Session Title

The Progression of Mathematics in Medieval Western Europe

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Samuel Sargeant

Organizer Affiliation

Durham Univ.

Presider Name

Helen Foxhall Forbes

Presider Affiliation

Durham Univ.

Paper Title 1

The Beginning of Wisdom: Mathematical and Religious Knowledge in Abraham Ibn Ezra's Astrological Encyclopedia

Presenter 1 Name

Allyssa J. Metzger

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Harvard Univ.

Paper Title 2

Walcher of Great Malvern: A Study in the Reception of Arabic Science into England in the Twelfth Century

Presenter 2 Name

Katherine Bader

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Durham Univ.

Paper Title 3

Mathematics and Time in the Konnungs Skuggsja: Teaching the Old Norse Vernacular Audience

Presenter 3 Name

Samuel Sargeant

Start Date

16-5-2015 3:30 PM

Session Location

Schneider 1345

Description

This session will explore the passage of Arabic mathematics and astronomy through western Europe from Spain, England and into the Scandinavian sphere, its dissemination through teaching texts and tools, and its distinct methods of absorption within these regions. The presenters will analyse the flow of knowledge with an emphasis on pedagogy, the implied audience for these works and provide a unique cross section in this area of study.

The earliest diffusion of Arabic numerals - most notably zero - throughout Europe can be traced back to Spain, where translations within the Muslim-Jewish-Christian milieu demonstrate the creative task of introducing foreign concepts using existing knowledge structures and local vocabulary. The Jewish exegete Abraham Ibn Ezra, as a prime example, coined a number of terms subsequently used when talking about astral sciences by adopting hebrew vocabulary and trading on the theological connotations of certain words.

His texts reflect the character of Iberian astral sciences, and their translations into Latin and vernacular languages indicate a widespread interest in both Jewish and Latin-speaking populations throughout Europe, especially in Italy, France and England.

The unknown author of the Konnungs Skuggsja (a 13th century didactic Norwegian Treatise) in many ways emulates the translation tradition within southern Europe by absorbing the Latin translations of science and natural philosophy and adapting them to the Scandinavian audience. The methods and views towards natural philosophy in Scandinavia differ markedly from their Western European counterparts, but Old Norse authors engaged with scientific concepts no less readily. This panel will directly compare and contrast the methods of absorption, between vernacular and Latin audiences, of knowledge across Europe and explore how each new region engaged with reacquired classical scientia.

Within each paper, special focus will be given over to mathematics, numerals, astronomy and time reckoning. Utilising these themes the panel will analyse a unique demographic of medieval scientific translation and discourse, presenting the subtle links between these, often considered disparate, regions of the high medieval period.

Samuel M. Sargeant

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May 16th, 3:30 PM

The Progression of Mathematics in Medieval Western Europe

Schneider 1345

This session will explore the passage of Arabic mathematics and astronomy through western Europe from Spain, England and into the Scandinavian sphere, its dissemination through teaching texts and tools, and its distinct methods of absorption within these regions. The presenters will analyse the flow of knowledge with an emphasis on pedagogy, the implied audience for these works and provide a unique cross section in this area of study.

The earliest diffusion of Arabic numerals - most notably zero - throughout Europe can be traced back to Spain, where translations within the Muslim-Jewish-Christian milieu demonstrate the creative task of introducing foreign concepts using existing knowledge structures and local vocabulary. The Jewish exegete Abraham Ibn Ezra, as a prime example, coined a number of terms subsequently used when talking about astral sciences by adopting hebrew vocabulary and trading on the theological connotations of certain words.

His texts reflect the character of Iberian astral sciences, and their translations into Latin and vernacular languages indicate a widespread interest in both Jewish and Latin-speaking populations throughout Europe, especially in Italy, France and England.

The unknown author of the Konnungs Skuggsja (a 13th century didactic Norwegian Treatise) in many ways emulates the translation tradition within southern Europe by absorbing the Latin translations of science and natural philosophy and adapting them to the Scandinavian audience. The methods and views towards natural philosophy in Scandinavia differ markedly from their Western European counterparts, but Old Norse authors engaged with scientific concepts no less readily. This panel will directly compare and contrast the methods of absorption, between vernacular and Latin audiences, of knowledge across Europe and explore how each new region engaged with reacquired classical scientia.

Within each paper, special focus will be given over to mathematics, numerals, astronomy and time reckoning. Utilising these themes the panel will analyse a unique demographic of medieval scientific translation and discourse, presenting the subtle links between these, often considered disparate, regions of the high medieval period.

Samuel M. Sargeant