University of Udine

DIpartimento di Studi UManistici
e del patrimonio culturale

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Averroism. History, Developments and Implications of a Cross-cultural Tradition

Averroism. History, Developments and Implications of a Cross-cultural Tradition

Funder: MIUR
Scientific Director: Prof. Andrea Tabarroni

Averroism. History, Developments and Implications of a Cross-cultural Tradition


The term ‘Averroism’ refers to a historically and doctrinally complex phenomenon, characterized by some peculiar elements, such as its cross-cultural diffusion, its long duration, its scientific pervasiveness, its ability to embody a precise model of rationality, its idea that philosophers and scientists are the best part of humanity, and its essential role in the rebirth of a solid philosophical tradition in Italy. These elements constituted a tradition – or perhaps more aptly – a set of traditions which had a profound effect on the development of both the Jewish and Western thought.
The AVERROISM project, by gathering nearly all of the scholars based in Italy currently interested in the different aspects of this set of traditions, aims:

  • to account for this complexity and long historical stratification by taking a broad, overarching approach;
  • to assume the history of Averroism as a concrete and historically verifiable case study of inclusive and fruitful interaction between different cultures – a task which appears increasingly urgent in a time when diffused Islamophobia and the ‘fear of the Other’ seem to push towards a retreat into short-sighted and risky identitarian politics. By adopting a fresh, interdisciplinary and cross-chronological approach, AVERROISM intends to achieve these overall objectives through four main research strands, each corresponding to a Research Unit:Averroism and Anti-Averroism. A Centuries-old Opposition in the
    1. History of Philosophy and Science (Bari; PI: Pasquale Porro)
    2. Averroes’ Natural Philosophy and its Reception (Lecce; AI: Fiorella Retucci)
    3. Averroes Transformed (13th-18th centuries) (Milan; AI: Luca Bianchi)
    4. Averroes in Italy and Through Italy (Udine; AI: Andrea Tabarroni).

The specific research activities and targets of the four Units will include:

  • producing critical editions of unpublished Latin texts (including the Latin version – i.e. the only complete extant version – of Averroes’ Long Commentary on the Physics, texts of Italian Averroists, significant anti-Averroistic texts, in particular by John Duns Scotus and John of Naples) and annotated translations of texts not yet available in Italian (such as the Long Commentary on the De anima);
  • specific contributions on Italian Averroism (especially at Bologna and Padua) and on Averroes’ influence in metaphysics, physics and medicine;
  • a mapping of the various traditions that refer to Averroes in the Middle Ages, but also in the Renaissance and in the Modern Period, paying attention to the differences of the period and context;
  • a reconstruction of the different phases and different themes of anti-Averroism, on the basis of the assumption that censorships and doctrinal oppositions often contribute, in a negative way, to defining the contours of a tradition;
  • an examination of the specificity of Jewish Averroism, including its relation to Latin Averroism;
  • a methodological and theoretical reflection on Averroism as a case of interchange or hybridization of cultures.

AVERROISM also intends to adopt specific forms of public engagement and disseminate its scientific outcomes by setting up a project website addressed to a non-specialist audience, and preparing educational material (digital presentations)