Book Review: George Saliba: Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance
When, where, and how did the Islamic scientific tradition begin? When, where and how did it reach its zenith? What did it accomplish? And when did its decline begin? These are the basic questions that have puzzled historians of science for over a quarter century as they reconsider the "classical narrative" formulated by earlier grand Orientalists such as Goldziher and his successors. George Saliba's new book, which he calls "essentially an essay in historiography", joins the many seminal works he has written over the last thirty years that have constituted some of the most original studies on the history of Islamic science and have been instrumental in producing the initial cracks in that same classical narrative, which was once considered unassailable. Despite Saliba's longstanding scholarly career and insightful works, however, Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance is not a work that can serve a final blow to the classical narrative, for it relies too heavily on thin argumentation with too few proofs to convince adherents of the classical narrative.