ʿAlī ibn Sahl Rabban aṭ-Ṭabarī's Indian Books, completed in the year 850 CE as an appendix to his medico-philosophical chef-d'œuvre "Paradise of Wisdom", belong to the most remarkable texts in Arabic scientific literature. The Indian Books offer a unique, interpretative summary of the main tenets of Ayurvedic medicine, as understood by Arabic-speaking scholars on the basis of now lost translations from Sanskrit. The present book centres around a critical edition and annotated translation of this crucial text, framed by a detailed introduction and extensive glossaries of terms. Ṭabarī's learned exposé of Ayurveda also throws a more nuanced light on the allegedly uncontested supremacy of Greek humoralism in 9th-century Arabic medicine.
Oliver Kahl, Ph.D. (1993), University of Manchester, is Research Fellow in the Department of Semitic Studies at Marburg University, Germany. He has published several books (mainly with Brill) as well as numerous articles on the history of Arabic science.
Arabists, Indologists, historians of medicine and science, cultural historians, and all those concerned with knowledge transfer in premodern times.