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Atheism in the Medieval Islamic and European World

The Influence of Persian and Arabic Ideas of Doubt and Skepticism on Medieval European Literary Thought
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Did god exist a thousand years ago? Atheism in The Medieval Islamic and European World discusses and analyzes the origins of questioning God and Religion in Medieval Middle Eastern and Europe literature and thought.

In the Middle East, two Medieval Texts: A Thousand and One Nights and Gurgani’s Vis and Ramin are analyzed in terms of questioning God and His actions. In Europe, Dante; Abelard; Chaucer; the author of Chanson de Roland; and the author of The Pearl Poem ask similar questions. Azinfar argues that the Europeans were influenced by the religious skepticism inherent in Medieval Middle eastern texts.

Azinfar also traces the roots of the ideas of Rationalism, Existentialism, Surrealism, and Feminism from the medieval Islamic world and follows them to the Medieval West. She shows how the period which we believed was steeped in religious dogmatism is actually an analytical period, rooted in rationality, advancement of science and skepticism. Tales about knights on quests rescuing damsels—actually unveil theories on questioning traditional views on the stance of religion, the possibility of the existence of a physical world, and nihilism.


Fatemeh Chehregosha Azinfar received her Ph.D from Harvard University. She is the recipient of two Ford Foundation Fellowships. She has taught at Harvard, UCLA and Trinity College. Her other books include: Reconsidering Aristotle; The Event Is Being: Existentialism, Philosophy and Modernism; and A Battle With Life, a Novel.

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