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Science in the Middle Ages (The Chicago history of science and medicine)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Science in the Middle Ages (The Chicago history of science and medicine).pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    David C. Lindberg(Editor)

    Book details


Despite the intensive research of the past quarter century, there still is no single book that examines all major aspects of the medieval scientific enterprise in depth. This illustrated volume is meant to fill that gap. In it sixteen leading scholars address themselves to topics central to their research, providing as full an account of medieval science as current knowledge permits. Although the book is definitive, it is also introductory, for the authors have directed their chapters to a beginning audience of diverse readers, including undergraduates, scholars specializing in other fields, and the interested lay reader.

The book is not encylopedic, for it does not attempt to provide all relevant factual data; rather, it attempts to interpret major developments in each of the disciplines that made up the medieval scientific world. Data are not absent, but their function is to support and illustrate generalizations about the changing shape of medieval science. The editor, David C. Lindberg, has written a Preface in which he discusses the growth of scholarship in this field in the twentieth century.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Book details

  • PDF | 549 pages
  • David C. Lindberg(Editor)
  • University of Chicago Press (1978)
  • English
  • 4
  • Biographies & Memoirs

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Review Text

  • By Jordan Bell on November 5, 2014

    There are few comprehensive books in English on medieval science. The three most exhaustive, although early, studies are Pierre Duhem's ten volume "Système du Monde", Lynn Thorndike's eight volume "History of Magic and Experimental Science", and Anneliese Maier's five volume "Studien zur Naturphilosophie der Spätscholastik". There are also editions of many medieval writings by Marshall Clagett and his collaborators. However, the above works are all too large to be read by anyone but a professional scholar. Probably the best single volume exposition is Dijksterhuis's "Mechanization of the World Picture", which covers science from the pre-Socratics to Newton and which gives serious attention to medieval natural philosophy. There are also some shorter summaries by Edward Grant, which are good but not comprehensive, and A. C. Crombie's three volume "Styles of Scientific Thinking in the European Tradition", which I have not read.This volume consists of 15 chapters on various aspects of medieval science, each by different authors. But this is not a collection of specialized research written for other specialists. Each of the chapters is an introduction to its subject by scholars who know the subject well, and this collection is therefore a good place from which to learn.I consider the best chapter in the collection the one by John Murdoch and Edith Sylla, "The science of motion". In Greek and medieval physics, "motion" does not merely mean what we mean by this word, namely change of location (for which they would say "locomotion"), but what we mean by "change". These two authors have done the best work sorting out the work on kinematics of the Merton school at Oxford; it is unfortunate that Murdoch never wrote a comprehensive monograph before his death.I also enjoyed "The science of matter" by Robert P. Multhauf. Before being fit into the modern discipline of chemistry, discussions of matter were speculative, and included questions like "minima naturalia", whether there is a limit of how small a piece there can be of a substance.


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