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The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 B.C. to A.D. 1450 [Paperback]

David C. Lindberg
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1, 1992 0226482316 978-0226482316
This landmark book represents the first attempt in two decades to survey the science of the ancient world, the first attempt in four decades to write a comprehensive history of medieval science, and the first attempt ever to present a full, unified account of both ancient and medieval science in a single volume. In The Beginnings of Western Science, David C. Lindberg provides a rich chronicle of the development of scientific ideas, practices, and institutions from the pre-Socratic Greek philosophers to the late-medieval scholastics.

Lindberg surveys all the most important themes in the history of ancient and medieval science, including developments in cosmology, astronomy, mechanics, optics, alchemy, natural history, and medicine. He synthesizes a wealth of information in superbly organized, clearly written chapters designed to serve students, scholars, and nonspecialists alike. In addition, Lindberg offers an illuminating account of the transmission of Greek science to medieval Islam and subsequently to medieval Europe. And throughout the book he pays close attention to the cultural and institutional contexts within which scientific knowledge was created and disseminated and to the ways in which the content and practice of science were influenced by interaction with philosophy and religion. Carefully selected maps, drawings, and photographs complement the text.

Lindberg's story rests on a large body of important scholarship produced by historians of science, philosophy, and religion over the past few decades. However, Lindberg does not hesitate to offer new interpretations and to hazard fresh judgments aimed at resolving long-standing historical disputes. Addressed to the general educated reader as well as to students, his book will also appeal to any scholar whose interests touch on the history of the scientific enterprise.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is the first book in two decades to survey science in the ancient world, the first book in four decades to survey medieval science, and the first book ever to present a unified account of both ancient and medieval science. Lindberg looks at the most important themes of that science (mathematics, astronomy, alchemy, etc.) and provides a fresh account of the transmission of science from Ancient Greece to Islam to Medieval Europe.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 455 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (July 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226482316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226482316
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
By Matt
I read the Beginnings of Western Sceince as a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I had the extreme priviledge of taking two history of science courses from the author, who is also an absolutely outstanding professor. (And also one of the two or three most knowledgeable people in the world in the history of medieval science) This is by far the most comprehensive text on the history of ancient and medieval science that is out there. You might not believe it, but there aren't even a lot of other texts that cover half of what is discussed here period, let alone any that are this polished and concise. This book not only covers the development of western science from ancient times throught the Middle Ages, but it also considers the religious, and philosophical roots of this development. This book is masterfully written in that it provides a tremendous amount of detail, and yet is accessible to anyone that is an educated and interested reader. I cannot recommend this text highly enough.
Also Recommended: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
In his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn discusses the importance of history and its relationship to science, the changing views of how historians view past scientific achievements, the role of scientific method in science, and the nature and foundations of scientific revolutions.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Class Material April 8, 2000
By A Customer
I read this book as a student for my History of Scientific Thought Class. This text was an excellent addition to the course work that included discussions about scientific thinking, discovery and revolutions, Greek philosophy and nature, Medieval cosmology and it's assimilation of Plato and Aristotle. Lindberg also pictured works of art that helped discuss the science and thinking of the times. The other texts that, as a class, were discussed along with Lindberg were Leonard Schlain's Art and Physics and Arthur Koestler's The Sleepwalkers and Thomas Kuhn's THe Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book by a great professor November 1, 2000
I had to read this book because I'm currently taking a history of science class taught by the author at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and I just want to say it's excellent. It is clear, concise and (best of all from a student's point of view) not boring. It teaches you so much about looking at things in context. This is a great book from a great professor.
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9 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lively dinner conversation with an expert. August 24, 2000
By A Customer
I have read many, many histories of science, but this is far and away the best I have read.
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2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book from a biology major. August 9, 2006
By K. Lyon
As good of a book as you will ever find on the subject of the history and origin of science.
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