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That was again material done in the and s.
The lectures I noticed at the time, they started with an audience of about 50 people for the first lecture and the second lecture went to about people, the third lecture they filled the room george saliba which the lectures were assigned and by the 6th lecture, they were moved into the largest auditorium room at the American University of Beirut that could take about people at the time.
It is obviously a testament to the absolutely charming skills of Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr when he speaks and his rhetorical abilities.
He is literally a gifted speaker and there is no doubt george saliba that. At the same time, it was also a testament to how much interest there was in the subject of the what the Arabs call the "turath", meaning the classical heritage of Islamic civilisation and on this aspect in particular meaning the natural sciences, philosophy etc, to fill in Beirut in the early s an auditorium of about george saliba people.
That was an impressive site.
I just happened george saliba be standing right next to the most distinguished historian by the name of Niqula Ziadi, an historian of Damascus during Mamluk times par excellence. Ziadi looked at me and said: Right in front of your eyes you can see how much interest there is in this subject.
What was the situation in Europe in terms of astronomical scientific ideas before the theories and ideas developed by Muslim scholars began to be translated?
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Well, you will have to talk about different kinds of contacts with Europe. There are of course, as everybody knows, the contacts that took place during the Middle Ages. I think sometime between the 10th century CE up to about the th century.
That period, although it is not comprehensively studied, but at least it is much better known than another period, and it should be distinguished from the later period that I will come to mention in a short while.
If we just focus on the medieval period, the scientific material that the Europeans knew in the Latin language before the medieval period were very limited.
I think the most sophisticated text that one could possibly think of is the "Encyclopaedia" of Isodor of Seville and that is more or less, if you could compare it to the material that was translated from Arabic language during this period, a folkloric kind of explanation on how the natural world works around george saliba.
It was nothing to compare with the sophistication of the earlier Greek material. So one can say that Europe by the 10th century was in a period of intellectual decline and in a sense had not yet established contact with the glorious Greek past.
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It is only george saliba in our modern mind that we think the Graeco-Roman period as a continuum and everybody was sort of knowing what everybody was doing but that is not really true.
In the 11th, 10th, 9th centuries, you will find that the late Roman period was almost totally ignorant of the tremendous achievements of the classical Greek period.
So you could say that the 10th century when they came into direct contact with the Islamic civilisation, not only because Muslims now are amongst the Europeans, you have to remember the presence of the Muslims in Andalusia despite being already in the 8th century and by the 10th century, it was already creating one of the most flourishing scientific and philosophical periods george saliba Europe had ever known.
So the sheer proximity of this flourishing activity in Spain of course produced a fantastic interest.
And of course we can document and translate the text books of the people who supported them. It finished by about the 13th century more or george saliba, where we can say in almost every case which Arabic text george saliba translated and who was the Latin translator and what happened to the text afterwards.
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By the 14th century, this activity and of course the george saliba period by the way from the 10th to george saliba 14th century, is a very sad period.
People do not realise. This was a period of war between Islam and Christendom under the flags of the crusades.