Science Pub Portland - Crystal Ballroom

Date: Jul. 15, 2014 Time: 7-9pm Located at: McMenamins Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside, Portland
Who is this for: 21+ (or minor with adult) Cost: $5 suggested donation

Science Pub Portland - Crystal Ballroom

House of Wisdom: The Influence of Islamic Science on Western Culture
with Jonathan Lyons, PhD, author

For centuries following the fall of Rome, Western Europe was a benighted backwater, a world of subsistence farming, minimal literacy, and violent conflict. Meanwhile Arab and Muslim culture was thriving, dazzling those Europeans fortunate enough to visit cities like Baghdad or Antioch. There, philosophers, mathematicians, and astronomers were steadily advancing the frontiers of knowledge, as well as keeping alive the works of Plato and Aristotle. When the best libraries in Europe held several dozen books, Baghdad’s great library, The House of Wisdom, housed four hundred thousand. Even while their countrymen waged bloody Crusades against Muslims, a handful of intrepid Christian scholars, hungry for knowledge, traveled East and returned with priceless jewels of science, medicine, and philosophy that laid the foundation for the Renaissance. Jonathan Lyons reveals the story of how Europe drank from the well of Muslim learning.

Jonathan has spent much of his professional life exploring the shifting boundaries between East and West, first on both sides of the Cold War divide and, for the past two decades, on the cusp between the Islamic and Western worlds. Over time, he came to see the relationships between these seemingly polar fields as a problem not of geography or politics (or even geo-politics) but of thought, ideas, and knowledge. This realization prompted him to leave behind more than 20 years as a foreign correspondent and editor, much of it in the Islamic world, and to complete a doctorate in sociology.

Jonathan is the author of four works of intellectual history and religious studies, including The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization, which has been translated into a dozen languages. He lives in NE Portland. Signed copies of his book will be available for purchase after the talk.

Science Pub Portland at the Crystal Ballroom is a monthly event open to anyone aged 21+ (or minor with adult). No RSVP or scientific background required. Just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks, and knowledge!
$5.00 suggested cover charge. Tell your friends. We hope to see you there!

Questions? E-mail