Teaching Math in the Middle Ages
Paper given by Tekla Bude
Given at the Delaware Valley Medieval Association Fall Meeting, on September 12, 2015
Excerpt” Today I would like to talk about the places mathematics and mathematical pedagogy in particular appear in the Latin writing of the medieval world. As I said in my opening, there is a rich and more advanced “mathematics” happening outside of Europe at this time, mainly in the Arabic world, India, and in what is now Spain, but I am interested in medieval Europe precisely because it is a sort of backwater, at least in our common conceptions. As a medievalist I am compelled to find complexity in places that others tend to overlook, as I am sure all of your as well. One of my working assumptions in this project is that mathematical ideas and reasons to use math look really different in the medieval period – so different that we often overlook them.
Top Image: A multiplication table decorated with fish and animals in colours and gold (British Library, Harley MS 549 fol. 14r)