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tion of the senses, or traditions from the prophets and learned men." His biographer in the monograph "Maimonides," published by the Jewish Publication Society of America,1 expresses his further views on the subject in compendious form, and then gives his final conclusion as follows:
"' Works on astrology are the product of fools, who mistook vanity for wisdom. Men are inclined to believe whatever is written in a book, especially if the book be ancient; and in olden times disaster befell Israel because men devoted themselves to such idolatry instead of practising the arts of martial defence and government.' He says, that he had himself studied every extant astrological treatise, and had convinced himself that none deserved to be called scientific. Maimonides then proceeds to distinguish between astrology and astronomy, in the latter of which lies true and necessary wisdom. He ridicules the supposition that the fate of man could be dependent on the constellations, and urges that such a theory robs life of purpose, and makes man a slave of destiny. 'It is true,' he concludes, ' that you may find strange utterances in the Rabbinical literature which imply a belief in the potency of the stars at a man's nativity, but no one is justified in surrendering his own rational opinions because this or that sage erred, or because an allegorical remark is expressed literally. A man must never cast his own judgment behind him; the eyes are set in front, not in the back.'"
While Maimonides could be so positive in his opinions with regard to a subject on which he felt competent to say something, he was extremely mod1" Maimonides," by David Tellin and Israel Abrahams, Philadelphia,
est with regard to many of the great problems of medicine. He often uses the expression in his writings, " I do not see how to explain this matter." He quotes with approval from a Rabbi of old who had counselled his students, "teach thy tongue to say, I do not know." In this, of course, he has given the best possible evidence of his largeness of mind and his capacity for making advance in knowledge. It is when men are ready to say, " I do not know," that progress becomes possible. It is very easy to rest in a conscious or unconscious pretence of knowledge that obscures the real question at issue. A great thinker, who lived in the century in which Maimonides died, Roger Bacon, set down as one of the four principal obstacles to advance in knowledge indeed, as the one of the four that hampered intellectual progress the most, the fact that men feared to say, " I do not know."
One of the most interesting features of Maimonides' career for the modern time is the influence that his writings exerted over the rising intellectual life of Europe within a half century after his death. Most people would be rather inclined to think that this Jewish author of the East would have very little influence over the thinkers and teachers of Europe within a generation after his death. He died in 1204, just at the beginning of one of the great productive centuries of humanity, perhaps one of the greatest of them all. In literature, in art, in architecture, in philosophy, and in education, this century made wonderful strides. Two of its greatest teachers, Albertus Magnus and his pupil, Thomas Aquinas, quote from Moses JEgyptaeus, the European name for Maimonides at that time, and evidently knew his writings very well. Maimonides was for them an important connecting link with the world of old Greek thought. Others of the writers and teachers of this time, as William of Auvergne, and the two great Franciscans, Alexander of Hales and Duns Scotus, were also influenced by Maimonides. In a word, the educational world of that time was much more closely united than we might think, and it did not take long for a great writer's thoughts to make themselves felt several thousand miles away. Maimonides was, then, in his own time one of the world teachers, and, in a certain sense, he must always remain that, as representing a special development of what is best in human nature.
GREAT ARABIAN PHYSICIANS
In order to understand the place of the Arabs in medicine and in science, a few words as to the rise of this people to political power, and then to the cultivation of literature and of science, are necessary. We hear of the Arabs as hireling soldiers fighting for others during the centuries just after Christ, and especially in connection with the story of the famous Queen Zenobia at Palmyra. After the destruction of this city we hear nothing more of them until the time of Mohammed. During these six and a half centuries there is little question of education of any kind among them except that at the end of the sixth century, the Persian King Chosroes I, who was much interested in medicine, encouraged the medical school in Djondisabour, in Arabistan, founded at the end of the fifth century by the Nestorian Christians, who continued as the teachers there until it became one of the most important schools of the East. It was here that the first Arab physicians were trained, and here that the Christian physicians who practised medicine among the Arabs were educated.
Among the Arabs themselves, before the time of Mohammed, there had been very little interest in medicine. Gurlt notes that even the physician of the Prophet himself was, according to tradition, a
Christian. Mohammed's immediate successors were not interested in education, and their people mainly turned to Christian and Jewish physicians for whatever medical treatment they needed. When the Caliphs came to be rulers of the Mohammedan Empire, they took special pains to encourage the study of philosophy and medicine; though dissection was forbidden by the Koran, most of the other medical sciences, and especially botany and all the therapeutic arts, were seriously cultivated.
Until the coming of Mohammed, the Arabs had been wandering tribes, getting some fame as hireling soldiers, but now, under the influence of a feeling of community in religion, and led by the military genius of some of Mohammed's successors, whose soldiers were inspired by the religious feelings of the sect, they made great conquests. The Mohammedan Empire extended from India to Spain within a century after Mohammed's death. Carthage was taken and destroyed, Constantinople was threatened. In 661, scarcely forty years after the hegira or flight of Mohammed, from which good Mohammedans date their era, the capital was transferred from Medina to Damascus, to be transferred from here to Bagdad just about a century later, where it remained until the Mongols made an end of the Abbasside rulers about the middle of the thirteenth century. At the beginning the followers of Mohammed were opposed to knowledge and education of all kinds. Mohammed himself had but little. According to tradition, he could not read or write. The story told with regard to the Caliph Omar and the great library of Alexandria, seems to have a