On Astronomia: An Arabic Critical Edition and English Translation of Epistle 3

Hardcover | November 19, 2015

byF. Jamil Ragep, Taro Mimura

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The Epistles of the Brethren of Purity is an encyclopedic compendium, probably composed in tenth-century Iraq by a society of adepts with Platonic, Pythagorean, and Shi'i tendencies. Its 52 sections ('epistles') are divided into four parts (Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Sciences of the Souland Intellect, and Theology). The current volume provides an edition, translation, and notes to Epistle 3 ("On Astronomia"), which forms one of the 14 sections on Mathematics. The content is a mixture of elementary astronomy and astrology, but it is not a beginner's textbook. Rather, the purpose isto use examples from those disciplines to provide spiritual, moral, and soteriological guidance. Thus the Epistle uses the argument from design to show the necessity for a Creator who made the harmonious universe; this wondrous design is then employed by the authors as a model, providing humans witha paradigm for proper ethical, political, and even economic conduct; and the study of Astronomia helps the soul achieve ultimate happiness as it seeks to throw off the shackles of this mundane world and oppressive body in favour of the purity of the celestial realm. Although by no means typical ofIslamic astronomical literature, Epistle 3 of the Brethren of Purity gives a window into a fascinating and intriguing group operating during the early period of Islam who sought to continue and adopt one of the esoteric strands of Hellenistic philosophy within an Islamic context, meshing astronomy,astrology, Platonic-Pythagorean philosophy, Quranic and Biblical quotations, and anecdotes from the lives of the Abrahamic prophets.

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The Epistles of the Brethren of Purity is an encyclopedic compendium, probably composed in tenth-century Iraq by a society of adepts with Platonic, Pythagorean, and Shi'i tendencies. Its 52 sections ('epistles') are divided into four parts (Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Sciences of the Souland Intellect, and Theology). The current v...

F. Jamil Ragep is Canada Research Chair in the History of Science in Islamic Societies and Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Educated at the University of Michigan and Harvard University, he has written extensively on the history of astronomy, on science in Islam, on science and reli...

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Hardcover|Nov 28 2014

$75.00 online$150.00list price(save 50%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:November 19, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198747373

ISBN - 13:9780198747376

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Table of Contents

PrelimsAcknowledgementsForewordIntroduction (includes 'technical notes' on edition and translation)Annotated English Translation of Epistle 3English AppendicesIndexBibliographyArabic Edition of Risala 3Arabic AppendicesArabic Index