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Editor / Translator: Oliver Kahl
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.
Volume Editors: Walter Pohl and Veronika Wieser
This book compares the ways in which new powers arose in the shadows of the Roman Empire and its Byzantine and Carolingian successors, of Iran, the Caliphate and China in the first millennium CE. These new powers were often established by external military elites who had served the empire. They remained in an uneasy balance with the remaining empire, could eventually replace it, or be drawn into the imperial sphere again. Some relied on dynastic legitimacy, others on ethnic identification, while most of them sought imperial legitimation. Across Eurasia, their dynamic was similar in many respects; why were the outcomes so different?
Contributors are Alexander Beihammer, Maaike van Berkel, Francesco Borri, Andrew Chittick, Michael R. Drompp, Stefan Esders, Ildar Garipzanov, Jürgen Paul, Walter Pohl, Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, Helmut Reimitz, Jonathan Shepard, Q. Edward Wang, Veronika Wieser, and Ian N. Wood.
Mit einer kritischen Edition des Kitāb al-Kifāya fī l-hidāya fī uṣūl ad-dīn des Aḥmad b. Maḥmūd b. Abī Bakr Nūr ad-Dīn aṣ-Ṣābūnī al-Ḥanafī al-Buḫārī (gest. 580/1184)
Nūr al-Dīn al-Ṣābūnī was a prominent jurist and theologian in Samarqand in the late 6th/12th century. His theological works are in the tradition of the Ḥanafite-Māturīdite current of Sunni kalām. In addition, al-Ṣābūnī’s argumentation reflects the increasing engagement of Māturīdite mutakallimūn with their wide intellectual-historical environment. His discussions with the famous scholar Faḫr al-Dīn al-Rāzī are attested.
In the present volume, Angelika Brodersen uses a text-critical edition of al-Ṣābūnī’s comprehensive theological work, the Kitāb al-Kifāya fī l-hidāya fī uṣūl al-dīn, to analyze, based on selected thematic examples, how both elements of Māturīdite theological tradition and transformation processes occur in al-Ṣābūnī’s work, which contributed to the consolidation of the Māturīdiyya as a Sunni school of thought.

Nūr ad-Dīn aṣ-Ṣābūnī war ein prominenter Jurist und Theologe im Samarkand des ausgehenden 6./12. Jahrhunderts. Seine theologischen Werke stehen einerseits in der Tradition der ḥanafitisch-māturīditischen Strömung des sunnitischen kalāms. Auf der anderen Seite spiegelt aṣ-Ṣābūnīs Argumentation die zunehmende Auseinandersetzung der māturīditischen mutakallimūn mit ihrem allgemeinen geistesgeschichtlichen Umfeld wider. Bezeugt sind seine Diskussionen mit dem berühmten Gelehrten Faḫr ad-Dīn ar-Rāzī.
Im vorliegenden Band untersucht Angelika Brodersen auf der Grundlage einer textkritischen Edition von aṣ-Ṣābūnīs theologischem Hauptwerk, dem Kitāb al-Kifāya fī l-hidāya fī uṣūl ad-dīn, anhand ausgewählter Themenbeispiele, wie sich im Werk aṣ-Ṣābūnīs sowohl Elemente māturīditischer theologischer Tradition als auch Transformationsprozesse verfolgen lassen, die zur Konsolidierung der Māturīdiyya als sunnitische Schulrichtung beigetragen haben.
Comparative Perspectives in the History and the Philosophy of Science
Editor: Giovanna Lelli
This book highlights the emergence of a new mathematical rationality and the beginning of the mathematisation of physics in Classical Islam. Exchanges between mathematics, physics, linguistics, arts and music were a factor of creativity and progress in the mathematical, the physical and the social sciences. Goods and ideas travelled on a world-scale, mainly through the trade routes connecting East and Southern Asia with the Near East, allowing the transmission of Greek-Arabic medicine to Yuan Muslim China. The development of science, first centred in the Near East, would gradually move to the Western side of the Mediterranean, as a result of Europe’s appropriation of the Arab and Hellenistic heritage. Contributors are Paul Buell, Anas Ghrab, Hossein Masoumi Hamedani, Zeinab Karimian, Giovanna Lelli, Marouane ben Miled, Patricia Radelet-de Grave, and Roshdi Rashed.
Author: Paul D. Buell

Abstract

Cinggis-qan (d. 1227) and their successors created the largest empire in history, and although the Mongol hordes have been most famous for rapine, pillage, war, and conquest, their overall reputation has recently achieved a well-deserved and long-awaited rehabilitation, based on Mongol achievements in many other areas than empire building. A new generation of scholars (led by Jack Weatherford) now recognizes that the Mongols, when they were not conquering and setting up empires and states, were often busy spreading cultural, technological and even scientific goods from one part of the world to the other, everything from food to philosophy and medicinals and medical lore, as well as achievements of science and technology.

Paul Buell discusses the transmission of Arabic medicine to China as attested for example in the Huihui yaofang 回回藥方 (HHYF), “Muslim Medicinal Recipes”, or perhaps better, “Western Medicinal Recipes”, so much is after all Greek. It is a unique document one that is Arabic Medicine on the surface but in fact shows many other influences, not just that of mainstream Arabic Medicine.

In: Mathematics and Physics in Classical Islam

Abstract

In “Art and Mathematics, Two Different Paths to the same Truth”, Patricia Radelet-de Grave analyses the classifications of Arabic abstract designs made by Hermann Weyl (1885–1955) and Andreas Speiser (1885–1970) based on the symmetries that organise them. For example, it is about abstract designs of Alhambra fortress in Muslim Spain (thirteenth-fourteenth centuries), which belong to a tradition of geometric motifs that goes back to ancient Egypt. The work of classification of groups made by Weyl and Speiser contributed largely to the spreading out of group theory in twentieth century mathematics.

The notions of group and of symmetry are deeply connected. A symmetry group is the set of all geometrical transformations under which the group remains unchanged or invariant. The fundamental mathematical idea of Arab-Islamic designs is indeed “invariance”, which means that motifs remains the same after a transformation in the plane: displacement, rotation or reflection. Radelet-de Grave argues that they were the product of a deep mathematical reflection, observing that all possible transformations of certain symmetry groups can be found in Arab geometric designs.

In: Mathematics and Physics in Classical Islam

Abstract

Marouane ben Miled analyses the impact of grammar in the emergence of algebra as a formal language in Arabic mathematics. He refers to the use of mathematics in Arabic grammar and lexicography in the eighth century. If Roshdi Rashed showed how al-Khalīl (eighth century) used combinatorial mathematical results to produce all the possible entries of a dictionary, submitting them to a phonological study, ben Miled asks himself how grammar methods were used in mathematics. He explains that al-Khawārizmī’s Algebra (written between 813 and 833) consists of a syntactical construction followed by geometrical and arithmetical interpretations. Algebra, a formal language where geometrical and arithmetical concepts, constructions and propositions of the Ancients meet, acts as a common empty language where both arithmetic and geometry find expression. Ben Miled focuses on the use of the rule of qiyās (analogy)—which occupies a central position in Arabic grammar and in Islamic juridical science—by al-Khawārizmī in his Algebra.

In: Mathematics and Physics in Classical Islam
Author: Roshdi Rashed

Abstract

In his article “Ibn al-Haytham: between Mathematics and Physics”, Rashed explains, in a more detailed manner, the meaning of the combination between mathematics and physics that emerges in the works of Ibn al-Haytham. In astronomy, Ibn al-Haytham, having found contradictions in Ptolemy, established a totally geometrical celestial kinematics, independent of cosmological considerations and of Aristotelian dynamics. The result was a model of the apparent motion of the “seven planets” halfway between Ptolemy and Kepler. In optics, Ibn al-Haytham reformed the optics of Euclid and Ptolemy, which was a geometry of perception, and modified the doctrine of the Islamic Aristotelian philosophers of Islam, who considered the forms perceived by the eye as “totalities” transmitted by the objects under the effect of light. He separated the theory of vision from the theory of light and established experimentally that light propagates independently of vision from illuminated objects onto the eye in straight lines and, he assumed, with great speed. In so doing, he founded a totally geometrical optics. The advances he accomplished in astronomy and optics were similar: he mathematised these disciplines and combined this mathematisation with the ideas of the physical phenomena.

In: Mathematics and Physics in Classical Islam
Author: Giovanna Lelli

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to show that the materialistic views of the Arab historian Ibn Khaldūn (1332–1406) expressed in his book known as the Muqaddima (“Introduction”), although geographically and chronologically far from seventeenth—eighteenth centuries’ Europe, anticipated similar intersections between materialism of nature and materialism of society (Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Hume). Particularly we intend to analyse the meaning of a key-notion in Ibn Khaldūn’s historiography: the notion of “muṭābaqa”. This word literally means “coincidence”, “correspondence”, “conformity” between superimposable entities. In the field of historiography Ibn Khaldūn uses this word with the meaning of coincidence between historical events (waqāʾiʿ) and conditions or circumstances (aḥwāl). We analyse the notion of muṭābaqa as a microcosm of intersections between two great fields: the “system” of classical Arab culture and Khaldūn’s new materialistic conception of history. The latter, in its turn, lies in a zone of intersection between the natural and the social sciences. In our conclusion we highlight that the finalistic and aprioristic aporia inherent in the historical law of muṭābaqa is a most fertile and creative element in Khaldūn’s philosophy of history.

In: Mathematics and Physics in Classical Islam
In: Mathematics and Physics in Classical Islam