Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Review: Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance by George Saliba

Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance by George Saliba.
MIT Press: Cambridge, MA and London, UK; 2007.
ISBN: 0-262-19557-7. Hardcover, 315 pages with endnotes, a bibliography and a subject index.

This monograph is a series of lectures which challenge the dominant narrative of the history of science culminating in the European Renaissance. The dominant narrative is that Muslim rulers in the early Abbasid period, under the influence of the Mu'tazila theological school (aka rationalists), sponsored a translation of Persian, Indian and Greek scientific and philosophical texts. When the ahl al-hadith theologians (aka irrationalists), who in large part adopted the Asha`ari theology and who are most identified later with Imam al-Ghazali, persuaded later Abbasi rulers to cease sponsoring rationalist theology, scientific production began to decline. Finally, the Mongol destruction of Baghdad in 1258 CE combined with religious hostility to science to cement cessation of scientific thought and production throughout Muslim lands. In key contact points, such as Sicily and al-Andalus, Europeans were able to reacquire the Greek scientific and philosophical legacy which had been faithfully transmitted by Muslims, and these Europeans later used this legacy to develop the Renaissance. In short, Muslims were a storage facility for Europeans' intellectual property, supplemented with unclaimed items left by the ancient Indians and Persians, until the Europeans could complete renovations.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Houston, TX-Dr. Ezzat's Paintings on Display Until Sept 30

Clear Lake City-County Freeman Public Library in Houston, TX is hosting a display of Dr. Ezzat Abouleish's paintings until September 30. Here is a note I received from him:

The opening ceremony went very well, Alhamd LELLAH, on Monday 8.3.2009. The show has been well received by Moslems and non-Moslems alike. The high spirituality and beauty of Islamic art was astonishing to the show visitors and expressed in their written comments. If you have not seen the exhibit yet, I recommend to visit and to take along the family. I feel our children need it more than us. The venue is Freeman Library of Clear Lake, 16616 Diane Lane (off Bay Area Blvd), Houston Texas, 77062. Tel. 281 488 1906. The display will continue to Sept. 30Th, but the sooner the better.