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AuthorHรธyrup, Jens. author
TitleLengths, Widths, Surfaces [electronic resource] : A Portrait of Old Babylonian Algebra and Its Kin / by Jens Hรธyrup
ImprintNew York, NY : Springer New York : Imprint: Springer, 2002
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Descript XIV, 462 p. online resource


In this examination of the Babylonian cuneiform "algebra" texts, based on a detailed investigation of the terminology and discursive organization of the texts, Jens Hรธyrup proposes that the traditional interpretation must be rejected. The texts turn out to speak not of pure numbers, but of the dimensions and areas of rectangles and other measurable geometrical magnitudes, often serving as representatives of other magnitudes (prices, workdays, etc...), much as pure numbers represent concrete magnitudes in modern applied algebra. Moreover, the geometrical procedures are seen to be reasoned to the same extent as the solutions of modern equation algebra, though not built on any explicit deductive structure


I Introduction -- II A New Reading -- III Select Textual Examples -- IV Methods -- V Further โ{128}{156}Algebraicโ{128}{157} Texts -- VI Quasi-Algebraic Geometry -- VII Old Babylonian โ{128}{156}Algebraโ{128}{157}: A Global Characterization -- VIII The Historical Framework -- IX The โ{128}{156}Finer Structureโ{128}{157} of the Old Babylonian Corpus -- X The Origin and Transformations of Old Babylonian Algebra -- XI Repercussions and Influences -- Abbreviations and Bibliography -- Index of Tablets -- Index of Akkadian and Sumerian Terms and Key Phrases -- Name Index

Mathematics History Mathematics History of Mathematical Sciences History of Science


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