From Baghdad to Barcelona: The Anxiety of Influence in the Transmission of the Greek and Arabic Sciences

Drawing on Harold Bloom’s model of poetic influence and supersession in his famous book, “The Anxiety of Influence,” and considering several historical cases of cross-cultural reception of the natural sciences from the Middle Ages that involved translation, this paper sketches a dynamic for understanding how one culture receives the intellectual riches of another. It argues further that the relative or perceived power relationship of the translator to the source culture can significantly affect the quality and usefulness of the translations. For example, a translator within a victorious culture, with an imperial language, tends to handle the source materials that he acquired from a vanquished culture with greater confidence than a translator in a self-perceived position of inferiority, who may be trying to imitate, catch up, or is defensively preserving a heritage that he fears will be lost. The former is exemplified by the 9th-century translations from Greek into Arabic that took place in Baghdad, and the latter by the earliest phase of the translations from Arabic into Latin that took place in Europe, 12th/13th centuries. Lastly, “anxieties of influence” are adduced as a partial explanation for the systematic attempts to purge Greek thought from Islamic civilization associated with al-Ghazali et al., and to erase Arabic thinkers from the intellectual genealogy of the West, beginning in the Renaissance.

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1001 Cures: Contributions in Medicine and Healthcare from Muslim Civilisation

1001 Cures: Contributions in Medicine and Healthcare from Muslim Civilisation tells the fascinating story of how generations of physicians from different countries and creeds created a medical tradition admired by friend and foe...

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Treasure Trove of Benefits and Variety at the Table: A Fourteenth-Century Egyptian Cookbook

The Kanz al-fawāʾid fī tanwīʿ al-mawāʾid is a 14th century Egyptian cookbook that consists of 830 recipes for a variety of different dishes and beverages...

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FSTC Launch of 1001 Cures Book

To mark the launch of 1001 Cures: Contributions in Medicine & Healthcare From Muslim Civilisation new multi-author book with Foreword by Sir Magdi Yacoub, the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) in partnership with Healthcare Development Holding Company (HDH) invite you  to attend a special event and reception to be held at The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG from 5:00 to 8:30pm on Wednesday 14 March

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A Sanctuary for Birds: Muslim Civilisation

Few creatures from the animal kingdom can live alongside humans in urban habitats. One of these survivalists are birds. There was a time when birds were simply welcomed and not worshipped not treated badly. You can still find traces of this admiration today. A list of references for birds in Muslim Civilisation would create a book, to name a few here; let’s take a journey of how birds were treated, bred and used in the Muslim cultures.

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Obituary: Professor Cesare Rossi, Naples

26 July 1955 - 10 March 2017 Naples, Italy

The world has lost a rare scholar and wonderful person. Cesare Rossi was a distinguished professor of engineering and also historian of engineering. He was a friend and an Associate of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation, UK (FSTC UK). He passed away whilst preparing to join us in London at the  ”Symposium on Science and Engineering in Muslim Heritage” organised jointly by FSTCUK and Al-Furqan Heritage Foundation. His paper was going to be about The Influences on Da Vinci’s Engineering. His recent book entitled Ancient Engineers' Inventions, History of Mechanism and Machine Science, vol 33. Springer, Cham. (2017) will be a long-lasting reference for researchers.

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Astronomy in Medieval Jerusalem

Various medieval Arabic manuscripts preserved in libraries around the world – Leipzig, Cairo, Princeton, and not least Jerusalem – attest to activity in astronomy in Mamlūk Jerusalem, mainly in the 14th century and thereafter into the Ottoman period, the most recent manuscript having been copied ca. 1900

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Dental Care in Islamic Medical Science: Muhammad al-Aqkirmani (d. 1760) and his Risalah fi hukm al-Siwak

Most of the oldest Muslim treatises on Siwak remain in a manuscript form. However, similar works on this issue have also appeared in later periods...

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