abbey of Saint-Denis
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AbstractAn invitation to contribute to a seminar on Islamophobia, held at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, provided an opportunity to revisit the ‘Gouguenheim Affair’ three years after its unfolding. This new reading of Aristote au Mont Saint-Michel (Paris, Seuil, 2008) examines the importance Sylvain Gouguenheim attaches to an early medieval text for understanding the diffusion of Hellenism in Latin Europe, namely, a letter from Pope Paul I to Pepin the Short. This document, largely neglected by Latinists because of its obscurities, has provoked the attention of Hellenists, who in their great majority have shown the difficulty of extracting positive information from it. The situation is notable if one remembers that it was largely scholars of Latin and Arabic who led the attack on the claims made by Gougenheim. In this particular case, the ‘Gougenheim Affair’ throws a crude light on the minimal value that, for historical reasons, higher education in France accords to medieval philosophy. The scandal was inspired, certainly, by an agrégé in history, but it also illustrates a lacuna in French tertiary education in the teaching of medieval philosophy.