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On 'Astronomia'

On 'Astronomia'


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About the Book

The Epistles of the Brethren of Purity is an encyclopedic compendium, probably composed in tenth-century Iraq by a society of adepts with Platonic, Pythagorean, and Shi'i tendencies. Its 52 sections ('epistles') are divided into four parts (Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Sciences of the Soul and Intellect, and Theology). The current volume provides an edition, translation, and notes to Epistle 3 ('On Astronomia'), which forms one of the 14 sections on Mathematics. The content is a mixture of elementary astronomy and astrology, but it is not a beginner's textbook. Rather, the purpose is to use examples from those disciplines to provide spiritual, moral, and soteriological guidance. Thus the Epistle uses the argument from design to show the necessity for a Creator who made the harmonious universe; this wondrous design is then employed by the authors as a model, providing humans with a paradigm for proper ethical, political, and even economic conduct; and the study of Astronomia
helps the soul achieve ultimate happiness as it seeks to throw off the shackles of this mundane world and oppressive body in favour of the purity of the celestial realm. Although by no means typical of Islamic astronomical literature, Epistle 3 of the Brethren of Purity gives a window into a fascinating and intriguing group operating during the early period of Islam who sought to continue and adopt one of the esoteric strands of Hellenistic philosophy within an Islamic context, meshing astronomy, astrology, Platonic-Pythagorean philosophy, Quranic and Biblical quotations, and anecdotes from the lives of the Abrahamic prophets.

About the Author:
F. Jamil Ragep is Canada Research Chair in the History of Science in Islamic Societies and Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Educated at the University of Michigan and Harvard University, he has written extensively on the history of astronomy, on science in Islam, on science and religion, and on the intercultural transmission of science. He is currently leading an international effort to catalogue all Islamic manuscripts in the exact sciences and is co-directing a project to study the fifteenth-century background to the Copernican revolution.

Taro Mimura is a research associate on the 'Arabic Commentaries on the Hippocratic Aphorisms' project at the University of Manchester. He obtained his PhD in History of Science from the University of Tokyo in 2008. The title of his PhD thesis was 'The raison d'etre of Classical Greek Scholarship in the Abbasid Dynasty from a view point of the Development of the Demonstrative Sciences'. From 2009 to 2012, he was a research assistant at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University, Canada, where he worked as an editor on the 'Scientific Traditions in Islamic Societies' project, a subsection of the 'Rational Science in Islam' project. He is currently working on an edition of the Arabic original of pseudo-Masha'allah's Liber de orbe.


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Product Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780198747376
  • Publisher: OUP in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies
  • Publisher Imprint: OUP in Association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies
  • Depth: 25
  • Height: 236 mm
  • No of Pages: 368
  • Series Title: Epistles of the Brethren of Purity
  • Sub Title: Epistle 3
  • Width: 157 mm
  • ISBN-10: 0198747373
  • Publisher Date: 29 Dec 2015
  • Binding: Hardback
  • Edition: BLG CRI TR
  • Language: Arabic
  • Returnable: Y
  • Spine Width: 25 mm
  • Weight: 775 gr


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