The Pathway to Knowledg Containing the First Principles of Geometrie, as They May Moste Aptly Be Applied unto Practise, Both for Use of Instrumentes Geometricall, and Astronomicall and Also for the Projection of Plattes in Everye Kinde, and Therfore Much Necessary for All Sortes of Men
The Pathway to Knowledg presents the contents of the first four books of Euclid, as adapted to meet the needs for an understanding of the principles of Geometry by mathematical practitioners and also as an essential precursor to Recorde’s mathematical treatises yet to come. Thus, in the first definitions, those of point and line he eschews the Euclidean versions as being fit only for theoretical speculation and calls a point ‘that small print of pen, pencil or other instrument which is not moved nor drawn from his first touch, and therefore hath no notable length nor breadth’. In a similar vein, whilst not touching the content of Euclid’s text he rearranges the order of its presentation in a way that he thinks will better engage the reader. Recorde adds nothing new to the subject, but his comments disclose the wide range of sources he consulted. A number of these have been identified and show how widely Continental scholarship in the form of printed books had spread to England. The large number of errors in the Pathway illustrates how great were the obstacles to be overcome in printing new mathematical works accurately in English.