Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, Prehistory to A. D. 1450 / Edition 2

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Overview

When it was first published in 1992, The Beginnings of Western Science was lauded as the first successful attempt ever to present a unified account of both ancient and medieval science in a single volume. Chronicling the development of scientific ideas, practices, and institutions from pre-Socratic Greek philosophy to late-Medieval scholasticism, David C. Lindberg surveyed all the most important themes in the history of science, including developments in cosmology, astronomy, mechanics, optics, alchemy, natural history, and medicine. In addition, he offered an illuminating account of the transmission of Greek science to medieval Islam and subsequently to medieval Europe.

            The Beginnings of Western Science was, and remains, a landmark in the history of science, shaping the way students and scholars understand these critically formative periods of scientific development. It reemerges here in a second edition that includes revisions on nearly every page, as well as several sections that have been completely rewritten. For example, the section on Islamic science has been thoroughly retooled to reveal the magnitude and sophistication of medieval Muslim scientific achievement. And the book now reflects a sharper awareness of the importance of Mesopotamian science for the development of Greek astronomy. In all, the second edition of The Beginnings of Western Science captures the current state of our understanding of more than two millennia of science and promises to continue to inspire both students and general readers.

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Editorial Reviews

H-Net Review
The value of Lindberg's book as an introductory text for students is clear, but it will also serve as an excellent resource for non-specialists, particularly those teaching comprehensive survey courses. . . . [The book] offers a concise, highly accessible introduction to the essential elements of western knowledge about the natural world that will help guide instructors in developing curricula. . . . The possibilities presented to enrich and enliven a general history course abound.. . . . This second edition of  The Beginnings of Western Science will remain a fundamental and reliable resource for many years to come.

— Angela Smith

Isis
This is a fine book, the culmination of a century of distinguished research on premodern European science. And it tells an important story that . . . needs to be read not only by undergraduates but by professional historians and anyone seeking to understand the origins of modern science.

— F. Jamil Ragep

H-Net Review - Angela Smith

"The value of Lindberg's book as an introductory text for students is clear, but it will also serve as an excellent resource for non-specialists, particularly those teaching comprehensive survey courses. . . . [The book] offers a concise, highly accessible introduction to the essential elements of western knowledge about the natural world that will help guide instructors in developing curricula. . . . The possibilities presented to enrich and enliven a general history course abound.. . . . This second edition of  The Beginnings of Western Science will remain a fundamental and reliable resource for many years to come."

Isis - F. Jamil Ragep

"This is a fine book, the culmination of a century of distinguished research on premodern European science. And it tells an important story that . . . needs to be read not only by undergraduates but by professional historians and anyone seeking to understand the origins of modern science."

Isis
"This is a fine book, the culmination of a century of distinguished research on premodern European science. And it tells an important story that . . . needs to be read not only by undergraduates but by professional historians and anyone seeking to understand the origins of modern science."

— F. Jamil Ragep

H-Net Review
"The value of Lindberg''s book as an introductory text for students is clear, but it will also serve as an excellent resource for non-specialists, particularly those teaching comprehensive survey courses. . . . [The book] offers a concise, highly accessible introduction to the essential elements of western knowledge about the natural world that will help guide instructors in developing curricula. . . . The possibilities presented to enrich and enliven a general history course abound.. . . . This second edition of The Beginnings of Western Science will remain a fundamental and reliable resource for many years to come."-Angela Smith, H-Net Review

— Angela Smith

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226482057
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 349,926
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David C. Lindberg is the Hilldale Professor Emeritus of the History of Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and past-president of the History of Science Society. He is the author or editor of many books, including, with coeditor Ronald L. Numbers, When Science and Christianity Meet, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Table of Contents

     List of Illustrations
     Preface

1. SCIENCE BEFORE THE GREEKS
     What Is Science?
     Prehistoric Attitudes toward Nature 
     The Beginnings of Science in Egypt and Mesopotamia

2. THE GREEKS AND THE COSMOS
     The World of Homer and Hesiod
     The First Greek Philosophers
     The Milesians and the Question of Underlying Reality
     The Question of Change
     The Problem of Knowledge
     Plato's World of Forms
     Plato's Cosmology
     The Achievement of Early Greek Philosophy

3. ARISTOTLE'S PHILOSOPHY OF NATURE
     Life and Works
     Metaphysics and Epistemology
     Nature and Change
     Cosmology
     Motion, Terrestrial and Celestial
     Aristotle as a Biologist
     Aristotle's Achievement

4. HELLENISTIC NATURAL PHILOSOPHY
     Schools and Education
     The Lyceum after Aristotle
     Epicureans and Stoics

5. THE MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES IN ANTIQUITY
     The Application of Mathematics to Nature
     Greek Mathematics
     Early Greek Astronomy
     Cosmological Developments
     Hellenistic Planetary Astronomy
     The Science of Optics
     The Science of Weights

6. GREEK AND ROMAN MEDICINE
     Early Greek Medicine
     Hippocratic Medicine
     Hellenistic Anatomy and Physiology
     Hellenistic Medical Sects
     Galen and the Culmination of Hellenistic Medicine

7. ROMAN AND EARLY MEDIEVAL SCIENCE
     Greeks and Romans
     Popularizers and Encyclopedists
     Translations
     The Role of Christianity
     Roman and Early Medieval Education
     Two Early Medieval Natural Philosophers 
     Learning and Science in the Greek East

8. ISLAMIC SCIENCE
     The Eastward Diffusion of Greek Science
     The Birth, Expansion, and Hellenization of Islam
     Translation of Greek Science into Arabic 
     Islamic Reception and Appropriation of Greek Science
     The Islamic Scientific Achievement
     The Fate of Islamic Science

9. THE REVIVAL OF LEARNING IN THE WEST
     The Middle Ages
     Carolingian Reforms
     The Schools of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries
     Natural Philosophy in the Twelfth-Century Schools
     The Translation Movement
     The Rise of Universities

10. THE RECOVERY AND ASSIMILATION OF GREEK AND ISLAMIC SCIENCE
     The New Learning
     Aristotle in the University Curriculum 
     Points of Conflict
     Resolution: Science as Handmaiden
     Radical Aristotelianism and the Condemnations of 1270
and 1277
     The Relations of Philosophy and Theology after 1277

11. THE MEDIEVAL COSMOS
     The Structure of the Cosmos 
     Mathematical Astronomy
     Astrology
     The Surface of the Earth

12. The Physics of the Sublunar Region
     Matter, Form, and Substance
     Combination and Mixture
     Alchemy
     Change and Motion
     The Nature of Motion 
     Mathematical Description of Motion
     The Dynamics of Local Motion
     Quantification of Dynamics
     The Science of Optics

13. MEDIEVAL MEDICINE AND NATURAL HISTORY 
     The Medical Tradition of the Early Middle Ages
     The Transformation of Western Medicine
     Medical Practitioners
     Medicine in the Universities
     Disease, Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Therapy
     Anatomy and Surgery
     Development of the Hospital
     Natural History

14. THE LEGACY OF ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL SCIENCE
     The Continuity Question
     Candidates for Revolutionary Status
     The Scientific Revolution

     Notes
     Bibliography
     Index

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