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== Notes ==
== Notes ==
* [http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polymath Merriam-Webster Online]
* [http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polymath Merriam-Webster Online]
*[[Bibliography|Whitfield]], pp. 65-6
*[[Bibliography|Whitfield]], pp. 65-66

Latest revision as of 23:53, 9 January 2012

According to Merriam-Webster, a polymath is "a person of encyclopedic learning." Its origin is polymathes or very learned, from poly- + manthanein to learn.

Peter Whitfield contends that, in the case of Islamic science, such an absence of landmark discoveries that should give shape and coherence to any study in the Arabic world was due to too much polymathic activity. That is, the sheer versatility of the leading scholars -- typically mastering mathematics, astronomy and medicine, and still finding time to translate from several languages, and contribute to philosophy and poetry -- suggests an imperfect commitment to any one pathway of knowledge.

[edit] Notes

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