From Māshā ‘ Allāh to Kepler
Theory and Practice in Medieval and Renaissance Astrology
Edited by Charles Burnett and Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum
Astrology has recently become a subject of interest to scholars of the highest calibre. However, the tendency has been to look at the social context of astrology, the attacks on astrologers and their craft, and on astrological iconography and symbolism; i.e., largely looking on astrology from the outside. The intention of this book is to do is to look at the subject from the inside: the ideas and techniques of astrologers themselves. In both Western and Eastern cultures astrology was regarded as a pure science by most scholars, mathematicians, physicians, philosophers and theologians, and was taught in schools and universities. The greatest astronomers of the period under consideration, al-Kindi, Thabit ibn Qurra, Abraham Ibn Ezra, Galileo and Kepler, also wrote about and practised astrology. What did astrologers write about astrology and how did they teach their subject and practise their craft? What changes occurred in astrological theory and practice over time and from one culture to another? What cosmological and philosophical frameworks did astrologers use to describe their practice? What role did diagrams, tables and illustrations play in astrological text-books? What was astrology’s place in universities and academies? This book contains surveys of astrologers and their craft in Islamic, Jewish and Christian culture, and includes hitherto unpublished and unstudied astrological texts.
About the Editors
Charles Burnett studied for the BA in Classical in Cambridge University (May 1972) and achieved a PhD in Modern and Medieval Languages in the same university in June 1976. Having been a Junior Research Fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge, 1976-9, and a Senior Research Fellow, Warburg Institute, 1979-82, he was Leverhulme Research Fellow in the Department of History, at the University of Sheffield (1982-4 and 1985), interrupted by a year as Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (1984-5). He was appointed Lecturer in the History of Islamic Influences in Europe at the Warburg Institute, University of London, in April 1985, and promoted to Professor in 1999.
Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum is an expert in the history, theory and practice of ancient astrology, focusing on the Mediterranean region from the Hellenistic and Ptolemaic periods through Late Antiquity. She is a tutor on the MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. She received her PhD in Combined Historical Studies from the Warburg Institute, University of London in 2009, under the supervision of Charles Burnett. The book based on her thesis was published in 2016 by Brill as The Daimon in Hellenistic Astrology: Origins and Influence. She has a special interest in the history and doctrine of astrological lots, and has lectured and written extensively on them at conferences and in print.