The House of Wisdom
The role of Islamic scholarship in the development of “western” education is generally little known or acknowledged. For five hundred years, from the 8th to the 12th century, the Islamic world developed an educational culture that produced great scholars in every field. Literacy was the norm while at the same time in Europe illiteracy was the rule. The 11th and 12th centuries have been described as the golden age of Islamic education, incorporating Hellenistic, Hindu, and Persian science and philosophy into an Islamic framework. The works of Averroes (Abu al-Walid ibn Rushd), Avicenna (ibn Sind), and al-Khwarizmi became highly influential as Europeans discovered the richness of Islamic thought.
Jonathan Lyons provides a thorough, thoughtful, and highly readable assessment of this period of time in his 2009 book The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization. Click here to see a short video of his talk on the subject to a conference in 2013.