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Christian theology and Peripatetic (Aristotelian) teaching in Treatise on Law,

Ibn Khaldun[edit]

The 14th-century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun is considered one of the greatest political theorists. The British philosopher-anthropologist Ernest Gellner considered Ibn Khaldun’s definition of government, “…an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself,” the best in the history of political theory. For Ibn Khaldun, government should be restrained to a minimum for as a necessary evil, it is the constraint of men by other men.[19]

Medieval Europe[edit]

Medieval political philosophy in Europe was heavily influenced by Christian thinking. It had much in common with the Mutazilite Islamic thinking in that the Roman Catholics thought subordinating philosophy to theology did not subject reason to revelation but in the case of contradictions, subordinated reason to faith as the Asharite of Islam. The Scholastics by combining the philosophy of Aristotle with the Christianity of St. Augustine emphasized the potential harmony inherent in reason and revelation.[20] Perhaps the most influential political philosopher of medieval Europe was St. Thomas Aquinas who helped reintroduce Aristotle‘s works, which had only been transmitted to Catholic Europe through MuslimSpain, along with the commentaries of Averroes. Aquinas’s use of them set the agenda, for scholastic political philosophy dominated European thought for centuries even unto the Renaissance.[21]

Some medieval political philosophers, such as Aquinas in his Summa Theologica, developed the idea that a king who is a tyrant is no king at all and could be overthrown. Others, like Nicole Oresme in his Livre de Politiques, categorically denied this right to overthrow an unjust ruler.

The Magna Carta, viewed by many as a cornerstone of Anglo-American political liberty, explicitly proposes the right to revolt against the ruler for justice’s sake. Other documents similar to Magna Carta are found in other European countries such as Spain and Hungary.[22]

European Renaissance[edit]

During the Renaissance secular political philosophy began to emerge after about a century of theological political thought in Europe. While the Middle Ages did see secular politics in practice under the rule of the Holy Roman Empire, the academic field was wholly scholastic and therefore Christian in nature.