Monday, July 25, 2011

Maimonides was a Muslim ...

... according to UNESCO. Who knew?

(Plus, from the comments, "Maimonides is not their monides.")

Discuss this post at the Quodlibeta Forum

4 comments:

Noons said...

the link didn't work, but I did searching and couldn't find a UNESCO link on the ynetnews site, but I did find this UNESCO document:

http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0007/000704/070484eo.pdf

that describes Maimonides was a Jewish thinker, though his family had to pretend they converted to Islam.

Jim S. said...

Hmmm. The link works for me. Here's the IP address: http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/07/24/unesco-now-rewrites-history-its-own-way-great-jews-are-suddenly-great-muslims/

Noons said...

It's getting the pajamas media logo, but nothing else.

But either way I dug a little deeper and found that the document I linked to was from 1986.

Also, the UNESCO document in question that lists Maimonides as a Muslim thinker was in one paragraph in a French paper:

http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/SC/pdf/sc_usr05_arab_fr.pdf

The paragraph in question is translated here:

After the recovery of Toledo from the Moors by the Crusaders in 1085, European scholars flocked there to translate the ancient classical texts from the Greek (which Europe had forgotten) to Arabic and Hebrew and Latin, making it the first part of the European Middle Ages (1100-1543), the names of some European scholars appeared in scientific literature next to a large number of Muslim scholars, including Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Maimouna Ibn Moussa (Maimonides), Tousi and Ibn Nafis.

It could just as easily have been a simple error. Considering the much longer essay from 1986 detailing Maimonides' life as a Jewish thinker, and the more recent document where his name is listed among several others, an error seems to be the most plausible explanation.

Hanlon's razor is tragically absent from today's discourse.

Jim S. said...

The claim is that they've listed him as a Muslim under the name Musa
Bin Memoun. I assume it was just sloppy of them. Here's a link to the UNESCO report, with Musa Bin Memoun appearing in a short list of "Muslim scientists" on the bottom of the second page:
http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/SC/pdf/sc_usr05_arab_en.pdf

I haven't read the whole thing, but it looks like it's repeating the whole Dark Ages canard.