The transformation of mathematics from ancient Greece to the medieval Arab-speaking world is here approached by focusing on a single problem proposed by Archimedes and the many solutions offered. In this trajectory Reviel Netz follows the change in the task from solving a geometrical problem to its expression as an equation, still formulated geometrically, and then on to an algebraic problem, now handled by procedures that are more like rules of manipulation. From a practice of mathematics based on the localized solution (and grounded in the polemical practices of early Greek science) we see a transition to a practice of mathematics based on the systematic approach (and grounded in the deuteronomic practices of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages). With three chapters ranging chronologically from Hellenistic mathematics, through late Antiquity, to the medieval world, Reviel Netz offers an alternate interpretation of the historical journey of pre-modern mathematics.
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(216mm x 140mm x 12mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - Reviel Netz
Reviel Netz is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics at Stanford University. He has published widely in the field of Greek mathematics: The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics: A Study in Cognitive History (1999) was runner-up for the Runciman Prize for 2000, and he is currently working on a complete English translation of and commentary on the works of Archimedes, the first volume of which was published in 2003. He has also written a volume of Hebrew poetry and an historical study of barbed wire.