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House of Wisdom How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization
[#4076 3A2,HB 248pp, ISBN978-0747594000, Jonathan Lyons, Rise of Islam dynamic intellectual & scienti]

House of Wisdom How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization

The House of Wisdom:
How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization
By Jonathan Lyons
Hardback 248 Pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The structure of the book is arranged roughly according to the divisions of the times of prayers in Islam. The four parts of the book are entitled respectively Al-Isha/Nightfall (part 1), Al-Fajr/Dawn (part 2), Al-Zuhr/Midday (part 3), and Al-'Asr/Afternoon (part 4). They correspond to the rise of Islamic civilisation, the wide-ranging scope of its political and social power, coupled with a dynamic intellectual and scientific vitality, and its beneficial influence on the civilisation of the pre-modern Western world. (From the Introduction)

For centuries following the fall of Rome, western Europe was a benighted backwater, a world of subsistence farming, minimal literacy, and violent conflict. Meanwhile Arab culture was thriving, dazzling those Europeans fortunate enough to catch even a glimpse of the scientific advances coming from Baghdad, Antioch, or the cities of Persia, Central Asia, and Muslim Spain. There, philosophers, mathematicians, and astronomers were steadily advancing the frontiers of knowledge and revitalizing the works of Plato and Aristotle. In the royal library of Baghdad, known as the House of Wisdom, an army of scholars worked at the behest of the Abbasid caliphs. At a time when the best book collections in Europe held several dozen volumes, the House of Wisdom boasted as many as four hundred thousand.

Even while their countrymen waged bloody Crusades against Muslims, a handful of intrepid Christian scholars, thirsty for knowledge, traveled to Arab lands and returned with priceless jewels of science, medicine, and philosophy that laid the foundation for the Renaissance. In this brilliant, evocative book, Lyons shows just how much “Western” culture owes to the glories of medieval Arab civilization, and reveals the untold story of how Europe drank from the well of Muslim learning.

During a time when Europe was deep into internal war they  found it easy to condemn the Muslim world as barbarians and eventually the Church united the Christians to stop the in-Fighting and concentrate on the East, Interestingly we see a similar scenario in the West of the 21st century

What is different is how the Muslims reacted then and now, The Arabs then were building the House of Wisdom. Scholars in residence there were exploring, and even extending, the great works of the Persian, Hindu, and Greek civilizations. There were some great advances in the sciences and mathematics, but more fundamentally, the Arabs taught the importance of experimentation and rational thought. Eventually, through the efforts of men like Adelard, the accomplishments of the Arabs got through to the West,

This book is very accessible. It is written in so lively a prose the readers will hear Pope Urban II urging his crusaders to overcome the infidel Muslims and later will envision the scholars working together in translating ancient texts!

About the author

Author and journalist Jonathan Lyons has spent his professional and personal life exploring the shifting boundaries between East and West. After more than 20 years as an editor and foreign correspondent for Reuters — mostly in the Muslim world —, he is now a researcher at the Global Terrorism Research Centre and a PhD candidate in sociology of religion at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He lives in Washington DC and teaches courses on Islam and how to cover it journalistically at George Mason University in Virginia, USA. For more information on the author and the book, visit: www.jonathanlyonsportfolio.com.

Note to Readers ix
Significant Events xi
Leading Figures xv
Prologue: Al-Maghrib/Sunset 1
Part I Al-Isha / Nightfall 7
1. The Warriors of God 9
2. The Earth Is Like a Wheel 28
Part II Al-Fajr / Dawn 53
3. The House of Wisdom 55
4. Mapping the World 78
Part III Al-Zuhr / Midday 101
5. The First Man of Science 103
6. "What Is Said of the Sphere ..." 125
7. "The Wisest Philosophers of the World" 142
Part IV Al-Asr / Afternoon 163
8. On the Eternity of the World 165
9. The Invention of the West 186
Acknowledgments 203
Notes 205
Selected Bibliography 229
Index 237


Weight: 545

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