Day School: The Light Ages

Ref: C3743091

This course explores how scientific knowledge was transferred from Ancient Greece to Medieval Europe via Islamic (Arabic) philosophers, who held the torch of learning and scholarship while the light of European intellectual activity was almost extinguished during the (so-called) "Dark Ages". 1. Influence of Ancient Greek thought on modern culture - the Arts, Science and Religion. 2.. The significant influence of Aristotle and other Greek philosophers on Arabic science, and thus early medieval university curricula. 3. The “Dark Ages” in Europe (and how they didn’t happen). 4. The rise of Islam and the impact of Islamic scholarship. 5. The recovery of Greek thought by Latin Europe from Arab sources. 6. Humanism, the revival of classical antiquity thus leading to: The Renaissance, and the Scientific Revolution

Additional information about this course

This course is not supported by The Education and Skills Funding agency and does not have a fee waiver but concessions may be available. Contact the branch for further details.

Course aim

This course provides students (particularly those who studied history in the British tradition) with a more accurate and nuanced view of the way in which European science and culture developed.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Discuss the ways in which history has been taught in schools in the British tradition, and the extent to which that teaching has neglected the influence of Arab scientists and philosophers on modern science and culture.
  • Identify and discuss the some influences of medieval Islamic science on modern science and culture.
  • Identify the main characters of medieval science (both Arabic and European) and understand (in broad terms) their individual role in the development of medieval Islamic science.
  • Identify some of the routes by which Greek science was transferred to European scientists via Islamic scholars, and the particular influences on recognised European scientists including Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler.
  • Discuss the the extent to which Islamic scholarship provided stimuli for the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Some readings will be suggested for further development.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre-course work is necessary, although the following works provide accessible introductions: Science and Islam (Ehsan Masood, 2009) Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science (Jim al-Khalili, 2010) Aladdin's Lamp (John Freely, 2009)

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full course information sheet

Day School: The Light Ages

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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