Medieval Arabic and Islamic studies

Research projects:

Arabic philosophy and history of thought

Description: The main factor that allowed philosophy to be written in Arabic was the meeting of the Muslim world with the philosophy written in Greek, in the early years of Islam. The extensive production of the main authors between the 9th century A.D./3rd century H. and 13th century A.D./7th century H. gave philosophy a new physiognomy, to the extent of uniting, for example, Aristotelianism and Platonism – apparently irreconcilable thoughts – in large-scale systems. After the period of translation and reception of Greek philosophy in the Arab-Islamic world, Arabic-language philosophy was systematised by Ibn Sina (Avicenna), notably using the works of Al-Farabi. Criticism and review followed this period, through the works of Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and Ibn Khaldun, completing the cycle of falsafa production in the classical period of Islam. The impact of this second period led to epistemological reviews of all sorts, making falsafa, among other things, one of the constituent elements of Latin medieval thought from the 7th century A.D. on.

Professor in charge: Miguel Attie Filho (


Transformation of traditional ideas into Arabic medical subject works

Description: Greek medical subject works, especially Dioscorides,’ had a great impact in the formation and development of medical science and pharmaceuticals among Arabs, notably from the 8th to the 13th century. This project aims to trace these influences in Arabic works and analyse its modes and means of transmission, encompassing the transformation and establishment of both terminology and ideas. Ibn al-Baytar, considered the largest Muslim botanist of all time, brings in his most important work, ‘Compendium on simple Drugs,’ the possibility of conducting such research that, although known, has not received so far the studies it deserves because of the difficulty in fixing the text from the various manuscript copies of this work. The project is of great importance to several areas for its interdisciplinary character, especially for the dialogue between linguists and historians of science.

Professor in charge: Safa Alferd Abou Chahla Jubran (