Socrates Arabus: Life and teachings


Socrates Arabus: Life and teachings. Jerusalem: The Max Schloessinger Memorial Foundation, 1995.
Socrates Arabus: Life and teachings


This book is a major resource for the study of Socrates as seen by the Muslim tradition. The characteristics attributed to him in Islamic thought are mainly in the realm of ethics. His wisdom was recorded in medieval Muslim literature in the form of sayings or descriptions of behavior, in a style reminiscent of prophetic traditions (ḥadīth) in Islam. The Arab Socrates is thus different from thinkers such as Plato or Aristotle, who were seen as systematic philosophers; this difference is probably due to the fact that some of their writings had been translated into Arabic.

Among the more important issues in the legacy of the Arab Socrates (who was sometimes confused with Diogenes) was his encounter with the king and his trial and death; his views on God; life and death; speech and silence, and on wisdom and stupidity.

The book contains approximately 900 items of information culled from various philosophical, historical, literary and theological sources in Arabic. The material is organized in two sections: biography and teachings. The Arabic text is accompanied by an English translation, copious footnotes, indices and a detailed critical apparatus. The book complements a previous study by the author, Socrates in medieval literature, published by the Magnes Press and Brill in 1991.


Last updated on 12/23/2018