12 November, 2009

Thesis Outline

I think I may have finally worked out some of the kinks in my outline. Following is a draft (I won't include the thesis paragraph):



I) Introduction

a) This section will be written last

b) This section will organize the paper

II) The Coming of New Ideas

a) The introduction of paper and a new capital city

(1) Around 751 c.e., the Muslims learned the paper-making technique from the Chinese. This led to the increased importance of learning in the Abbasid courts.

(2) On July 30, 762, al-Mansur ordered the construction of the Round City, which would later be called “Baghdad”.

(i) Al-Mansur began the quest for knowledge with the establishment of his Royal Library in 765 c.e.

(ii) In 795, the first paper-making factory was built in Baghdad.

(3) Al-Mansur’s son, Harun al-Rashid, had an affinity toward learning and knowledge.

(i) Love of poetry

b) The House of Wisdom was established as a place of scholarship and translation.

(1) It is also called Bayt al-Hikmah or Dar el-Hikmah, depending on where you are from.

(i) Tthe Qur’an uses the term “hekmah” when speaking about “wisdom” and speaks of Gods call to acquire knowledge

(2) The Abbasid caliph Ma’mun was highly interested in seeking knowledge, therefore he established a special place for the study of knowledge to take place.

(i) Scholars from around the known world were invited to the House of Wisdom in order to translate works into Arabic from their native tongue.

(ii) In 771 c.e., a Hindu delegation visited the Abbasid court bringing with them their system of astrology/astronomy and various texts.

c) Review of the Literature

(1) Jonathan Lyons, The House of Wisdom

III) The House of Wisdom and the Arabic Translation Movement

a) New ways of thinking brought new discoveries in the maths and sciences

(1) Where earlier works were based on theory, the scientific and mathematic works by Arab/Muslim scholars in the House were based on observation and experimentation, making them more useful and sound than their predecessors.

(2) al-Khwarizmi and his work on algorithms, astronomy, and astrology

(3) al-Jabr and his work in mathematics, particularly algebra

(4) Albumazar

(i) The Introduction to Astrology, written in Baghdad around 848, served as the basis for bringing knowledge on the heavens and events on earth to the Latin-speaking West.

(ii) Considered a leading authority in the science of the heavens (as quoted by Lyons on page 139).

IV) The European Translation Movement ~ The Spread of Knowledge

a) The Crusades brought the west into contact with the east

(1) Masons who were also crusaders incorporated much of what they saw into their own work

(2) New knowledge brought to the West was in complete conflict with what the norm was at the time creating heated theological debates as well as banishment and excommunication of leading authorities (i.e. Master Amaury, David of Dinant, etc.).

(3) New writing forms emerged from contact with the east: the framed tale - a story within a story.

(i) Chaucer adopted this style in The Canterbury Tales

b) Adelard of Bath and his translations

c) Stephen of Pisa

d) The monastic scriptoria where monks copied and/or translated important works in math and science

V) Conclusion

a) Why was the House such an important institution?

(1) Significance within Islam

(2) Scientific inquiry/findings

b) Summary of the paper

c) Osama bin Laden, et. al., seeking a return to the Arab golden age

d) Importance of preservation


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