SGA 10 (2020)

Studia graeco-arabica 10 (2020). Studies dedicated to Rüdiger Arnzen on His Sixtieth Birthday –

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    Guest Editor: Yury Arzhanov
Affiliations and addresses of the Authors of this Volume

Dr. Yury Arzhanov
Division of Byzantine Research
Institute for Medieval Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Hollandstrasse 11-13, 1020 Wien (Austria)

Prof. Carmela Baffioni
Facoltà di Studi arabo-islamici e del Mediterraneo
Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”
Palazzo Du Mesnil 8012 Napoli (Italy)
Institute of Ismaili Studies
10 Handyside St, King’s Cross, London (UK)

Prof. Amos Bertolacci
IMT School For Advanced Studies
Piazza S. Francesco, 19 – 55100 Lucca (Italy)

Prof. Em. Hans Hinrich Biesterfeldt
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
GC 6/162, Universitätsstraße 150
44801 Bochum (Germany)

Dr. Elisa Coda
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
(UMR 8230, Centre Jean Pépin)
7, rue Guy Môquet BP N°8
94801 Villejuif Cedex (France)

Prof. Em. Hans Daiber
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Orientalisches Seminar
Postfach 111932
D-60054 Frankfurt am Main (Germany)

Prof. Cristina D’Ancona
Dipartimento di Civiltà e Forme del Sapere
Università di Pisa
Via P. Paoli 15, 56126 Pisa (Italy)

Prof. Marco Di Branco
Università di Roma ‘La Sapienza’
Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma (Italy)

Prof. Em. Gerhard Endress
Seminar für Orientalistik und Islamwissenschaft
GB 2/39, Universitätsstraße 150
44801 Bochum (Germany)

Dr. Cleophea Ferrari[at]
Institut für Sprachen und Kulturen des Nahen Ostens und Ostasiens
Lehrstuhl für Orientalische Philologie und Islamwissenschaft
Bismarckstr. 1
91054 Erlangen (Germany)

Dr. Christian Förstel
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Département des Manuscrits
52 rue du Cardinal Lemoine
75231 Paris cedex 05 (France)

Prof. Em. Dimitri Gutas
Yale University
531 Edgewood Ave.
New Haven, CT 06511 (USA)

Prof. Pieter Sjoerd Hasper
Akademischer Rat am Lehrstuhl für Antike Philosophie
Universität Tübingen
Philosophisches Seminar
Bursagasse 1 72070 Tübingen (Germany)

Prof. Em. Henri Hugonnard-Roche
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
(UMR 8230, Centre Jean Pépin)
7, rue Guy Môquet BP N°8
94801 Villejuif Cedex, Paris (France)

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Cüneyt Kaya
İstanbul Üniversitesi
Edebiyat Fakültesi Felsefe
Bölümü Ordu Cad. No. 196
34459 Fatih

Prof. Anna Marmodoro
Durham University
Department Of Philosophy
48/9 Old Elvet
DH1 3HN Durham (UK)

Prof. Cecilia Martini Bonadeo
Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche Geografiche
e dell’Antichità, Università di Padova
Via del Vescovado 6, 35141 Padova (Italy)

Dr. Matteo Maserati
Dipartimento di Scienze del Patrimonio Culturale/DISPAC
Università degli Studi di Salerno
Via Giovanni Paolo II, 132
84084 Fisciano (Italy)

Dr. Geoffrey J. Moseley
Language Department
Deerfield Academy
Deerfield, Massachusetts (USA)


Dr. Oliver Overwien
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Institut für Klassische Philologie
Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin (Germany)

Prof. Marwan Rashed
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
(UMR 8061, Centre Léon Robin)
Sorbonne Université
1, rue Victor Cousin
F-75230 Paris cedex 05 (France)

Prof. Ulrich Rebstock
Universität Freiburg
Orientalisches Seminar
Platz der Universität 3
79085 Freiburg (Germany)

Prof. Stefan Reichmuth
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Seminar für Orientalistik und Islamwissenschaft
GC 6/153, Universitätsstraße 150
44801 Bochum (Germany)

Dr. Elvira Wakelnig
Institut für Orientalistik der Universität Wien
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 4, 1090 Wien (Austria)


1. Amos Bertolacci, A Diamond and Its Light
SGA 10 (2020), pp. I-VIII

Affiliation: IMT, Lucca (Italy)
Keywords: Falsafa, Textual Criticism, Persian transmission of Greek philosophy

Abstract, Full Text PDF

Laudatio of Rüdiger Arnzen

2. Elisa Coda, Themistius on Intellect. Theophrastus and Plotinus as Sources of In De Anima III 5
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 1-20

Affiliation: Centre Jean Pépin UMR8230 (France)
Keywords: Themistius, De Anima, Medieval Philosophy

Abstract, Full Text PDF

Themistius’ paraphrase of Aristotle’s De Anima III 5 is one of the two sources for our knowledge of Theophrastus’ lost De Anima. Themistius quotes Theophrastus’ aporias about the intellect and transforms them into the proof that both Aristotle and Theophrastus sided with Plato in assessing the immortality of our intellect. Thus, intellect turns out to be the immortal part of our soul. At variance with intellect, that part of our soul that shares its affections with body is mortal. Themistius’ treatment of De Anima III 5 has not only Theophrastus as its source, but also Plotinus’ distinction between intellect – our true self – and that part or function of our soul that intermingles with body.

3. Oliver Overwien, Medizinische Prolegomena aus dem spätantiken Alexandria im Kodex Aya Sofya 3588
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 21-36

Affiliation: Humboldt-Universität Berlin (Germany)
Keywords: Galen, Summaria Alexandrinorum, Ancient Medicine

Abstract, Full Text PDF

Kodex Aya Sofya 3588 contains the so-called Summaria Alexandrinorum, which are medical school treatises from late antique Alexandria. In my paper I try to show that they are preceded by a short text that stems from the same milieu. This text is a mixture of Prolegomena to medicine and the Galenic curriculum, and it provides answers to key questions about medicine. Within this codex, it obviously served as a general introduction to medicine.

4. Henri Hugonnard-Roche, La tradition gréco-syriaque et syro-arabe du corpus logique aristotélicien, entre Alexandrie et Bagdad (VIe-XIIe siècle). Un bilan
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 37-44

Affiliation: Centre Jean Pépin UMR8230 (France)
Keywords: Aristotelian Logics, Aristotle, Syriac Literature

Abstract, Full Text PDF

That the logical tradition in Syriac and in Arabic depends upon the curricular teaching in the School of Alexandria is well known but often poorly detailed. This article offers an overview of the whole history of the transmission of Aristotle’s logical works by Syrian scholars, both in Syriac and in Arabic. Special emphasis is placed on the intention of those translators who were active at the end 9th and beginning of 10th cent. – the so-called “school” of Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq. That they aimed at establishing a new corpus of Aristotelian logic is suggested by the structure of MS Istanbul, Ahmet III 3362. However, on the basis of a comparison with another MS, Paris. ar. 2346 and with its 12th century scholia, one may also venture to say that the seminal work of Ḥunayn and his socii was superseded by the scholarly activity of a circle of readers and glossers of philosophical works, the so-called ‘Aristotelians of Baghdad’ (mid-10th cent.). Among them, al-Fārābī is the towering figure. This article draws attention to the fact that their different approach to the Organon with respect to that of Ḥunayn and his circle is best accounted for against the background of the legacy of the Syriac school of Qenneshre (7th cent.).

5. Geoffrey Moseley, On a Pair of Greek Quotations in the Arabic Version of Aristotle’s Rhetoric
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 45-48

Affiliation: Deerfield Academy (Massachusetts, USA)
Keywords: Aristotle, Rhetoric, Falsafa

Abstract, Full Text PDF

I closely examine two Greek quotations in Aristotle’s Rhetoric analyzed in the GALex in order to determine the text of the Arabic translator’s exemplar and the text of the Arabic translation. This analysis also sheds light on the translator’s understanding of linguistically difficult and culturally remote terms and phrases.

6. Manfred Ullmann, Die arabischen Fragmente der Bücher II bis IV der Kyraniden
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 49-58

Keywords: The Cyranides, Parisinus gr. 2537, Venetus Marcianus V 13

Abstract, Full Text PDF

The treatise known as The Cyranides is a magical text from late Antiquity, which was translated into Arabic in the 9th century A.D. The first part of it is preserved in an Arabic manuscript in the Bodleian Library, whereas parts II to IV are known only from quotations in several Arabic sources. In the present paper, thirteen fragments are edited and compared with their Greek originals. At the same time, methods by which the texts can be reconstructed are discussed.

7. Gerhard Endress – Pieter Sjoerd Hasper, The Arabic Tradition of Aristotle’s Sophistici Elenchi
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 59-110

Affiliations: Ruhr-Universität Bochum / Universität Tübingen
Keywords: Aristotle, Sophistici Elenchi, Falsafa, Arabic Organon

Abstract, Full Text PDF

Aristotle’s book on Sophistical Refutations was regarded by its Arabic translators and their readers as the most difficult text of the Organon. Of the several Arabic translations of the 9th and 10th centuries, three are extant in manuscript. Our contribution has two primary purposes. First, to present the Arabic tradition of the Sophistici Elenchi in full for the first time – testimonies of the reading of the text in the period of Graeco-Arabic reception, the manuscript tradition, the translators and the sources they relied upon, and samples illustrating the translation techniques and the development of the language and terminology of Arabic logic. Secondly, we want to work out how the Arabic translations relate to their Greek and Syriac originals, what information the versions can provide for the readings of the Greek text and how the underlying tradition relates to that of the Greek manuscript tradition.

8. Cristina D’Ancona, The Neoplatonic Epistle on the Divine Science. The Text, Three Translations, and an Index
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 111-196

Affiliation: Università di Pisa
Keywords: Arabic Plotinus, Epistle on the Divine Science, Falsafa

Abstract, Full Text PDF

One of the works derived from the adapted translation of parts of Enneads IV-VI is the Epistle on the Divine Science attributed to al-Fārābī. The Epistle appears in two manuscripts, of which only one was known to previous editors (1940 and 1955). It is edited here also on the basis of the second manuscript, discovered in 1955. The translation into Italian is added to the French translation by Paul Kraus, who first discovered the Epistle in the 1940’s, and to the English translation by Geoffrey Lewis, who translated it together with the other works derived from the Arabic Plotinus. The terminological index records the Arabic terms and their Greek antecedents.

9. Christian Förstel – Marwan Rashed, Du nouveau sur les manuscrits pourprés: Les codex byzantins de Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq à l’époque du conflit des images
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 197-216

Affiliations: Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris) / Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique – Univ. Paris-Sorbonne
Keywords: Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq, Codicology,

Abstract, Full Text PDF

The present paper addresses a description made by Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq in his Nawādir al-Falāsifa of precious Greek manuscripts that he had in his hands, by comparing it to Byzantine manuscripts still preserved today. It scrutinizes Ḥunayn’s strategy and establishes that his deep concern was to argue for a historical continuum between ancient pagan philosophers and contemporary Christian scholars. According to Ḥunayn, both groups similarly rely on images, conceived as a tool for philosophical education. In so doing, Ḥunayn implicitly reacts against the denigration of the Byzantine culture, which is part and parcel of the agenda of many Muslim scholars from the Abbasid period.

10. Elvira Wakelnig, Ǧābir ibn Ḥayyān über die Autorenschaft der Präambel zu Euklids Elementen. Zur Definition und Finalität im Buch der Untersuchung (Kitāb al-Baḥṯ)
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 217-226

Affiliation: Institut für Orientalistik der Universität Wien
Keywords: Ǧābir ibn Ḥayyān, Kitāb al-Baḥṯ, Falsafa

Abstract, Full Text PDF

Some Arabic versions of Euclid’s Elements begin with an epistemological passage on how to obtain knowledge. This passage does not go back to Euclid but to Proclus’ commentary on the first book of the Elements where Proclus does not consider the epistemological process in general yet specifically deals with geometrical problems and theorems. In the Book of Investigation (Kitāb al-Baḥṯ) attributed to the legendary alchemist Ǧābir ibn Ḥayyān, part of this pseudo-Euclidian passage is cited and its authorship questioned. The article presents the Arabic text and a German translation of Ǧābir’s discussion as well as the astonishing context in which he places the pseudo-Euclidian citation, namely within an exposition of the final cause. Ǧābir also deals with the question of whether or not the final cause is part of the definition. In doing so, he shows a remarkable familiarity with Late Antique introductory literature which was incredibly widespread in the Arabic tradition.

11. Carmela Baffioni, Hippocratic Quotations in Kitāb al-Ḥāwī fī l-Ṭibb IX: “On the Diseases of the Womb”
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 227-240

Affiliation: Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”
Keywords: Ǧābir ibn Ḥayyān, Falsafa

Abstract, Full Text PDF

This article is a first approach to the sources of Book IX of Kitāb al-Ḥāwī fīʾl-Ṭibb by the great physician and philosopher Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Zakariyyā al-Rāzī (d. 925 A.D.). It begins with a general survey of the passages in which the name and/or the works of Hippocrates appear; this includes the passages in which works of uncertain and possibly Hippocratic attribution are quoted. Indications of parallel passages in the original Greek works or their Arabic translations are provided. Some texts are studied in detail to identify problems linked to the transmission and reception of the Greek sources into Arabic.

12. Cleophea Ferrari, Warum ist Lachen ansteckend? Ein ideengeschichtlicher Blick auf das arabische Mittelalter
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 241-244

Affiliation: Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Keywords: Falsafa

Abstract, Full Text PDF

The fact that laughter can be contagious is a general anthropological experience that has been stimulating questions for centuries. This article takes a brief look at the spectrum of ways in which in medieval arabic texts both philosophical and literary answers can be given to to the question about the origin of laughter.

13. Dimitri Gutas, Avicenna’s al-ḥikma al-mutaʿāliya. Initial Begriffsgeschichte
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 245-259

Affiliation: Yale University (USA)
M. Cüneyt Kaya, Appendix, SGA 10 (2020), pp. 259-260
Affiliation: İstanbul Üniversitesi (Turkey)
Keywords: Avicenna, “al-ḥikma al-mutaʿāliya”, Falsafa

Abstract, Full Text PDF

Avicenna uses the phrase al-ḥikma al-mutaʿāliya once only, in the Išārāt, Book Two, namaṭ X, section 9. It has been variously interpreted, both in the Islamic tradition and in modern scholarship. In this paper I analyze its meaning in context and trace its reception among the early commentators, following the suggestion of Rüdiger Arnzen that a Begriffsgeschichte is required for its proper understanding. The phrase is ensconced in an extremely abstruse sentence, but it is clear from a close textual analysis that it refers to the doctrine (ḥikma) relating to the knowledge of universals and particulars possessed by the intellects and rational souls of the supernal bodies (mutaʿāliya). Initial commentators, including Faḫraddīn al-Rāzī, take it at its literal sense as just described, but it was Naṣīraddīn al-Ṭūsī who first interpreted it as mystical knowledge acquired through ḏawq and kašf (“taste” and “unveiling”), opening the floodgate of various such non-rational interpretations by subsequent Muslim thinkers and modern scholars alike.

14. Hans Hinrich Biesterfeldt, Eine arabische Klassifikation der Wissenschaften aus dem 4./5. Jahrhundert H.
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 261-270

Affiliation: Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Keywords: Avicenna, Abū Sahl al-Masīḥī, Falsafa

Abstract, Full Text PDF

The library of the Academy of the Sciences in Lisbon houses an Arabic manuscript containing a collection of philosophical and medical texts (V. 293), beginning with a number of treatises by, or ascribed to, Avicenna. This article examines their first one, called Risāla fī Ǧamīʿ aqsām ʿulūm al-awā’il wa-mā llaḏī yaštamil ʿalayhi kull qism minhā wa-fī ayy al-kutub tūǧad, “Missive on the entirety of the parts of the Ancients’ sciences, on what each part contains, and in which books they are to be found”. As Hans Daiber has observed, this text is similar, but not identical, to both Aṣnāf al-ʿulūm al-ḥikmiyya by Abū Sahl al-Masīḥī (reportedly Avicenna’s teacher in medicine, d. 1009/1010 or after 1025) and Avicenna’s early Aqsām al-ḥikma. The article presents a summary of the contents of Ǧamīʿ and tries to determine its place between Aṣnāf and Aqsām.

15. Cecilia Martini Bonadeo, The Distinctio sermonis super librum auditus naturalis Attributed to Abū Naṣr al-Fārābī in Gerard of Cremona’s Latin Translation
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 271-292

Affiliation: Università di Padova (Italy)
Keywords: Abū Naṣr al-Fārābī, Gerard of Cremona, Falsafa

Abstract, Full Text PDF

The aim of this article is to present and put into context a short and undervalued treatise attributed to al-Fārābī in the Arabic-Latin translation by Gerard of Cremona: the Distinctio sermonis super librum auditus naturalis. The treatise is an overview of the content of books IV to VIII of Aristotle’s Physics, even though an internal reference to Physics III suggests that the text could have been more complete than as it appears in the Latin translation. The Polish historian of philosophy and science Alexander Birkenmajer presents his editio princeps in 1935. In the present article a revised edition is offered on the basis of two more manuscripts and, in addition, the references to Aristotle’s Physics and an English translation are included. Finally, the attribution of this text to al-Fārābī is discussed in relationship to the ancient lists of his works, and in relationship to his writings devoted to the order of the contents in Aristotle’s Physics – in particular the Philosophy of Aristotle (Falsafat Arisṭūṭālīs).

16. Hans Daiber, Aristotle’s Meteorology in 18th Century Egypt. Damanhūrī (1100/1689 or 1690 – 1192/1778), ʿAyn al-ḥayāt fī ʿilm istinbāṭ al-miyāh
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 293-308

Affiliation: Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Keywords: Damanhūrī, Aristotle’s Meteorology, Falsafa

Abstract, Full Text PDF

The article analyses the sources of ʿAyn al-ḥayāt fī ʿilm istinbāṭ al-miyāh (“The Fountain of Life through the Knowledge of Discovering Water”) written in 1146/1733 by the Egyptian scholar Damanhūrī.
The available edition by Muḥammad Bahǧa al-Aṯarī (Rabat 1989) is collated with a ms. dated 1286/1869 (Daiber’s Collection III, nr. 110) and the variants, which in many cases improve the edition, are added in an appendix. The source analysis shows the indebtedness of Damanhūrī to Arabic meteorological texts by Kindī, Iḫwān al-Ṣafāʾ, Ibn Sīnā and above all Qazwīnī, and the meteorological sections in his ʿAǧāʾib al-maḫlūqāt. They passed on to Damanhūrī meteorological concepts of Aristotle, as they understood them. Damanhūrī ends his treatise with a short chapter on the “merit of knowledge and learned people”, which apparently in his mind is tantamount to the knowledge of discovering water as something vital for humanity.

17. Ulrich Rebstock – Stefan Reichmuth, Zwischen Arithmetik und Esoterik: Beobachtungen und Quellentexte zu den Grundrechenarten in der arabisch-islamischen Bildungstradition Nigerias
SGA 10 (2020), pp. 309-342

Affiliations: Universität Freiburg / Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Keywords: Falsafa

Abstract, Full Text PDF

Abstract: , Falsafa
The article describes a printed collection of Hausa and Arabic materials and some Arabic manuscripts which are related to the discipline of Ḥisāb, as taught and practiced among traditional Islamic scholars in Northern and Western Nigeria. Ḥisāb is based on the use of the numerical value of the Arabic letters (ḥisāb al-ǧummal) and also involves the four fundamental arithmetical operations on the dust board. It further includes astronomical and astrological calculations, and the preparation of magical squares and other talismans. Focusing largely on the arithmetic parts of this peculiar discipline, a series of specific mnemonic words for elementary multiplication is identified, which seems to be of North African origin. The collection also include a unique set of model calculations based on the number 111.111, and its multiples 222.222 to 999.999 with its large set of prime number factors (2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 37). It is without documented parallels outside the Central Sudan and is analysed here for the first time. The local technique of arithmetical calculation on the dust board, taken from a specialist in Ilọrin (Western Nigeria), is then described and compared with the old method of “Indian arithmetic”, which was introduced into the Muslim world in the 10th century. Despite some marked differences it shows a remarkable survival in West Africa.

Book Announcements - EXPANDABLE LIST

1. Elisa Coda: P. Golitsis – K. Ierodiakonou (eds.), Aristotle and His Commentators. Studies in Memory of Paraskevi Kotzia, De Gruyter, Berlin – Boston 2019 (Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca et Byzantina, 7), SGA 10, pp. 345-348

2. Elisa Coda: S.A. Adams (ed.), Scholastic Culture in the Hellenistic and Roman Eras. Greek, Latin, and Jewish, De Gruyter (Transmissions. Studies on Conditions, Processes and Dynamics of Textual Transmission, 2), SGA 10, pp. 348-352

3. Cristina D’Ancona: C. Lévy, J.-B. Guillaumin (eds.), Plato Latinus. Aspects de la transmission de Platon en latin dans l’ Antiquité. Actes des Diatribai de Gargnano, Brepols, Turnhout 2018 (Philosophie hellénistique et romaine, 8), SGA 10, pp. 352-358

4. Cristina D’Ancona: S.Ch. Hoenig, Plato’s Timaeus and the Latin Tradition, Cambridge U.P., Cambridge 2018 (Cambridge Classical Studies), SGA 10, pp. 359-363

5. Anna Marmodoro: Marco Zambon, “Nessun dio è mai sceso quaggiù”. La polemica anticristiana dei filosofi antichi, Carocci, 2019 (Frecce), SGA 10, pp. 364-366

6. Matteo Maserati: D. Nikolaus Hasse, A. Bertolacci (eds.), The Arabic, Hebrew and Latin reception of Avicenna’s Physics and Cosmology, De Gruyter, Boston/Berlin 2018 (Scientia Graeco-Arabica, 23), SGA 10, pp. 366-371


1. Cristina D’Ancona: A. Marmodoro – S. Cartwright (eds.), A History of Mind and Body in Late Antiquity, Cambridge U.P., Cambridge 2018, SGA 10, pp. 372-392

2. Marco Di Branco: E.S. Mainoldi, Dietro ‘Dionigi l’Areopagita’. La genesi e gli scopi del Corpus Dionysiacum, Città Nuova Editrice, Roma 2018 (Paradigma medievale. Institutiones, 6), SGA 10, pp. 393-396

3. Elisa Coda: Yoav Meyrav, Themistius’ Paraphrase of Aristotle’s Metaphysics 12. A Critical Hebrew-Arabic Edition of the Surviving Textual Evidence, with an Introduction, Preliminary Studies, and a Commentary, Brill, Leiden – Boston 2019 (Aristoteles Semitico-Latinus, 25), SGA 10, pp. 397-405

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