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Publisher's Summary

The study of Western Civilization traditionally follows a well-known but incomplete arc: the grand achievements of Greece and Rome, several hundred years of the Dark Ages, and then the bright emergence of the European Renaissance. But amid the "dark" Middle Ages, the Abbasid Empire, which ruled the Middle East as well as much of Northern Africa and Central Asia from 750 to 1258, serves as a vitally important but often overlooked bridge between the ancient and modern worlds.
The History and Achievements of the Islamic Golden Age is your opportunity to get to know the story and the accomplishments of this great period in human civilization. Taught by acclaimed lecturer Eamonn Gearon, these 24 remarkable lectures offer brilliant insights into an era too often overlooked by traditional history textbooks. You'll meet a wealth of scholars, scientists, poets, and philosophers who paved the way for the Renaissance and continue to affect our world in surprising ways.
For instance, gain insights into:



The origins of the scientific method, along with the development of algebra, chemistry, physics, and astronomy as discrete fields of inquiry
The invention of the modern "teaching hospital" and a medical encyclopedia that served Europe for the next 600 years
The preservation and translation of the world's great literature, from the Hadith (or sayings of Muhammad) to the master works of Greece and Rome
Ontological philosophy that served future Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians concerned with the nature of God and the relationship between faith and reason

It is nearly impossible to overstate the power and importance of this crucial 500-year history, headquartered in Baghdad but stretching around the world. While much of Europe was quietly passing the time, the Abbasid Empire was an international, multicultural hub of trade, travel, education, art, science, and much more.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2017 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Richard on 08-08-17

You gotta get smart to see how dumb you are”.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

At first, I hesitated to select this title. Maybe like you, the current situation in many Islamic countries shaded my expectations of what could have been achieved a millenia ago. Now I know. It was enormous.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The History and Achievements of the Islamic Golden Age?

The scope is ambitious but it manages to sparkle as well. I loved the many, small portraits of the thinkers. E.g. a wily scientist who feigned insanity to escape execution by his sponsor. Or a poet who extolled the delights of getting drunk – in an Islamic country. Human genius, human nature.

What does Professor Eamonn Gearon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I love the spoken word. To listen to a story told by a gifted storyteller is pure magic.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I deeply respect the work and dedication that went into it. This is a work that acknowledges the contribution of minds that have borne us further. But the author has labored in an area which has been deprived of both attention and public sympathy. This is true dedication and scholarship.

Any additional comments?

This book deserves a broad readership.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By riyad on 12-24-17

Learn but be have your own filter

 

Overall the book is informative and thoughtful, and thought provoking. I do have the following observations;

The speaker superimposes his early 21stcentury values on his assessment of completely different moral and ethical values. Its saying someone is good or bad because they are like me or different from me today, and that is irrational especially considering that many values tend to change from one generation.

In the lecture on Al Buckari, the presenter does not mentioned the methodology used to assess the strength of the Hadith. He does not state that a complete science is dedicated to assessing the trustworthiness of Hadith chains and transmitters called the Jarh and Tadil. The way it is portrayed now implies randomness and a high degree of uncertainty.

In one of the lectures the speaker mentions the term “wahabi” as a subcategory of Hanbali. This is a derogatory and baseless term fabricated in recent decades for reasons other than historical description, in simple terms it is primarily a segregation tool. Mohammed Ibn Abdulwahab did not develop a separate ideology or school of thought, he simply promoted the return to grassroots Islam, without superimposing later schools of thought. There are several other reasons why this term is in error, which for brevity will not be discussed here.

The assertion in the lecture on Al Bayruni that the Quran indicates that the Sun, moon, and other celestial objects revolve around the Earth. Where does it state so? There is not a single verse in the Quran that will contradict scientific fact.

The frequently stated driver for the Islamic Golden Age was stated to be a feeling of inferiority on the side of the Arabs. Again, what is the basis for this assertion? A feeling of inferiority does not sustain hundreds of years of scientific pursuits. A Muslim employs drivers other than just materialistic pursuits. With the belief that God created our existence, science to Muslims a  pathway to knowing God better, and being a stronger believer and way of getting perpetual good deeds through giving benefit to others.

In all I still think the lectures were beneficial and well worth the cost.

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 06-12-18

Well delivered however long winded and repetitive

I found the speaker engaging and informative, although it was a shame that the lecturer did not actually research the islamic references mentioned and just derived them from speculation. The topics were irrelevant to the actual subject and seemed quite random.

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3 out of 5 stars
By Nameless Drone on 03-28-18

Lacked focus

The lecturer was knowledgeable and his delivery was polished. But I felt the course lacked focus or narrative. Lectures didn't build up a big picture, just presented many small ones.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Omar on 06-17-17

Good but a little annoying

This is a good book and worth the money. My only complaint is that the narrator waffles around a bit and doesn't get to the point. The picture he paints is not as clear as it could be.
I'd prefer more detail and a more chronological approach tracking the idea as much as the person. In the history of science books I got a very good feel of where ideas came from and how they developed. I really wanted that from this book as well.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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