Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Prof. Dr. Sonja Brentjes

Former Researcher

General Information

Sonja Brentjes is a historian of science including mathematics and mapmaking in Islamicate societies between ca. 750 and 1700 and the Mediterranean basin including Christian societies in Europe in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. Her main research areas are the Arabic translations of Euclid's Elements, the patronage of the mathematical sciences in Islamicate societies and their teaching at madrasas, cross-cultural exchange between Christian and Muslim scholarly and artisanal communities in the late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, the interactions between the arts and the sciences in Islamicate societies  and more recently the visual representation of the heavens on material objects in Eurasia and North Africa. She was awarded the Kenneth O. May Prize for History of Mathematics in 2021 and the Research Prize of the Annemarie Schimmel Foundation in 2022.

Short Curriculum Vitae

Dr. habil. nat. University Leipzig (1991), Dr. sc. in history of science Karl Marx University Leipzig (1989), Dr. rer. nat. in history of mathematics TU Dresden (1977), Diploma in Near Eastern Cultures Martin Luther University Halle/Saale (1982), Diploma in mathematics TU Dresden (1973)

· affiliated researcher MPIWG, Berlin 2020-2022

· senior researcher MPIWG, Berlin 2012-2019

· senior researcher, project of excellence, University of Sevilla, Sevilla 2008-2012

· associate professor, ISMC, London 2004-2007

· researcher, DFG project, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main 1999-2002

· senior researcher, MPIWG, Berlin 1996-2002

· assistant professor, Karl Marx University/University Leipzig 1976-1997

Selected Publications

2023. Edited with Peter Barker (associated editor) and Rana Brentjes (assistant editor), The Routledge Handbook of the Sciences in Islamicate Societies. Practices from the 2nd/8th to the 13th/19th Centuries. London and New York: Routledge.

2022. Co-authored with Hamid Bohloul, “Copies of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Ṣūfī’s Book on the Star Constellations as Patronage Objects and Their Properties.” Intellectual History of the Islamicate World (2022), online, 1–29. DOI: 10.1163/2212943X-12340008.

2022 Edited with Jens Høyrup and Bruce O’Brien, Narratives on Translation across Eurasia and Africa. From Babylonia to Colonial India. Turnhout: Brepols.

2022 “Islamic Cosmological Diagrams,” in J. F. Hamburger, D. J. Roxburgh, L. Saffran eds. The Diagram as Paradigm. Cross-Cultural Approaches, 227–252. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections.

2021 “The Stars in the Sky and on the Globe: ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿUmar al-Ṣūfī’s Visualization of the Heavens,” Aestimatio 2.2: 59–98.

2021. “The Mathematical Sciences and Medicine in Safavid Iran,” in R. Matthee ed., The Safavid World, 428–446. London: Routledge.

2020. “Teaching Mathematical and Astronomical Knowledge in Classical and Post-Classical Islamicate Societies,” in S. Günther ed., Knowledge and Education in Classical Islam: Religious Learning between Continuity and Change. 2 vols., Vol. 2: 610–634. Leiden: Brill.

2020 Edited together with Dagmar Schäfer, Imagining the Heavens: Historiographical Challenges and Eurasian Perspectives. Basel: Birkhäuser.

2018 Teaching and Learning the Sciences in Islamicate Societies, 800–1700. Turnhout: Brepols.

2018 “Visualization and Material Cultures of the Heavens in Eurasia and North Africa,” in S. Schmidtke ed. Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, 1935–2018, 134–153. Piscataway, MJ: Gorgias Press.