In G. Arabatzis (ed.), Marges de la Philosophie Byzantine. Institut du Livre - A.Kardamitsa. pp. 51-74 (2013)

Georgios Steiris
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
The article focuses on an unexamined so far aspect of byzantine philosophy, namely the influence of Arabic philosophy upon byzantine thinkers. Despite the vicinity of Byzantium and Arabic territories, the philosophical interactions were minimal. Scholarios claimed, in a dedicatory epistle to Constantine Paleologus (1405-1453), that he had studied the treatises of Avicenna, Averroes, and other Arab and Persian philosophers. He admitted that Averroes was beyond doubt the best commentator of Aristotle. Scholarios acknowledged that the study of the Arabs contributed immensely to his philosophical education and particularly to the proper understanding of the Aristotelian philosophy (Scholarios, vii.1-6). Scholarios aimed at the enrichment and renewal of Byzantine philosophy. Besides his high esteem for Arabic philosophy, he devoted a large part of his life translating and paraphrasing the Scholastics, especially Aquinas. Despite Scolarios’ claim about his erudition on the Arab and Persian philosophers, a detailed examination of his works proves that in most cases he simply reproduced and incorporated sections from Aquinas’ works, without resorting to the original sources. Scholarios’ references to the Arabs are multiplied in his translations and compendia of Aquinas’ works, but are reduced significantly in his original texts. Frequently Scholarios refrained from mentioning the Arab philosophers, despite the fact that he commented on Aquinas’ passages, which are dedicated to Avicenna or Averroes. On the contrary, Scholarios did not avoid mentioning in detail Aquinas’ Christian or ancient Greek sources. It is obvious that Scholarios did not have a consistent approach towards Arabic philosophy. Most of the times he reproduced loosely Aquinas’ passages, where the latter commented on the Arabs.
Keywords Aquinas  Scholarios  Avicenna  Averroes
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