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The Mulakhkhaṣ fī al-hayʾa al-basīṭa was an extremely popular astronomical textbook that played a critical role in the teaching, dissemination, and institutional instruction of Islamic theoretical astronomy. It was composed by Maḥmūd ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿUmar al-Jaghmīnī in the early thirteenth century in the region of Khwārizm in Central Asia; and its study and use as a propaedeutic for more advanced teaching texts is evidenced by thousands of extant copies of the original and its numerous commentaries, supercommentaries, and glosses contained in research libraries and various other repositories throughout the world. I have identified fifty-eight treatises that were written to elucidate the Mulakhkhaṣ, and these span, conservatively speaking, at least seven centuries beyond Jaghmīnī’s original composition date. Indeed, the Mulakhkhaṣ was also translated from its original Arabic into Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew, and continued to be taught in earnest well into the nineteenth century (and beyond). The study of the Mulakhkhaṣ along with its commentaries was still relevant even after “European science” came on the scene, and it is noteworthy that concerted efforts were made to seek teaching approaches that could accommodate the older Islamic scientific traditions such as that of the Mulakhkhaṣ along with new (jadīd) scientific developments. So Jaghmīnī’s ubiquitous introductory textbook on theoretical astronomy provides us with a significant example with which to understand a vibrant, ongoing scientific educational tradition within Islam. It is with this in mind that the first and foremost objective of this book is to present an Arabic edition along with an English translation of the Mulakhkhaṣ. Furthermore, establishing the base (or matn) text is a fundamental prerequisite for gaining better insights into the extensive, and rather daunting, commentary tradition that built upon the Mulakhkhaṣ.
KeywordsThirteenth Century Latin Translation Islamic Scholar Islamic Period Zodiacal Sign
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