Cross-Cultural Scientific Exchanges in the Eastern Mediterranean, Avner Ben-Zaken reconsiders the fundamental question of how early modern scientific thought traveled between Western and Eastern cultures in the age of the so-called Scientific Revolution. Through five meticulously researched case studies -- in which he explores how a single obscure object or text moved in the Eastern world -- Ben-Zaken reveals the intricate ways that scientific knowledge moved across cultures.
With detective-like persistence, he traces the eastward circulation of post-Copernican cosmologies and scientific discoveries, showing how these ideas were translated, transformed, and adapted to local cultures. Never before has a student of scientific traffic in the Mediterranean taken such pains to see precisely which instruments, books, and ideas first appeared where, in whose hands, by what means, and with what implications.
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In doing so, Ben-Zaken challenges accepted views of Western primacy in this fruitful exchange. He shows not only how Islamic cultures benefited from European scientific knowledge but also how Eastern understanding of classical Greek texts informed developments in the West.
Ben-Zaken's mastery of different cultures and languages uniquely positions him to tell this intriguing story. He goes a long way toward establishing that the Mediterranean was a well-integrated cultural zone and that the main factor that divides the histories of science in this area is language. The breadth of this study, geographically and in terms of methodology, constitutes an impressive achievement, infinitely expanding a traditional view of early modern science.
Doubtless Ben-Zaken has demonstrated with much inventive ingenuity that during these first decades of the Scientific Revolution a variety of remarkable encounters took place in the Eastern basin of the Mediterranean. This book demonstrates Ben-Zaken to be an indefatigable seeker of historical knowledge as well as an amazing linguistic virtuoso.
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The book offers five case studies, each of which takes the reader into fascinating territory Thus the study operates simultaneously as challenging occidental prejudices in the academy a welcome trend in recent years and aligning itself with a materialist sensibility now firmly established in early modern scholarship. It offers sociological insights into how the kind of accidental, contingent exchange of knowledge leads to further discoveries —developments whose contingency and localism is flattened out in the writing of history.
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This book is one of those rare works that sehds light on a thoroughly studied area The Scientific Revolution , making it look fresh and challenging It invites us to reassess the established views about the origins of modern science and the factors that fuelled its expansion. Post navigation Previous post: Taking Charge of Your Health Next post: Asian Religions in British Columbia. Johns Hopkins University Press. Reviews Each chapter is meticulously researched and includes a bibliography divided into primary, secondary, and reference sections.
Endorsements This book expands the entire field of intellectual history, the history of the book, cultural history, and the history of science. Floris Cohen - Early Science and Medicine.
Kelter - Sixteenth Century Journal. Other Titles by Avner Ben-Zaken.
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