Article ID: CBB000933633

Arabic Science in Sixteenth-Century Europe: Guillaume Postel (1510--1581) and Arabic Astronomy (2007)


This paper investigates a hitherto untapped, but quite possible, route of transmission of scientitic ideas from the Islamic world to Renaissance Europe. It focuses in particular on the role played by the famous orientalist Guillaume Postel (1519-1581) who seems to have studied Arabic astronomical texts dealing with planetary theories and tries to contextualize the marginal notes Postel wrote on the Arabic manuscripts that he had owned. The purpose of this investigation is to demonstrate that the sixteenth century European scientists like Postel were not in need of Latin translations of Arabic scientific works in order for them to incorporate those works in their own for they could read the original Arabic texts and understand their import, and at times even correct those same texts. Once this interaction between Renaissance Europe and the Islamic world is fully appreciated one could better understand the conditions under which the well documented mathematical works that were first developed in the Islamic world could have been transmitted to people like Copemicus without having those original Arabic works necessarily translated into Latin.

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Authors & Contributors
Ragep, F. Jamil
Ben-Zaken, Avner
Gutas, Dimitri
Kunitzsch, Paul
Saliba, George A.
Yücesoy, Hayrettin
History of Science
Journal of World History
Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie Médiévales
Medical History
Micrologus: Nature, Sciences and Medieval Societies
Indian Journal of the History of Science
Ashgate, Variorum
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of California, Los Angeles
McGill-Queen's University Press
Arab/Islamic world, civilization and culture
Transmission of ideas
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
Transmission of texts
Copernicus, Nicolaus
Philoponos, Joannes Grammaticus
Mediterranean region
16th century
17th century
9th century

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