East and West: Islam in the Transmission of Knowledge East to West

  • Richard C. Taylor
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8553

Prior to its explosive expansion from the Arabian Peninsula, Islam itself had no substantive body of scientific learning. The Arabic term for knowledge or science, cilm, had a developing history steeped in religious reflection and writing as a consequence of the extensive use of its Semitic root c‐l‐m in the Qur’ân. In contrast to the pre‐Islamic “Time of Ignorance” (jâhilîyah), the advent of Muhammad as Prophet conveying the words of God in the Qur’ân marked the presence of a new, and frequently detailed and legalistic, understanding of how human beings are to submit (islâm) to the will of God in all aspects of their lives. Knowledge on the part of humans was viewed as having its source without exception in the Divine, though signs of the presence of Creator were understood to be evident in the created world. For Muslims, as a result, the place of primacy goes to religious sciences directly (the Qur’ân, the Hadîth, etc.) or indirectly (grammatical studies, law, etc.) which deal with...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Adamson, Peter and Richard C. Taylor eds. The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.Google Scholar
  2. Allard, A. The Influence of Abū Kāmil's Algebra on the Latin Authors of the 12th and 13th Centuries. Journal for the History of Arabic Science 12 (2001): 83–9.Google Scholar
  3. Amīn, Majdī Yùsef. Limitations of Longitude and Latitude Circles Between Al‐Byruni and Modern Science. Journal for the History of Arabic Science 12 (2001): 170–59.Google Scholar
  4. Aristotle. In Aristotelis Opera Cum Averrois Commentariis. Venice: Iunctas. Rpt. Frankfurt am Main: Minerva, 1962.Google Scholar
  5. Ben Zaken, Avner. The Heavens of the Sky and the Heavens of the Heart: The Ottoman Cultural Context for the Introduction of Post‐Copernican Astronomy. British Journal for the History of Science 37 (2004): 1–28.Google Scholar
  6. Dalen, Benno van. Islamic and Chinese Astronomy Under the Mongols: A Little‐Known Case of Transmission. From China to Paris: 2000 Years Transmission of Mathematical Ideas. Proceedings of a Conference Held in Bellagio, Italy, May 8–12, 2000. Stuttgart, Germany: Steiner, 2002, 2002. 327–56.Google Scholar
  7. Burnett, Charles. Arabic into Latin: The Reception of Arabic Philosophy into Western Europe. The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy. Ed. Peter Adamson, Richard C. Taylor.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 370–404.Google Scholar
  8. Butterworth, Charles E. and Blake Andree Kessel eds. The Introduction of Arabic philosophy into Europe. Leiden; New York: E. J. Brill, 1994.Google Scholar
  9. d'Alverny, Marie‐Thérèse. La transmission des textes philosophiques et scientifiques au Moyen Age. Ed. Charles Burnett. Aldershot VT: Variorum, 1994.Google Scholar
  10. D'Ancona, Cristina. Greek into Arabic: Neoplatonism in Translation. The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy. Ed. Peter Adamson, Richard C. Taylor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 10–31.Google Scholar
  11. Djebbar, Ahmed. La Circulation Des mathématiques Entre l'Orient Et l'Occident Musulmans: Interrogations Anciennes Et éléments Nouveaux. From China to Paris: 2000 Years Transmission of Mathematical Ideas. Proceedings of a Conference Held in Bellagio, Italy, may 8–12, 2000. Stuttgart, Germany: Steiner, 2002, 2002. 213–5.Google Scholar
  12. Dold‐Samplonius, Yvonne, et al. eds. From China to Paris: 2000 Years Transmission of Mathematical Ideas. Proceedings of a Conference Held in Bellagio, Italy, May 8–12, 2000. Stuttgart, Germany: Steiner, 2002.Google Scholar
  13. Endress, Gerhard, The Circle of al‐Kindî. Early Arabic Translations from the Greek and the Rise of Islamic Philosophy. The Ancient Tradition in Christian and Islamic Hellenism. Studies on the Transmission of Greek Philosophy and Sciences Dedicated to H. J. Drossaart Lulofs on His Ninetieth Birthday. Ed. Gerhard Endress, Remke Kruk.Leiden: Research School CNWS, School of Asian, African, and Amerindian Studies, 1997. 43–76.Google Scholar
  14. Gardet, Louis and M. M. Anawati. Introduction à la théologie musulmane; essai de théologie comparée. Paris: J. Vrin, 1948.Google Scholar
  15. Gibb, H. A. R., et al. eds. The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition Ed. Leiden: Brill; and London: Luzac, 1960.Google Scholar
  16. Gillispie, Charles Coulston Ed. Dictionary of scientific biography. Suppl. I. New York, Scribner, 1978.Google Scholar
  17. Gutas, Dimitri. Greek Thought, Arabic Culture. New York and London: Routledge, 1998.Google Scholar
  18. Hamesse, Jacqueline and Marta Fattori eds. Colloque international de Cassino (1989: Cassino, Italy). Rencontres de cultures dans la philosophie médiévale: traductions et traducteurs de l'antiquité tardive au XIVe siècle. Louvain‐la‐Neuve: Université catholique de Louvain; Cassino, Italy: Università degli studi di Cassino, 1990.Google Scholar
  19. Harvey, Steven. Arabic into Hebrew: The Hebrew Translation Movement and the Influence of Averroes Upon Jewish Thought. The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Jewish Philosophy. Ed. Daniel H. Frank and Oliver Leaman. 258–80.Google Scholar
  20. Hashimoto, Keizo. Jesuit Observations and Star‐Mappings in Beijing as the Transmission of Scientific Knowledge. History of Mathematical Sciences: Portugal and East Asia II, Scientific Practices and the Portuguese Expansion in Asia (1498–1759). Singapore: World Scientific, 2004, 2004. 129–45.Google Scholar
  21. Hobson, John M. The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.Google Scholar
  22. Ibn al‐Nadîm, Muhammad ibn Ishâq. The Fihrist of al‐Nadim. Ed. and Trans. Bayard Dodge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  23. Ihsanoglu, Ekmeleddin. Science, Technology and Learning in the Ottoman Empire: Western Influence, Local Institutions, and the Transfer of Knowledge. Aldershot, UK; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004.Google Scholar
  24. Jayyusi, Salma Khadra ed. The Legacy of Muslim Spain. Leiden and New York: E. J. Brill, 1992. (Handbuch der Orientalistik. Erste Abteilung, Der Nahe und Mittlere Osten, 12. Bd.).Google Scholar
  25. Kischlat, Harald. Studien zur Verbreitung von Übersetzungen arabischer philosophischer Werke in Westeuropa 1150–1400: das Zeugnis der Bibliotheken. Münster: Aschendorff, 2000.Google Scholar
  26. Knobloch, Eberhard. La Connaissance Des mathématiques Arabes Par Clavius. Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 12 (2002): 257–84.Google Scholar
  27. Kretzmann, Norman, et al. eds. The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy: from the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Disintegration of Scholasticism, 1100–1600. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.Google Scholar
  28. La Diffusione delle Scienze Islamische nel Medio Evo Europeo. Rome: L'Accademia, 1987. (Accademia nazionale dei Lincei. Fondazione Leone Caetani).Google Scholar
  29. Lindberg, David C. ed. Science in the Middle Ages. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  30. Lindberg, David C. The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 BCE to A.D. 1450. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.Google Scholar
  31. Mercier, Raymond. Studies on the Transmission of Medieval Mathematical Astronomy. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2004.Google Scholar
  32. Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. An introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines: Conceptions of Nature and Methods Used for Its Study by the Ikhwan al‐Safa', al‐Biruni, and Ibn Sina. Revised Ed. London: Thames and Hudson, 1978.Google Scholar
  33. O'Meara, Dominic J., Platonopolis: Platonic Political Philosophy in Late Antiquity. Oxford: Clarendon; New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.Google Scholar
  34. Peters, F. E. Aristoteles Arabus. The Oriental Translations and Commentaries of the Aristotelian Corpus. Leiden, E. J. Brill, 1968a.Google Scholar
  35. Peters, F. E. Aristotle and the Arabs; The Aristotelian Tradition in Islam. New York: New York University Press, 1968b.Google Scholar
  36. Rebstock, Ulrich. An Early Link of the Arabic Tradition of Practical Arithmetic. From China to Paris: 2000 Years Transmission of Mathematical Ideas. Proceedings of a Conference Held in Bellagio, Italy, May 8–12, 2000. Stuttgart, Germany: Steiner, 2002, 2002. 203–12.Google Scholar
  37. Rosenthal, Franz. Knowledge Triumphant; The Concept of Knowledge in Medieval Islam. Leiden: Brill, 1970.Google Scholar
  38. Schramm, Matthias. Frederick II of Hohenstaufen and Arabic Science. Science in Context 14 (2001): 289–312.Google Scholar
  39. Strayer, Joseph R. ed. Dictionary of the Middle Ages. New York: Scribner, 1982–89.Google Scholar
  40. Young, M. J. L. ed. Religion, Learning, and Science in the Abbasid Period. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. (The Cambridge history of Arabic literature).Google Scholar
  41. Zimmermann, F. W. The Origins of the So‐called Theology of Aristotle. Pseudo‐Aristotle in the Middle Ages. The Theology and Other Texts. Ed. Jill Kraye et al. 110–240.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard C. Taylor

There are no affiliations available