Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Islamic Scientific Manuscripts Initiative (ISMI)

The Islamic Scientific Manuscripts Initiative is a joint project of :
  • Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
  • Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany.
  • American Council of Learned Societies (USA)
(ISMI) contains information on over 1,500 scientists, their works, and their social milieu, spanning the entire Islamic world, from Islamic Spain to India and the borders of China, beginning in the 8th century and continuing until the 19th. These works in astronomy, mathematics, physics, geography, mechanics, and related disciplines number in the thousands and are represented, conservatively speaking, by tens of thousands of manuscript copies spread throughout the world.
Much more than a simple catalogue, ISMI provides information on the authors, content of the texts, readership and ownership, institutional locations where the manuscripts were copied, studied, and taught, the relationship of original texts and their commentaries and supercommentaries, and other information that will help draw a picture of the social and intellectual contexts of these works.
ISMI aims to contribute to our understanding of the role of rationalism in traditional Islamic societies and the interplay of science and religion within them, and more generally to treat science in Islam as a humanistic enterprise.

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