Book ID: CBB482155561

A Scheme of Heaven: The History of Astrology and the Search for our Destiny in Data (2020)


Boxer, Alexander (Author)

W. W. Norton & Co.

Publication Date: 2020
Physical Details: 320 pp.
Language: English

An illuminating look at the surprising history and science of astrology, civilization’s first system of algorithms, from Babylon to the present day.Humans are pattern-matching creatures, and astrology is our grandest pattern-matching game. In this refreshing work of history and analysis, data scientist Alexander Boxer examines classical texts on astrology to expose its underlying scientific and mathematical framework. Astrology, he argues, was the ancient world’s most ambitious applied mathematics problem, a grand data-analysis enterprise sustained by some of history’s most brilliant minds from Ptolemy to al- Kindi to Kepler.A “scheme of heaven,” or horoscope, is recognized as pseudoscience today, but was once considered a cutting-edge scientific tool. Not only does Boxer trace different applications of horoscopes back to their origins, he also puts them to the test using modern data sets and statistical science, arguing that today’s data scientists do work similar to astrologers of yore.At once critical, rigorous, and far-ranging, A Scheme of Heaven recontextualizes astrology as a vast, technological project―spanning continents and centuries―that foreshadowed our data-driven world today. 100 illustrations; 16 pages of color images

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Authors & Contributors
Sela, Shlomo
Hübner, Wolfgang
Terio, Simonetta
Calvo Martínez, José Luis
Frommhold, Katrin
Pompeo Faracovi, Ornella
Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism
MHNH (Revista Internacional de Investigación sobre Magia y Astrología Antiguas)
Arabic Sciences and Philosophy
Sudhoffs Archiv: Zeitschrift fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Suhayl: Journal for the History of the Exact and Natural Sciences in Islamic Civilisation
Micrologus: Natura, Scienze e Società Medievali
Marsilio Editori
American Federation of Astrologers
Oxford University Press
Kegan Paul International
New York University
Primary literature (historical sources)
Arab/Islamic world, civilization and culture
al-Kindī, Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqub ibn Isḥāq
Ibn Ezra, Abraham Ben Meir
Kepler, Johannes
Jesus Christ
17th century
16th century
12th century

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