to root out those who practised their Jewish (Marranos) or Muslim (Moriscos) faith in secret from throughout the different regions of the country including Majorca. The questioning skills were developed to a fine art. Those refusing baptism were expelled in 1492. This plus the estimated 2000 deaths, along with the torture and expropriation of land and belongings in the name of Roman Catholicism is perverse religious prejudice at its worst.
Miguel de Unamuno was a poet, novelist and political essayist whose philosophy of life was to be continually mindful of mortality. He was critical of both political and religious ideologies and was vulnerable to state and church regimes that were defensive about their own authority.
Spanish Roman Catholic, joint founder of the Jesuits, Francis was canonised as saint shortly after his death and more recently named as Patron of Foreign Missions. Student and tutor in philosophy and theology at University of Paris for 11 years, and thereafter largely deployed in service of King of Portugal in that country's overseas territories in Asia - Goa, S. India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia and thereafter sharing his Christian faith in Japan and intentionally in China. Remarkable not least for his personal prowess, his disciplined life-style and his acknowledgement that moral sense from God is universal to humankind then complemented by biblical revelation.
The Life and Letters of St Francis Xavier http://archive.org/stream/lifelettersofstf01coleuoft/lifelettersofstf01coleuoft_djvu.txt