Dating across the protestantcatholic divide
Our deprecating image is an unsophisticated society overwhelmed by imports from a previous civilization and unable to get its own creativity off the ground. Importing ideas has its own intellectual rhythm: passive at ﬁrst, it is capable of turning into the normal creative process within a few generations.
We see this in the Buddhist philosophies of medieval China, where the receiving environment already had a peripheral region here overwhelmed by sophisticated imports.
In the regions of Islam and European Christendom, the imports came into tribal societies newly organized into state and church.
What made their philosophies distinctive in quality was not so much their initial dependence onfor a Whiggish interpretation of intellectual history, in which defenders of tradition battle against openness to new ideas.
(Aland and Aland, 1987) when the Christian Gospels, letters of Saint Paul, and a few other texts of the founding generations were accepted as holy scripture while other candidate texts were excluded, along with rival organizations (such as the Gnostic circles) which carried them.
Similarly in Islam, the generations after the death of Muhammad were devoted to the redaction of Muhammad’s revelations (the QurÁan, ca.
Imports are rarely passive; indigenously developed factions have their own motivations for seeking out imports and reacting to what comes in.
Our aim must be to look at the creative and un-387intellectual conﬂict which drives creativity everywhere.
Christianity and Islam stand out because the organizational conditions were present relatively early to close their holy canons.
It was here that the relations between religion and philosophy became explicitly an issue.
In these circumstances a crucial topic of philosophy must be the relationship between “faith” and “reason.” This in turn gave impetus to questions of epistemology.
One might suppose that this circumstance affects only arbitrary aspects of the context of thought.
Once an intellectual network becomes organized, it generates its own problems and standards.
If the philosophical community continues under religious challenge, further positions are generated, and the ﬁeld is propelled into a epistemology.