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Marwa Elshakry, Reading Darwin in Arabic, 1860-1950, The University of Chicago Press, 2013, HB, ISBN 978-0-226-00130-2 (cloth); 978-0-226-00144-9 (e-book)

Science, Religion and Culture, Vol. 2, Iss. 2

Marwa Elshakry, Reading Darwin in Arabic, 1860-1950, The University of Chicago Press, 2013, HB, ISBN 978-0-226-00130-2 (cloth); 978-0-226-00144-9 (e-book)

Yashab Tur

 

Center for Islamic Sciences, AB, Canada,

Email: jis@cis-ca.org

 

ABSTRACT

The title is indeed tantalizing, the time span transforming, and the opening view panoramic: Imagine a world still living with centuries-old routines and patterns of individual and communal life, submerged in the slow rhythm of a pre-modern era, about to encounter modernity! This is the world that Elshakry describes in her groundbreaking work, a world which encounters cylinder-powered platen printing machines, the telegraph, the steam ships and railways—all coming from countries dimly perceived and barely understood. These fruits of modern science are accompanied by a host of ideas about the emergence and propagation of life on earth which, to the lay believer, seemed outright un-Godly. Marwa Elshakry, now an Associate Professor of History at Columbia University, explores the encounter of the Arab world with these and many other Western technologies and ideas in her wide-ranging Reading Darwin in Arabic through a panoramic lens, which then zooms in to focus on specific individuals. Thus we meet Free Masons, missionaries, colonial agents, officials of the fledging Ottoman Empire, Arab propagators of a new science, and religious scholars (‘Ulama) who are not ready to deal with a science that attempts to extract God from the explanatory hypothesis.

 

 

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Science, Religion and Culture

June

Vol. 5, Sp. Iss. 1 Pages 1-82

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