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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55101
Doc. No:TL25055
Call number:‭1452429‬
Main Entry:Gail Marlow Taylor
Title & Author:Al-Rāzī's “Book of Secrets”: The practical laboratory in the medieval Islamic worldGail Marlow Taylor
College:California State University, Fullerton
Date:2008
Degree:M.A.
student score:2008
Page No:319
Abstract:Over a thousand years ago, the Persian physician and chemist Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakarīyā al-Rāzī wrote a laboratory manual in Arabic, called the Kitāb al-Asrār or Book of Secrets. His systematic book describes procedures in terms of required chemicals, equipment, and processes, without the theoretical or allegorical digressions that characterize many alchemical manuals. In the early twentieth century, science historians Julius Ruska and Henry Stapleton were greatly impressed by al-Rāzī's scientific approach. More recent histories, however, usually treat serious laboratory texts as a development of early modern Europe. I have translated al-Rāzī's book into English from Ruska's German translation of the Arabic text. I argue that it embodies the methodological organization of a modern laboratory procedure manual. In this thesis, I first analyze the historical significance of the Kitāb al-Asrār and its relationship to medieval European alchemic texts. Next, I examine its contents and show how its strategies for reproducibility share a common pattern with modern laboratory manuals. Laboratories today analyze virtually everything we touch from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. Yet the basis of laboratory testing, the procedure manual defining equipment, materials, and procedures, is demonstrated in a tenth-century alchemic handbook, the Kitāb al-Asrār.
Subject:Social sciences; Razi, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya; Middle Eastern history; Middle Ages; Science history; 0333:Middle Eastern history; 0585:Science history; 0581:Middle Ages
Added Entry:J. Burgtorf
Added Entry:California State University, Fullerton