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The Ordering of Time: From the Ancient Computus to the Modern Computer

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This book is a concise history of the use and interpretation of time, written by one of the foremost medievalists in Europe today. Arno Borst examines the various ways that time has been calculated by numbers and measured by instruments over several centuries, from the computus—an ancient method of determining times and dates—to the present-day computer. In a wide-ranging d This book is a concise history of the use and interpretation of time, written by one of the foremost medievalists in Europe today. Arno Borst examines the various ways that time has been calculated by numbers and measured by instruments over several centuries, from the computus—an ancient method of determining times and dates—to the present-day computer. In a wide-ranging discussion, he analyzes the classical Greek concepts of divine, natural, and human time; the universal time of ancient Rome; the Easter cycle of the Middle Ages; the development of the mechanical clock in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; early modern chronology; and twentieth-century data processing. Borst argues that although many centuries and countless different instruments—sundials, horologia, abaci, astrolabes, calendars, and calculating machines—separate the medieval computus from the modern computer, each generation has had to answer the same question: how can we make the best use of our available time to improve our lives? The computer, he suggests, is merely a new instrument employed for an ancient purpose. Lively and accessible, The Ordering of Time will be welcomed by students and researchers in social and cultural history, the history of science and mathematics, as well as anyone interested in the history of time and numbers.


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This book is a concise history of the use and interpretation of time, written by one of the foremost medievalists in Europe today. Arno Borst examines the various ways that time has been calculated by numbers and measured by instruments over several centuries, from the computus—an ancient method of determining times and dates—to the present-day computer. In a wide-ranging d This book is a concise history of the use and interpretation of time, written by one of the foremost medievalists in Europe today. Arno Borst examines the various ways that time has been calculated by numbers and measured by instruments over several centuries, from the computus—an ancient method of determining times and dates—to the present-day computer. In a wide-ranging discussion, he analyzes the classical Greek concepts of divine, natural, and human time; the universal time of ancient Rome; the Easter cycle of the Middle Ages; the development of the mechanical clock in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; early modern chronology; and twentieth-century data processing. Borst argues that although many centuries and countless different instruments—sundials, horologia, abaci, astrolabes, calendars, and calculating machines—separate the medieval computus from the modern computer, each generation has had to answer the same question: how can we make the best use of our available time to improve our lives? The computer, he suggests, is merely a new instrument employed for an ancient purpose. Lively and accessible, The Ordering of Time will be welcomed by students and researchers in social and cultural history, the history of science and mathematics, as well as anyone interested in the history of time and numbers.

37 review for The Ordering of Time: From the Ancient Computus to the Modern Computer

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dokusha

    Eine Übersicht der Zeitwahrnehmung, -berechnung und Messung vom 4. bis 5. Jahrhundert vor Christus bis in die Neuzeit. Besonderes Augenmerk legt der Autor auf das frühe Mittelalter, die Zeit vom 5. bis 11. Jahrhundert nimmt besonders viel Raum ein. Arno Borst erläutert besonders den Unterschied zwischen den Begriffen des calculus und computus, der zu dieser Zeit ein wesentlicher war. Während der calculus sich mit "profanen" Rechnungen beschäftigte, diente der computus himmlischen Zwecken und fan Eine Übersicht der Zeitwahrnehmung, -berechnung und Messung vom 4. bis 5. Jahrhundert vor Christus bis in die Neuzeit. Besonderes Augenmerk legt der Autor auf das frühe Mittelalter, die Zeit vom 5. bis 11. Jahrhundert nimmt besonders viel Raum ein. Arno Borst erläutert besonders den Unterschied zwischen den Begriffen des calculus und computus, der zu dieser Zeit ein wesentlicher war. Während der calculus sich mit "profanen" Rechnungen beschäftigte, diente der computus himmlischen Zwecken und fand zuerst Verwendung zur Berechnung des Osterfestes, hernach auch zur Aufstellung von Martyrologien und den Versuchen, den Beginn der Welt zu ermitteln. Die Übersicht bringt einige interessante Einsichten in die Denkweise der mittelalterlichen Rechner und die Einstellung der Leute zur Zeit. Insgesamt eine anregende, aber keine weltbewegende Lektüre.

  2. 5 out of 5

    HsynBuendia

    Tarihlendirme ve sayma üzerine merak gideren son derece güzel ve dozunda bir kitap. Miladi takvimi ne zaman kullanmaya başladığımızı 1645 yılındayız, 1870 yılındayız gibi miladi takvim kullanımının dünyada ne zaman ve nerede başladığını kendi kendime sorup ufak araştırmalar yaptığımı hatırlıyorum ama doyurucu bir cevap bulamamıştım. Computus'ta bu sorunun harikulade bir anlatımı ile birlikte tarihini bulabiliyoruz. Ayrıca kitabın kütüphanemde en sevdiğim kitaplar rafında durduğunu söylemeliyim. m Tarihlendirme ve sayma üzerine merak gideren son derece güzel ve dozunda bir kitap. Miladi takvimi ne zaman kullanmaya başladığımızı 1645 yılındayız, 1870 yılındayız gibi miladi takvim kullanımının dünyada ne zaman ve nerede başladığını kendi kendime sorup ufak araştırmalar yaptığımı hatırlıyorum ama doyurucu bir cevap bulamamıştım. Computus'ta bu sorunun harikulade bir anlatımı ile birlikte tarihini bulabiliyoruz. Ayrıca kitabın kütüphanemde en sevdiğim kitaplar rafında durduğunu söylemeliyim. mutlaka okunması gereken bir kitap.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Theo

    A really interesting book but a little too beyond my background. I wished it was on Kindle so I could've used the dictionary to look up lots of terms, but also it's hard to keep track of all the names and ideas when it's your first time encountering so many of them. A really interesting book but a little too beyond my background. I wished it was on Kindle so I could've used the dictionary to look up lots of terms, but also it's hard to keep track of all the names and ideas when it's your first time encountering so many of them.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nita

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emre Sensoy

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leeeo-

  7. 4 out of 5

    Wauki

  8. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tuomikallio

  10. 5 out of 5

    Donna

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cory Childs

  12. 4 out of 5

    Göker Makaskıran

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gwi von Galois

  14. 4 out of 5

    GMK

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christian

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  17. 5 out of 5

    H. Kemal Ilter

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  19. 4 out of 5

    hoffnarr

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kari

  21. 5 out of 5

    Abel

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Johan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Decast

  25. 5 out of 5

    Valeria Bossi

  26. 5 out of 5

    JSB

  27. 4 out of 5

    özge mö

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rui Ramalhão

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  30. 5 out of 5

    Evgenishko

  31. 5 out of 5

    Penny

  32. 5 out of 5

    B

  33. 5 out of 5

    Ben Perley

  34. 4 out of 5

    Jordana

  35. 4 out of 5

    Bri

  36. 4 out of 5

    Jill

  37. 4 out of 5

    Emiel

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