Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Islamic Scientific Manuscripts Initiative

Islamic Scientific Manuscripts Initiative

The Islamic Scientific Manuscripts Initiative is a joint project of :

  • Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University, Montreal, Canada; McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany; Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
  • American Council of Learned Societies (USA)

(ISMI) contains  information on over 1,500 scientists, their works, and their social  milieu, spanning the entire Islamic world, from Islamic Spain to India  and the borders of China, beginning in the 8th century and continuing  until the 19th. These works in astronomy, mathematics, physics,  geography, mechanics, and related disciplines number in the thousands  and are represented, conservatively speaking, by tens of thousands of  manuscript copies spread throughout the world. 

Much more than a simple catalogue, ISMI provides information on the  authors, content of the texts, readership and ownership, institutional  locations where the manuscripts were copied, studied, and taught, the  relationship of original texts and their commentaries and  supercommentaries, and other information that will help draw a picture  of the social and intellectual contexts of these works.  
ISMI aims to contribute to our understanding of the role of rationalism  in traditional Islamic societies and the interplay of science and  religion within them, and more generally to treat science in Islam as a  humanistic enterprise.

Cross-posted from Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources (AMIR) [ISSN 2160-3049]

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