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Institute of Medieval & Post Medieval Studies(IMPMS)
Held a seminar at Texas Christian University on March 31st 2017
Islamic Heritage and the Foundation of Renaissance
Keynote speaker was Professor Kevin Krisciunas of Texas A & M University.
The Dean of school Theology and Dr. Yushau Sodiq welcome the guests. Dr. Basheer Ahmed made a brief presentation on “Dark Ages of Europe were not the Dark Ages of the World”. He elobarated the contribution made by Muslim Scholars and Scientists during 800 A.D – 1600 A.D. in Baghdad and Spain which Enlightened the world and became the foundation for renaissance.
Prof. Krisciunas presented the contributions made by Muslim Astronomers during this period. The most important astronomical work of the 16th century was Nicholas Copernicus’s On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (1543). The principal “machinery” for Copernicus’s revolutionary new Sun-centered cosmos came from two sources. His book parallel’s The Almagest of Claudius Ptolemy (ca 150 AD). The version of The Almagest used by Copernicus was the 1515 edition published in Venice. It had been translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona in 1175, who worked in Toledo (in al-Andalus, modern day Spain) and collaborated with one or more Jewish scholars. Gerard’s Latin version was probably based on the Arabic translation made in Baghdad by al-Hajjaj in Yunus ibn Matar in 829 AD.
Copernicus’s preliminary exposition of his ideas, the Commentariolus (1514), and his final book used two important mathematical breakthroughs from the “Maragha school” of astronomers: Mu’ayyad al-Din al-‘Urdi (d. 1266), Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (d. 1275), and Ibn al-Shatir (d. 1375) of Damascus. In particular Copernicus’s work employed the “Tusi couple” and ‘Urdi’s lemma. These are technicalities fully understood only by experts. In 1957 Otto Neugebauer accidentally discovered a Greek-language manuscript that probably reached Italy after the 1453 fall of Constantinople to the Turks and which contains a diagram showing al-Tusi’s couple. There is extremely strong circumstantial evidence that Copernicus must have become familiar with ‘Urdi’s lemma and Tusi’s couple during his time in Italy (1496-1504). It is clear that the translation and preservation of ancient Greek astronomy in the Muslim world and the addition of two mathematical innovations by Muslim astronomers of the Maragha school gave a very significant boost to Renaissance astronomy.
150 people representing the diverse community attended the seminar. IMPMS also held an exhibit showing the picture and the scientific work done by Muslim scientists of medieval years.
The seminar was made possible by the board of directors of IMPMS Dr. Sodiq, Mr Moazam, Mr. Shaheed, Mr. Budri and Dr. Basheer Ahmed.