Averroism

Averroism refers to a school of medieval philosophy based on the application of the works of 12th-century Andalusian philosopher Averroes, a commentator on Aristotle, in 13th-century Latin Christian scholasticism.

Averroes depicted in a painting by Italian artist Andrea di Bonaiuto. Florence, 14th century.

Latin translations of Averroes' work became widely available at the universities which were springing up in Western Europe in the 13th century, and were received by scholasticists such as Siger of Brabant and Boetius of Dacia, who examined Christian doctrines through reasoning and intellectual analysis.[1][2]

The term Averroist was coined by Thomas Aquinas in the restricted sense of the Averroists' "unity of the intellect" doctrine in his book De unitate intellectus contra Averroistas.[3] Based on this, Averroism came to be near-synonymous with atheism in late medieval usage.[4]

As a historiographical category, Averroism was first defined by Ernest Renan in Averroès et l'averroïsme (1852) in the sense of radical or heterodox Aristotelianism.[5]

The reception of Averroes in Jewish thought has been termed "Jewish Averroism". Jewish Averroist thought flourished in the later 14th century, and gradually declined in the course of the 15th century. The last representative of Jewish Averroism was Elia del Medigo, writing in 1485.