Islamic Medical and Scientific Tradition

1st Edition

Peter Pormann

Published September 2, 2010
Reference - 1528 Pages
ISBN 9780415479530 - CAT# Y001080
Series: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies


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Islam developed over the course of its history one of the world’s most innovative and interesting scientific and medical traditions. In this context, the term Islam should not simply be understood as referring to the religion of the prophet Muhammad, but rather to a civilization which was once surprisingly open to foreign influences, and eager to engage with the proverbial Other. Yet Islam is often perceived as being opposed to (Western) science and methodology.

Islamic Medical and Scientific Tradition presents a selection of works that illustrate the intellectual curiosity and theoretical vigour with which Arabs and non-Arabs living in the medieval Muslim world pursued scientific endeavours. The focus is firmly on scholarship published within the last twenty years, during which period the discipline has enjoyed a new bloom.

Starting with the theoretical framework of the sciences in Islamic philosophy and theology, this new collection from Routledge elucidates the position of mathematics, physics, and medicine within the hierarchy of the sciences. Another topic discussed is Ancient (or Greek) versus traditional (or Muslim) sciences; and Islamic theological views on the pure pursuit of knowledge. The life sciences of Biology, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine are examined, as are those of the physical sciences: Physics and Astronomy. The occult ‘sciences’ of Astrology, Alchemy, and Geomancy are also discussed. Close attention is paid to the mathematical sciences of Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Optics (including the introduction of zero, the invention of algebra, the squaring of the circle, conics, and the nature of vision). The practical sciences, Agriculture, Engineering, and Horticulture, are also examined in detail.

Fully indexed, and with a comprehensive introduction newly written by the editor, that places the collected material in its historical and intellectual context, this is an essential work destined to be valued by scholars, students, and researchers as a vital one-stop reference resource.

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