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The Penultimate CuriosityHow Science Swims in the Slipstream of Ultimate Questions$
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Roger Wagner and Andrew Briggs

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747956.001.0001

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The House of Wisdom

The House of Wisdom

(p.127) Chapter Fifteen The House of Wisdom
The Penultimate Curiosity

Roger Wagner

Andrew Briggs

Oxford University Press

This chapter focusses on how the Muslim conquest of Egypt at around AD 642 effected a profound cultural transformation and set the stage for a novel and radically international phase in the struggle to integrate different ways of thinking. Topics discussed include how the Arab caliphs’ encounters with the ideas of the ancient civilizations they now ruled paralleled Muhammad’s own encounters with Judaism and Christianity over a century earlier; the openness of the ruling families of the Abbasid Empire of Baghdad to influences from all parts of the globe; the Sassanian empire of Persia’ houses of wisdom, which served as repositories for documents; and Qu’ranic instructions that provided Muslims with a specific motivation for astronomical study.

Keywords:   Muslims, conquest, Egypt, cultural transformation, Greek, Arabic, Baghdad, Abbasids, Qu’ran, astronomy

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