More on Islamic Science...

Great article here on the Islamic heritage of science, and how much of that we owe to Muslims, or perhaps I should say how little. A section:

It is easy to track how Arabic translations of Greek texts from Byzantine manuscripts, often done by non-Muslims, made their way from the Islamic East to Sicily and southern Italy or to the Iberian Peninsula in the Islamic West, where some of them were translated by Christians, for instance in the multilingual city of Toledo in Spain, back to Latin. It is true that some ancient Greek texts were reintroduced to the West via Arabic, sometimes passing via Syriac or Hebrew translations along the way, but these were usually based, in the end, on Byzantine originals.

John Freely correctly indicates that many of the key translators of scientific works into Arabic such as Hunayn ibn Ishaq and Thabit ibn Qurra were non-Muslims, and he includes a chapter on the important translation movement directly from Byzantium to Italy and Western Europe. These are redeeming features of his book, but he fails to explain why science in the Middle East declined and how the non-Islamic communities of the region shrank. Their shrinking overlapped to a significant degree with the decline of science. Is there a connection between the two?

Islam and the Decline of Greek Culture: A Critical Look at John Freely's Book “Aladdin’s Lamp”


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