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The West and IslamReligion and Political Thought in World History$
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Antony Black

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199533206

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199533206.001.0001

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The Origins of Western Political Thought

The Origins of Western Political Thought

Chapter:
(p.145) 8 The Origins of Western Political Thought
Source:
The West and Islam
Author(s):

Antony Black (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199533206.003.0009

The problem of church and state initiated the development of Western political theory in Aquinas, John of Paris, and Marsilius. One difference between European and Islamic thought was the European idea of a natural law which applied to, and could be known by, all humans. Islamic ethics derived solely from the Shari'a which was known only to Muslims and in which rights and duties differed according to religious affiliation. Another difference was the European prioritization of liberty. Natural law and liberty led to a doctrine of human rights. The modern Western idea of the state was based on a distinction between religion and politics, church and state. Aristotle's Politics helped legitimize partially democratic city republics. These did not exist in Islam.

Keywords:   church and state, natural law, liberty, human rights, religious affiliation, modern Western state, Aquinas, Marsilius, republics, democratic

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