Recovery of Aristotle  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The "Recovery of Aristotle" (or Rediscovery) refers to the copying or re-translating of most (95%) of Aristotle's other books (of ancient Greece), from Greek or Arabic text into Latin, during the Middle Ages, of the Latin West. The Recovery of Aristotle spanned about 100 years, from the middle 12th century into the 13th century, and copied or translated over 42 books (see: Corpus Aristotelicum), including Arabic texts from the Moors, where the previous Latin versions had only 2 books in general circulation: Categories and On Interpretation (De Interpretatione).

The lack of Latin translations had been due to several factors, including limited techniques for copying books, lack of access to the Greek texts, and few people who could read ancient Greek, while the Arabic versions were more accessible. The recovery of Aristotle's texts is considered a major period in mediaeval philosophy, leading to Aristotelianism. Because some of Aristotle's newly-translated views discounted the notions of a personal God, immortal soul, or creation, various leaders of the Catholic Church were inclined to censor those views for decades, such as lists of forbidden books in the Condemnations of 1210–1277 at the University of Paris. Meanwhile, Thomas Aquinas (c.1225-1274), at the end of that time period, was able to reconcile the viewpoints of Aristotelianism and Christianity, primarily in his work, Summa Theologica (written 1265–1274, in several volumes).

The rejection, by powerful religious leaders, to censor some recovered books of Aristotle, opened a new path to allow other ideas to be considered, or taught, regarding subjects in the banned books. Eventually, new ideas became more widespread, such as the heliocentric (sun-centered) sytem noted by Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), which rejected Aristotle's Earth-centered system, even though Galileo's ideas were later censored by Church officials during his lifetime, as well.

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