The article comments on the epistemological foundations of medieval Arabic science and philosophy, as presented in five earlier communications, and attempts to draw some guidelines for the study of its social history. At the very beginning the notion of "Islam" is discounted as a meaningful explanatory category for historical investigation. A first part then looks at the applied sciences and notes three major characteristics of their epistemological approach: they were functionalist and based on experience and observation. The second part looks (...) at the theoretical sciences and notes that their epistemology was based on geo. (shrink)
In my Oriens article on Avicenna's empiricism, I present what Avicenna calls the principles of syllogism, which are the different types of propositions that form the irreducible and axiomatic starting points of syllogisms and definitions. As Avicenna states both explicitly and implicitly in numerous passages that I cite, these are all based on experience. Two of these are the primary propositions and those with built-in syllogisms, literally, "premises of fiṭra syllogisms," fiṭra being the natural operation of the intellect—thus, "premises whose (...) syllogisms are constructed by the natural operation of the intellect." In his "Note" on my article... (shrink)
Charles Butterworth's English translation of Averroes' Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Poetics, in which he continues to proceed as he did in previous publications, suffers from three fatal flaws. The translation as a whole is inexact and unrepresentative of what Averroes meant, because Butterworth fails to take into account the decisive influence which the garbled Arabic translation of the Poetics and earlier Arabic commentaries had on Averroes' understanding of the text. The rendering of key technical terms, which is offered wholly without (...) argument or justification, is arbitrary and idiosyncratic. Secondary literature on Aristotelian poetics in Arabic, a subject rather intensely studied in the last two decades, is almost completely ignored, and as a result both the situation described in the former two counts comes about and Butterworth's work is misrepresented as a pioneer in the field. It would appear that all this is due to Butterworth's untenable approach to the text of Averroes: wishing to understand it "on its own terms," as he says, he completely disregards its historical and semantic context, which alone gives it specific meaning, and consequently also disregards the secondary literature that analyzes and explains this context. Previous reviewers have repeatedly brought these matters to Butterworth's attention, but he has chosen to ignore them and has thus rendered his work irrelevant to the scholarly study of Averroes. (shrink)
Given the uncontested and universally acknowledged debt that Suhrawardis philosophy owes to Avicenna in its entirety, then the problem becomes why Suhrawardi presented himself as following these ancient philosophers, and especially Plato, rather than Avicenna. But this is the subject of the book on Suhrawardi that has yet to be written. One hopes that some student of this influential philosopher will soon undertake to do it.
Graeco-Arabic studies, or the study of the translations of classical Greek works into Arabic during the early ‘Abbāsid caliphate of the Arabs , is a field that is well known; it has been cultivated, with significant results for the study of medieval Islamic civilization, for more than a century and a half now. What is less well known is the opposite trend of translations from Arabic into Greek, which began after the Photian renaissance — as a direct result, I have (...) claimed, of the Graeco-Arabic translation movement — and is of comparable significance for the study of Byzantine civilization. For reasons that it might be interesting to investigate at some point, Byzantinists have shied away from Arabo-Greek studies, to the great detriment of a deepened study of Byzantine writings, especially the scientific literature. The book by Dr. Hélène Condylis under review here, a study of the Greek translation of the famous Arabic book of fables Kalīla wa-Dimna , finally breaks open this unduly neglected area and makes a most impressive first contribution to Arabo-Greek studies that will, in years to come, be considered as pioneering. (shrink)
One of the most important medieval documents in the history of medicine and scholarship, and of culture in general, is doubtless the bibliographical treatise (“epistle”, Risāla) by Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq (808-873) addressed to his patron and patron of the arts, the gentleman courtier ‘Alī b. Yaḥyā b. al-Munaǧǧim (d. 275 / 888-889), listing the translations of Galen into Syriac and Arabic. Its transmission and publication history, though, is extremely complicated.
The Byzantine dreambook known in the tradition as The Oneirocriticon of Achmet has had a long and influential history both in its field and in scholarship. It is the longest of the eight surviving Byzantine books on dream interpretation, and most likely also the oldest. It was compiled during the Macedonian renaissance—specifically, the two termini of 843 and 1075 can be established—possibly in the reign of Leo VI , to whom it may have been dedicated, and possibly through the influence (...) of his Arab minister Samonas. It was translated early into Latin, in 1176 , and “through this translation found its way into several European and vernacular languages from the late thirteenth century onward” . The scholarly study of the work began in 1577, with the preface Johann Loewenklau wrote for his Latin translation of the Greek text, and continued apace to this day. The book by Maria Mavroudi under review here, from which this information is taken , is the latest in a long series of studies. It is also the most exhaustive and meticulous in its research and the first fully to take into account, in a professional and exemplary manner, the Arabic sources of the work. Exhaustive, but perhaps also exhausting—one may object that 471 pages of text for a study of a mere dreambook may be too many, though apparently necessary, for Mavroudi's book contends against the weight of previous scholarship and offers much needed correctives. (shrink)
L'A. mette in parallelo quattro fonti interrelate della tradizione narrativa relativa al passaggio delle conoscenze filosofiche e mediche da Alessandria a Baghdad. I testi esaminati, presentati in traduzione inglese, sono di Alfarabi , dello storico al-Masudi , del medico ibn-Ridwan del Cairo e del medico ibn-Gumay . Le origini della tradizione testuale sono individuate in un canone di insegnamenti ippocratici e galenici originatosi ad Alessandria poco prima della conquista araba, e comprendente i cosiddetti Summaria alexandrinorum. L'A. si sofferma inoltre sulla (...) propaganda anticristiana connessa a tali testi e sugli insegnamenti di logica e filosofia aristotelica, con particolare riferimento alla redazione di Alfarabi. Una bibliografia chiude il saggio. (shrink)
This volume concerns Aristotle's pupil Theophrastus. It focuses on his interest in cultural history, including discoveries and inventions that transformed the way people live. It also deals with proverbs containing useful truths that were passed down from earlier generations.
Commenting on recently collected sources for Theophrastus' ethical views, this work relates Theophrastean doctrine to that of Aristotle and the rival Stoics. The focus is on topics like virtue and happiness, manners and moral virtues, innate character and the relation of animals to humans.
This is the second, revised and updated, edition of this foundational work introducing a reading of Avicenna's philosophical works that is consistent with his intention and purpose in philosophy. Its usefulness is enhanced with a new appendix offering a critical inventory of Avicenna's authentic works that incorporates and updates Mahdavi.
This volume relates to natural philosophy apart from the study of living things. Topics covered include the principles of scientific inquiry, place, time, motion, the heavens, the sublunary world, meteorology and the study of materials.
Simultaneous critical editions based on all available evidence, with an introduction, English translations, and commentaries of the Greek text and a medieval Arabic translation of Theophrastus’s On First Principles , together with a methodological excursus on Graeco-Arabic editorial technique and normative glossary.
This volume forms part of the large international Theophrastus project started by Brill in 1992 and edited by W.W. Fortenbaugh, R.W. Sharples and D. Gutas. Together with volumes comprising the texts and translations, the commentary volumes provide a new generation of classicists with an up-to-date collection of the fragments and testimonia relating to Theophrastus, Aristotle's pupil and successor as head of the Lyceum. This will be the fourth volume of commentary on _Theophrastus of Eresus. Sources for his Life, Writings, Thought (...) and Influence_, and is on the psychological and epistemological material. It includes contributions by Dimitri Gutas on the Arabic passages, and Pamela Huby has covered the rest, including close study of the quotations given by Priscian of Lydia and the extensive but little known medieval Latin passages. Different approaches to the use of medieval material as evidence for Theophrastus' thought are discussed in the Introduction. (shrink)
This important new editio maior of Aristotle's Poetics is based on all the primary sources and is accompanied by a details critical apparatus. The introductory chapters provide important new insights about the transmission of the text to the present day and especially the significance of the Syro-Arabic tradition.