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Teaching Math in the Middle Ages

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)

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