Much has been done on the publication of original sources in Arabic during the past 30 years, but much more remains to be done. Some of the recent multiple editions are unnecessary duplication of work and therefore waste of energy. This energy could be better spent on the publication of unpublished sources, and on studies involving the contextualization of Islamic sciences. Furthermore, historians of pre-modern science should work on the popularization of their wonderful subject. This exoteric work is as important as esoteric research, because the survival of the field depends on its image among various audiences outside the community of historians of science.
This collection of essays reflects the wide range of David Pingree's expertise in the scientific texts (above all, concerning astronomy and astrology) of Ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, India, Persia, and the medieval Arabic, Hebrew and Latin traditions. Both theoretical aspects and the practical applications of the exact sciences-in time keeping, prediction of the future, and the operation of magic-are dealt with.
The book includes several critical editions and translations of hitherto unknown or understudied texts, and a particular emphasis is on the diffusion of scientific learning from one culture to another, and through time.
Above all, the essays show the variety and sophistication of the exact sciences in non-Western societies in pre-modern times.