December 11, 2012
Science in Medieval Cultures edited by Gad Freudenthal, provides the first comprehensive overview by 21 renowned experts of current knowledge regarding the engagement of medieval Jews with the sciences (12th-16th centuries). Many medieval Jews living in Islamic or Christian civilizations, joined Maimonides in their acceptance of the philosophical-scientific tradition. They appropriated an extensive range of scientific knowledge including astronomy, mathematics, physics, biology, psychology, astrology and medicine in texts using their original languages of Latin and Arabic or in Hebrew translations. These texts were the starting points for Jewish contributions to medieval sciences, and they also informed other literary genres including biblical commentaries and halakhic (legal) discussions. The essays provide readers with a greater understanding of medieval scientific thought and reflect the diversity of Jewish cultures and science in specific contexts during the Middle Ages. Gad Freudental is a Senior Research Fellow (Emeritus) at the Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris and teaches in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Geneva. He is the author and editor of several books on the history of science in antiquity and the Middle Ages, especially in Jewish cultures.