Cross-Cultural Scientific Exchanges in the Eastern Mediterranean, 1560–1660
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
INTRODUCTION. Incommensurable Cultures?
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... “Europeans have many vanities similar to this one.” But when al- Zigetvari prepared an almanac based on the astronomical tables of the Latin work, the chief astronomer saw that it conformed to the authoritative tables prepared by late medieval Muslim astronomers, and he became convinced of the value of the Latin work. ...
1 Trading Clocks, Globes, and Captives in the End Time
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In 1580, an anonymous painter illustrated a manuscript entitled Shāhinshāh nāma (Book of the King of Kings). One of his miniatures documents scientific activity at the observatory established by the newly crowned Ottoman sultan, Murād III. When he came to power in 1574, he urged an Egyptian judge and rising star in natural science, ...
2 Exchanging Heliocentrism for Ur-Text
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In 1623, an Italian traveler, Pietro della Valle, reached the Portuguese colony of Goa, in western India, aft er nine years of travel in the Near East. In the same year, a Jesuit, Christopher Borrus (or Borri), on his way back to Italy, also stopped in Goa aft er his missionary work in Cochin- China (southern Vietnam). Della Valle and Borrus stayed in the same monastery and met for the first time at a midday meal. They exchanged views about the various Eastern cultures ...
3 Transcending Time in the Scribal East
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In 1629, Joseph Solomon Delmedigo published in Amsterdam a somewhat incoherent book entitled Sefer Elim (Book of Elim). The book was printed by Menasseh Ben- Israel (Spinoza’s teacher) and was a collection of articles on natural philosophy and mathematics. Before his arrival in Amsterdam, Delmedigo had traveled in the Eastern Mediterranean (1616–19), where he participated in a public contest in mathematics, collected ancient manuscripts, studied the Cabala, ...
4 Converting Measurements and Invoking the "Linguistic Leviathan"
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Just before his death in 1652, John Greaves (b. 1602), a professor of astronomy, published Astronomica quaedam ex traditione Shah Cholgii Persae, a bilingual, Persian- Latin edition of a late fifteenth- century astronomical work from Persia. To this work he attached a Persian- Latin astronomical dictionary, which was addressed to Latin- readers. The inspiration for this linguistic astronomical project came in 1637, when Greaves left his position at London’s Gresham ...
5 Exchanging Heavens and Hearts
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In 1634, Tommaso Campanella joined the court of Cardinal Riche lieu in Paris and stimulated there a great interest in the Copernican cosmology. In the same year, a court cosmographer named Noël Duret dedicated to Richelieu a book entitled Nouvelle théorie des planètes, which included astronomical tables calculated from the tables of Ptolemy, Copernicus, Tycho, and Lansbergen.1 In 1660, the Ottoman scholar Ibrāhīm Efendi al- Zigetvari Tezkireci translated ...
CONCLUSION. From "Incommensurability of Cultures" to Mutually Embraced Zones
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An exclusive depiction of the local development of science has been qualified ever since scholars began exploring the rich interconnections between travel and science. Studies concerning the discovery of the New World and the rise of natural history, however, focused on European travelers as they headed westward, to the New World, and left unnoticed the cross- cultural exchanges that ...
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I owe great debts to many individuals. My advisor, Theodore Porter, envisioned the potential of the project from our first meeting. I am especially grateful to him for showing me that historical scholarship requires not only strong evidence, clarity of mind, creativity, and power of imagination, but also a good sense of humor. I was fortunate to have a dissertation committee with each member covering a particular angle of this new niche. Herbert Davidson, Robert ...
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Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 30 halftones
Publication Year: 2010