Avicenna’s Use of the Arabic Translations of the Posterior Analytics and the Ancient Commentary Tradition

Oriens 40 (2):355–389 (2012)

Authors
Riccardo Strobino
Tufts University
Abstract
In this paper I shall discuss the relationship between the two known Arabic translations of Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics and Avicenna’s Kitāb al-Burhān. I shall argue that Avicenna relies on both (1) Abū Bishr Mattā’s translation and (2) the anonymous translation used by Averroes in the Long Commentary as well as in the Middle Commentary (and also indirectly preserved by Gerard of Cremona’s Latin translation of Aristotle’s work). Although, generally speaking, the problem is relevant to the history of the transmission of the Posterior Analytics from Greek through Syriac into Arabic, I do not intend to give a systematic presentation of the historical setting in which Aristotle’s work became readily available to the Arabo-Islamic culture. My aim here is rather to isolate and discuss some pieces of evidence concerning the texts that seem to have been available to Avicenna. In addition to that, I shall also provide evidence concerning the relationship with the Greek commentary tradition (in particular Philoponus and Themistius) that is likely to have influenced Avicenna in his discussion of Aristotle’s theory of demonstration and scientific knowledge.
Keywords Avicenna  Averroes  Posterior Analytics  Greek into Arabic  Greek Commentators  Kitāb al-Burhān  Kitāb al-Shifāʾ  Book of the Cure  Gerard of Cremona
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