978–1031 - Japanese
Novelist. One of the earliest novelists, perhaps the earliest, her vast work, The Tale of Genji, describes life in the Heian court of Japan, an extraordinary society in which beauty (whether in nature, architecture, art, poetry, love, dress, or other aspects of ordinary life) was elevated to the highest rung of human values. Was life in this court artificial, cut off from the life and death struggles of ordinary Japanese? Or was it one of the high points of human cultural history? Fortunately Lady Murasaki has preserved it for us and for the ages.
980–1037 - Born near Bokhara
Philosopher and giant of Islamic learning. He wrote on the natural world, medicine, religion, philosophy, and theology, and for a time served as Vizier (first minister of the sovereign) in Persia. His very extensive metaphysics included a logical proof of God's existence which he felt complemented but did not displace revelation as our primary way of knowing about God. His writings on Aristotle were translated into Latin and reintroduced Aristotelianism (with some elements of Neo-Platonism) into Christian Europe.