Kultur & Literatur
National Geographic History

National Geographic History July/August 2018

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1 Min.
from the editor

When studying history, historians look to the facts. Knowing names, dates, and places helps explain past events, but there is often another factor whose influence remains intangible: luck. Fate’s role in major events cannot be denied, and perhaps no ruler understood that more than Queen Elizabeth I. Chance decreed that Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, would not give birth to a son, which soured her young daughter’s luck. Elizabeth’s mother was executed, her half brother declared her a bastard, and her half sister threw her in prison. Elizabeth survived this series of unfortunate events to become queen, and England entered a golden age, one that included the defeat of the Spanish Armada, a victory often credited to Elizabeth’s good luck rather than her good strategy. Despite her successes, it seems that Elizabeth I…

3 Min.
is this seal the mark of the prophet isaiah?

Although the words of the biblical Book of Isaiah have inspired Jews and Christians for generations, no archaeological references to the prophet have been found from the time when he lived. That may be about to change, thanks to a tiny clay seal unearthed from an ancient Jerusalem rubbish pit. If archaeologist Eilat Mazar’s hunch is correct, the half-inch seal bears the name of the Prophet Isaiah himself. In an article in Biblical Archaeology Review the Israeli scholar argues that although the lettering on the artifact is damaged, it may read “Belonging to Isaiah the prophet.” If it does, it would be stunning physical evidence of the existence of a figure central to Jewish and Christian theology. Many scholars now believe that the Book of Isaiah does not record the words…

1 Min.
the elusive isaiah, prophet of kings

HIS ORACLES shaped Jewish national history, and his assurance that “a virgin will conceive and bear a son” is claimed by Christians as the prophetic basis for their faith. But who was Isaiah? Scholars speculate that he was probably of noble birth; his forthright advice to King Hezekiah—portrayed as flawed but righteous—suggests steeliness in a time when the Jews found themselves caught between the might of Egypt to the west and Assyria to the east. Despite his wealthy origins, Isaiah faulted the ruling class for neglecting their duties to the poor, and his vision of justice and peace resonates now as much as it must have done centuries ago: “And he shall judge among the nations . . . and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears…

1 Min.
ideas and adversaries

1126 Averroës is born in Córdoba into a respected family of qadis (religious jurists) and imams of the city’s Great Mosque. 1169 Appointed qadi of Seville, Averroës will become qadi of his native Córdoba two years later. 1182 He is appointed doctor to the Almohad caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf, who values Averroës’s philosophical learning and his medical expertise, while protecting him from powerful enemies 1194-97 Following a power shift, Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur strips Averroës of all his titles to appease theologians. 1198 After heeding the caliph’s summons to travel to Marrakech in North Africa, Averroës dies.…

6 Min.
averroës, the philosopher who saved aristotle

Averroës devoted three decades of his life to writing and thinking about Aristotle. Aristotle is one of the best known ancient Greek philosophers, but there was a period, after the sixth century A.D., when his works had fallen out of favor and were almost lost to time. Through his writings, one 12th-century Muslim philosopher pulled Aristotle back from the brink and put him at the center of intellectual European thought. Theologian, scholar, and physician, Ibn Rushd—commonly recognized by the Latinized version of his name, Averroës devoted three decades of his life to writing and thinking about Aristotle. As he tried to understand and explain the philosopher’s original intent, Averroës was forced to defend his beliefs in spiritually and politically turbulent times. Son of Al-Andalus As part of the westward phase of the Muslim conquest…

1 Min.
regarding women

IN STRIKING CONTRAST to prevailing attitudes at the time, Averroës’s view of women was very progressive. Following Plato, he argues that “since some women are formed with eminence and praiseworthy disposition, it is not impossible that there be philosophers and rulers among them.” If women played a more active role in society, it would benefit the whole state. “The competence of women is unknown, however, in these cities since they are only taken for procreation and hence are placed at the service of their husbands and confined to procreation, upbringing, and suckling. This nullifies their [other] activities. Since women in these cities are not prepared with respect to any of the human virtues, they frequently resemble mere plants.”…