The Role & Originality of Late Arabic Scientific Commentaries, by Professor George Saliba

by Media Desk Published on: 4th May 2014

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Most students of Islamic civilisation are still under the impression that the golden age of that civilisation, in terms of philosophical and scientific production, came to an end sometime around the beginning of the thirteenth-century of the Common Era...

The Centre for the Study of Islamic Manuscripts at Al-Furqan organized a lecture, under the title “The Role and Originality of Late Arabic Scientific Commentaries”, which was delivered by Professor George Saliba.

The lecture took place on the 4th of April 2014 at Al-Furqan’s headquarters in London.

Most students of Islamic civilisation are still under the impression that the golden age of that civilisation, in terms of philosophical and scientific production, came to an end sometime around the beginning of the thirteenth-century of the Common Era. The period that followed is supposed to have sunk that civilisation into a continuous decline from which it has yet to recover. Features of that decline are usually exemplified by the production of commentaries instead of original works. This talk will focus on the field of astronomy, and will demonstrate that particular commentaries that were produced between the thirteenth and the sixteenth century, and especially those that were penned by the sixteenth century astronomer Shams al-Din al-Khafri (d.1550AD) did not only produce new scientific thinking, but also produced a level of astronomical mathematical sophistication that could outmatch any of the earlier works that were produced within the Islamic civilisation, and could, in some instances, even outmatch the contemporary scientific works that were produced in Europe at the time.

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