Geber

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Jabir ibn Hayyan / Geber, died between 806 and 816.

Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (Arabic: جابر بن حيان, died between 806 and 816),[1] known in Latin as Geber, is the supposed author of a great number of writings in Arabic called the Jabirian corpus.[2] The most important topics of these writings are: alchemy, cosmology, numerology, astrology, medicine, magic, mysticism, and philosophy.

Jabir's writings contain the oldest known list of chemical substances, and explain for the first time how to produce an inorganic substance (ammonium chloride) from organic substances (such as plants, blood, and hair).[3]

The authorship of all these writings by one person, and even the historical existence of Jabir, is doubted by modern scholars. Instead, Jabir ibn Hayyan is seen more like a pseudonym used by a group of authors.[4]

Some Arabic writings by Jabir (like the "Book of Mercy", and the "Book of Seventy") were translated into Latin under the name "Geber".[5] In 13th-century Europe an anonymous writer, called pseudo-Geber, started to produce new alchemical writings under this name.[6] One of these 13th-century works by pseudo-Geber, the Summa perfectionis magisterii, was still used in the 17th century, influencing early modern chemists like Robert Boyle (1627–1691).[7]

References[change | change source]

Works cited[change | change source]

  • Delva, Thijs (2017). "The Abbasid Activist Ḥayyān al-ʿAṭṭār as the Father of Jābir b. Ḥayyān: An Influential Hypothesis Revisited". Journal of Abbasid Studies. 4 (1): 35–61. doi:10.1163/22142371-12340030.
  • Forster, Regula (2018). "Jābir b. Ḥayyān". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Three. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_32665.
  • Kraus, Paul (1942–1943). Jâbir ibn Hayyân: Contribution à l'histoire des idées scientifiques dans l'Islam. I. Le corpus des écrits jâbiriens. II. Jâbir et la science grecque. Cairo: Institut français d'archéologie orientale. ISBN 9783487091143.
  • Newman, William R. (1985). "New Light on the Identity of Geber". Sudhoffs Archiv. 69 (1): 76–90.
  • Newman, William R. (2006). Atoms and Alchemy: Chymistry and the Experimental Origins of the Scientific Revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226576978.
  • Plessner, Martin (1981). "Jābir Ibn Hayyān". In Gillispie, Charles C. (ed.). Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 7. New York: Charles Scribners’s Sons. pp. 39–43.
  • Stapleton, Henry E.; Azo, R. F.; Hidayat Husain, M. (1927). "Chemistry in Iraq and Persia in the Tenth Century A.D". Memoirs of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. VIII (6): 317–418.