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

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

David C. Lindberg / Apr 23, 2019

The Beginnings of Western Science The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical Religious and Institutional Context B C to A D 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 t

  • Title: The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 B.C. to A.D. 1450
  • Author: David C. Lindberg
  • ISBN: 9780226482316
  • Page: 288
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 proviThis 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.

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    About "David C. Lindberg"

      • David C. Lindberg

        David C Lindberg was an American historian of science His main focus was in the history of medieval and early modern science, especially physical science and the relationship between religion and science Lindberg was the author or editor of many books and received numerous grants and awards He also served as President of the History of Science Society and, in 1999, was recipient of its highest prize for lifetime scholarly achievement the Sarton medal.


    474 Comments

    1. Maybe I'm just a geek (OK, I am just a geek, and a history-of-science geek at that) but this was one of the most unbelievably interesting books I have ever read.


    2. People in the sciences are often looking for the latest thing so the history of science being an endeavor which looks backward has less appeal to science enthusiasts and it may be too nerdy for history lovers. So it is kind of an orphan field. I myself love intellectual orphans. History of science is one of my favorite areas to read. When approaching the ancient and medieval scholars you have to have some understanding that they were not benighted fools barking up the wrong trees. They were just [...]


    3. I read this both to knock it out in advance for a History of Science class and because of an intellectual interest in Aristotelianism and Aquinas; I can't recommend it enough to anyone whose knowledge of the Middle Ages consists of the ahistorical smears developed first by 16th century Protestants against their Catholic forbearers, then by Enlightenment secularists eager to scoff at the supposedly superstitious and hidebound past. The chapters on Greek philosophy are fantastic, presenting Platon [...]


    4. "If we hope to understand what it means to inhabit the world of modern science, we cannot afford to be ignorant of the itinerary that brought us to it."David Lindberg is right in this claim, and he does a very good job of combatting that ignorance. As ambitious as it is well written, this book is an excellent overview of the Western scientific tradition in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Lindberg organizes his exploration very well, and he gives incredible insight into the context in which this s [...]


    5. Scholarly written, and ends with a bang. But the writings in between the different chapter doesnt add up to a bigger whole. Felt more of like a series of essays. Probably the author intended it for readers who have somewhat an intermediate-level of understanding on the topic. Content-wise: 5 stars (a tenous one). Writing-wise: 3 or 4 stars.


    6. In recent years, few synthetic and interpretative histories of science have been written which overview science from antiquity to the Middle Ages. David C. Lindberg, The Beginnings of Western Science, attempts to synthesize the philosophical, religious, and institutional aspects of this period, focusing on themes of transmission and continuity and profiting from research that was unavailable to past scholars of this genre. Lindberg's purpose was to describe the ancient and medieval scientific tr [...]


    7. The major theme of this book is that we cannot judge the accomplishments of the past through a modern lens. Every age in history had its own sets of problems and its own tools for trying to solve them. As Lindberg says, "we must forgive medieval scholars for being medieval and cease to castigate them for not being modern. If we are lucky, future generations will do us a similar favor." When we realize this, we are able to appreciate how the advancements of natural philosophy (i.e. science) from [...]


    8. Lindberg does an excellent job of tracing the history of the sciences (broadly construed) from prehistory to the late Middle Ages. He covers, physics, optics, medicine, biology, chemistry (in the form of alchemy), astronomy, and astrology with very good contextualization of the knowledge. You learn why smart people in the past would think that astrology makes sense. The author is very careful about explaining why medieval "scientists" thought as they did, and I find this method much more illumin [...]


    9. Excellent overview of the history of Western Science. The author is evenhanded and avoids any of the anti-religious nonsense regarding the Medieval era. The only disagreement I found was in one aside where he mentions the death of Hyapatia was due to Christians attacking her for her pagan beliefs. Other than that is is a valuable work and worth getting for anyone interested in the history of science.


    10. This book was a university text for me. I had to take a History of Science class in order to satisfy my science credit, so naturally scientific history isn't my leisure reading. However, I found this book to be very clearly written, and I believe Lindberg provides an extremely balanced and contemporary interpretation of the information.


    11. After reading the entertainingly written God's Philosophers, this book proved to be way more boring. It is comprehensive, well-documented, but just one of those academic books that mostly aim to cover a certain topic and not to argue a certain idea. For example, you have whole paragraphs which consist almost only of names, works and years. It is rather like a textbook, very useful for beginners who plan to specialize in the field, but not terribly captivating for general readers. You're likely t [...]


    12. Catch-all tome about development of science in the West: from Egypt & Mesopotamia, to Greek & Roman, then Islamic & Medieval, up to just before Renaissance. There is persistent myth that "real" science only started in 17th century. Well, it couldn't be further from truth.In this book David Lindberg shows that science is truly a cumulative process. Every generation has its own luminaries, who in turn formed the foundation for the next. As humanity progressed our worldview also morphed [...]


    13. Science did not begin with Newton, Galileo or even Copernicus. This is the essential survey of those who worked to understand the natural world in the 2000 years before them.


    14. للكاتب ديفد ليندبيرج المتخصص في دراسة تاريخ العلوم و البروفيسور في جامعة ويسكانسون - ماديسون الأمريكية.يعد هذا الكتاب من أهم و أنضج و أشمل المحاولات العلمية الجادة لتتبع و حصر أصول العلوم المختلفة، و رواية قصص نشأتها، و رصد مراحل تطورها عبر الزمن. يتضمن الكتاب مسحاً لفترة طو [...]


    15. Mr. Lindberg sets out to trace the development of Western scientific thought through the ages. He takes a position of continuity, saying that each age built upon the last in its own way (apparently some people argue for discontinuity). He successfully shows that scientific thought was dispersed widely, built upon itself, and contributed to modern scientific thought. The historical portion of this book is quite interesting. He starts with ancient Greek science, proceeds through Roman and Islamic [...]


    16. A competent and even lively introduction to scientific thought from prehistory to 1450. The first half covers the remarkable advances made in scientific thinking in antiquity, paying special attention to ancient Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, and Hellenistic natural philosophy. The second half is concerned with the way this thought was preserved, transmitted, transformed (and corrupted!) throughout the middle ages. Lindberg takes pains to emphasize the inappropriateness of dismissing ancient or med [...]


    17. David C. LindbergCurrently (08-May-2011) reading. I like this excerpt from Chapter 1:"This brief foray into lexicography ought to remind us that many words, especially the most interesting ones, have multiple meanings that shift with the contexts of usage or the practices of specific linguistic communities. Every meaning of the term "science" discussed above is a convention accepted by a sizable group of people, who are unlikely to relinquish their favored usage without a fight. From which it fo [...]


    18. TODO:++++ excellent review of early science, and why Western science is different+++ very good start+++ strong narrative, well read++ interesting theories about the spread of science after the Spanish conquest by Moors (or, if you prefer, the inaptly named Dark Ages)+ interesting points about modern science-- I missed somehow the transition between monasteries and universities. Is it that the author does not actually have a good theory for this transition? (Or, likely, it's me.)- lingers towards [...]


    19. Great overview of the history of science, especially during the middle ages. I would have liked to read a little more about the contributions of Islam though(how it preserved/transformed classical Greek contributions). Also, I would have liked to read about the transition from the middle ages to the early Renaissance. The book ends with the question of continuity, but doesn't really go into how the transition/revolution happened.


    20. A chronicle of the development of medieval scientific thought from Greek times, starting with a brief background visit to the earliest recorded mathematical and scientific efforts in Mesopotamia and Egypt. It helped to solidify my appreciation for the number of ideas that evolved from Ancient Greece, through the Middle Ages, and into the Renaissannce.



    21. A very well-written, resourceful introductory book for students of history of science. Lindenberg's concise and succinct descriptions of history of science well inform you about the traditions in science from ancient times to the early modern period. I've learned a lot from this book, and this book gave me incentive to pursue and learn more about the history of science in medieval period.


    22. First half: Greek learning celebrated, but little info on the intellectual stagnation (?) in 300-900AD.Second half: Poorly organized but informative account of late medieval learning (1000-1400 ish).


    23. Lindberg is a great writer and adept at presenting complex histories in simple frameworks. However, he has an incredible appreciation for and pays tribute to Greek culture, glossing over the less tasteful (though entirely essential) elements of Greek legacy.


    24. The best, most comprehensive introduction to the history of science in the ancient and medieval West. Aimed at undergraduates and non-specialists, with careful explanations of ideas and the social contexts in which they evolved.


    25. I read selections from this book. It is a very readable account of science from the Greeks through the Middle Ages.





    26. This is not only an interesting book - it is a must-read for any writer who is building a pre-modern world. Lindberg puts himself into the context and mind-set of the time periods.


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