George Saliba


On his book Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance

Cover Interview of October 23, 2009

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“Why, and how, Islamic science was born and grew and taken up in Europe.”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“This explains the translation of Greek texts much better than the dream of a caliph to know what Aristotle had said.  It is the one who gains employment from what Aristotle said, and from what Euclid said, and from what Diophantus said, and from what Galen said, who pushes for their translations.”

On the second:

“If you ask a contemporary scientist about what was said in physics fifty years ago, the answer would be that all of that is obsolete. Today’s scientists do not read what was written in their fields fifty years ago. They only go for the latest. Why should a Renaissance scientist go for a text written in Ancient Greece a thousand years before, when the same had been discussed, criticized, updated, in the Islamic domain?”