The Ten Spheres of Al-Farabi: A Medieval Cosmology

The Ten Spheres of Al-Farabi: A Medieval Cosmology

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Author(s): Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

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DOI: 10.18483/ijSci.517 592 2110 34-39 Volume 3 - Jun 2014


Abu Nasr Al-Farabi, who lived in the ninth century, left a valuable heritage for Islamic thinkers after him. In the framework of his metaphysics, he developed a theory of emanation describing the origin of the material universe. Ten intellects or intelligences are coming in succession from the First Being, and, from each of them, a sphere of the universe is produced. The first intellect created the outermost sphere and a second intellect. From this second intelligence, the sphere of the fixed stars and a third intellect had been generated. The process continues, through the spheres of the planets, downwards to the sphere of the Moon. From the Moon, a pure intelligence, defined as the “active intelligence”, provides a bridge between heavens and earth. In the paper, we discuss this cosmology, comparing it to the cosmology of Robert Grosseteste, an Oxonian thinker of the thirteen century.


Al-Farabi, Robert Grosseteste, Medieval Cosmology, Medieval Science


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International Journal of Sciences is Open Access Journal.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.
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