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Arabic Cosmology

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image of Early Science and Medicine

Representations of the heavens in various levels of detail can be found in a number of branches of Arabic literature. One particular genre, the hay'a texts, has as its purpose a full though non-mathematical discussion of the arrangement of the celestial orbs; hay'a writers are particularly sensitive to the philosophical requirements which all systems must meet. The pivotal work in this genre, On the Configuration, was written by Ibn al-Haytham. Later writers continued to produce works in the spirit of On the Configuration. In the east, al-Tusi and his followers developed new models; in the west, a group of thinkers tried to rediscover the models which, so they thought, were the ones endorsed by Aristotle himself.

Affiliations: 1: Microfilm Institute, National Library, Jerusalem


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