Religion, Science, and Anatomy

Cover of a medieval manuscript of Ibn Sina's al-Qanun

In his paper, "The Question of Anatomy: Towards a Different Understanding of the Interactions of Religion and Science in the Medieval Middle East," Prof. Ahmed Ragab explains that in the Middle Ages, anatomy was not, as it is today, a matter of empirical observation. Instead, in the Medieval Middle East, the discourse of anatomy had its foundations in the medical theory of the ancient Greeks and the religious teachings of Islam. Medical scholars had to find creative ways "to deal with the conflicting authorities and sometimes contradicting narratives" of these two traditions.

Prof. Ragab, an affiliate of the FAS department of the history of science, is also the first Richard T. Watson Assistant Professor of Science and Religion in the Faculty of Divinity. He will be delivering a public lecture to mark the inauguration of this new professorship on March 29, 2012, at Andover Hall.