On Arithmetic and Geometry: An Arabic Critical Edition and English Translation of Epistles 1-2

Hardcover | March 12, 2013

EditorNader El-Bizri

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The Ikhwan al-Safa' (Brethren of Purity), the anonymous adepts of a tenth-century esoteric fraternity based in Basra and Baghdad, hold an eminent position in the history of science and philosophy in Islam due to the wide reception and assimilation of their monumental encyclopaedia, the Rasa'il Ikhwan al-Safa' (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity). The fifty-two epistles offer synoptic accounts of the classical sciences of the age, treating themes in mathematics, logic, natural philosophy, psychology, metaphysics, and theology, in addition to didactic fables. The Rasa 'il constitutes aparadigmatic legacy in the canonization of philosophy and the sciences in mediaeval Islamic civilization, and has also shown a permeating influence in Western culture.This volume is the fifth of the series, consisting of the first critical edition of the Rasa 'il in its original Arabic, complete with the fully annotated English translation. Prepared by Dr Nader El-Bizri, Epistles 1 and 2 (on arithmetic and geometry) present technical and epistemic analyses ofmathematical concepts and their metaphysical underpinnings, in terms of investigating the properties of numbers and of geometric magnitudes, based primarily on the traditions of Nicomachus of Geresa and of Euclid as interpreted by the Ikhwan. With a Pythagorean construal of the ultimate principles of mathematics within the symbolic order of mysticism, and inspired by their own ontological outlook on the articles of faith in Islam, the Ikhwan view arithmetic and geometry through a monotheistic spiritual lens. This informed their treatmentof mathematical knowledge, in pedagogic and heuristic terms, as part of the essential disciplines of the quadrivium, which aimed at preparing novices to study logic, then sciences of nature and the soul, before graduating to the lofty topics of theology and metaphysics. The volume also provides anoverview of the mathematical sciences within the Islamic intellectual milieu, and of the tenth-century urban culture of Mesopotamian and Syrian locales.

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The Ikhwan al-Safa' (Brethren of Purity), the anonymous adepts of a tenth-century esoteric fraternity based in Basra and Baghdad, hold an eminent position in the history of science and philosophy in Islam due to the wide reception and assimilation of their monumental encyclopaedia, the Rasa'il Ikhwan al-Safa' (Epistles of the Brethren ...

Nader El-Bizri is the General Editor of the Epistles of the Brethren of Purity series. He is a Reader at the University of Lincoln, a Chercheur Associe at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, and a Visiting Research Associate in Philosophy at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. He is co-editor of a b...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pagesPublished:March 12, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019965560X

ISBN - 13:9780199655601

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsForewordIntroductionTechnical IntroductionEpistle 1: On ArithmeticEpistle 2: On GeometryBibliographyIndexRasa'il 1-2 (Arabic Text and Variants)Arabic Index