Rhazes (ca. 865-923/32)

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Rhazes (ca. 865-923/32), a renowned alchemist, physician, and Muslim philosopher, lived and worked when the Abbasid Empire was at its height. During this era the empire was the focal point of learning in the known world, and Rhazes was the beneficiary of rulers committed to supporting science and medicine. Along with the Muslim intellectuals Averroes and Avicenna, Rhazes had a great influence on the West during the Middle Ages. Rhazes was well known in Europe, and Chaucer referred to him as one of the fifteen great sources of knowledge.1 Rhazes' influence stemmed chiefly from his medical works, which were important source books for Western physicians until the rise of modern medicine in the nineteenth century. His philosophical writings were less important, largely because they were suppressed in the Islamic world because of their heretical content. Nevertheless, the whole of his work illustrates the extent to which Greco-Roman philosophy had been preserved in the Arab world. The Goodrich Archive contains Rhazes' most acclaimed work on human psychology and spirituality, The Spiritual Physic.


[1] Chaucer, Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, in Great Books of the Western World (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1988), 22:166.


Works by the Author

Arberry, Arthur J., trans. The Spiritual Physick of Rhazes. London: John Murray.


The biographical material about the author originally appeared on The Goodrich Room: Interactive Tour website.

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