SGA 11/1(2021)

Studia graeco-arabica 11/1 (2021)

ISSN 2281-2687 / ISSN 2239-012X (Online)
ISBN 978-88-3339-614-9 / ISBN 978-88-3339-615-6 (Online)

Available in print:
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Affiliations and addresses of the Authors of this Volume

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

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

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

Dr. Bishara Ebeid
Dipartimento di Studi sull’Asia e sull’Africa Mediterranea
Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia
Ca’ Cappello, Venezia (Italy)

Dr. Geneviève Lachance
Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences
Ghent University
Blandijnberg 2
9000 Gent

Dr. Concetta Luna
Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
Piazza dei Cavalieri 1, 56126 Pisa (Italy)

Dr.Lorenzo Salerno
Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
Piazza dei Cavalieri 1, 56126 Pisa (Italy)

Prof. Sir Richard Sorabji
Wolfson College, University of Oxford
Linton Road OX2 6UD, Oxford (UK)

Prof. Alexander Treiger
Department of Classics
6135 University Avenue
PO Box 15000
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2


1.Concetta Luna, Henri Dominique Saffrey: Philology and History of Neoplatonism, SGA 11/1 (2021), pp. 1-17
Affiliation: SNS, Pisa (Italy)
doi: 10.12871/97888333961491
Keywords: Henri Dominique Saffrey O.P., Proclus, Marinus, Iamblichus

Abstract, Full Text PDF

This article presents the intellectual activity of Father Henri Dominique Saffrey O.P. (1921-2021), describing the work of a great philologist and historian of Neoplatonism. In particular, it deals with the critical editions (Proclus, Marinus, Iamblichus) that Father Saffrey produced in close collaboration with L.G. Westerink and A.-Ph. Segonds, which are an essential reference for any scholar of late ancient thought.

2.Lorenzo Salerno, Il quinto postulato di Euclide nel Commento di Proclo al primo libro degli Elementi, SGA 11/1 (2021), pp. 19-82
Affiliation: SNS, Pisa (Italy)
doi: 10.12871/97888333961492
Keywords: Euclid, Proclus’ Commentary on the first book of the Elements, Euclid’s fifth postulate

Abstract, Full Text PDF

This article analyses the role of Euclid’s fifth postulate (also known as the “Parallel Postulate”) in Proclus’ Commentary on the first book of the Elements. Since Euclid included it among the postulates, he considered it indemonstrable; other ancient geometricians, though, disagreed with him and tried to find a proof of this fundamental principle. Proclus also thought so: in his Commentary, he reports
various opinions on the postulate, together with Ptolemy’s attempt at proof, which he refutes, a paradoxical opinion of anonymous authors who even deny the fifth postulate, and his own attempt at proof. The analysis of these attempts at proof was made by Heath; the aim of this paper is to extend the study to all the parts of Proclus’ Commentary relating to the fifth postulate. A textual note on the term λημμάτιον used in reference to the fifth postulate closes the article. The distinction between axioms and postulates and the “squares of propositions” are dealt with in two final appendices.

3.Bishara Ebeid, The Metaphysics of the Trinity in Graeco-Syriac Miaphysitism:
A Study and Analysis of the Trinitarian Florilegium in MS British Library Add. 14532
, SGA 11/1 (2021), pp. 83-128

Affiliation: Graeco-Syriac Miaphysitism, MS British Library Add. 14532
doi: 10.12871/97888333961493
Keywords: Metaphysics, MS British Library Add. 14532, Trinitarian doctrine

Abstract, Full Text PDF

This paper aims to study and analyse the Trinitarian doctrine of a Syriac Patristic florilegium of Trinitarian content found in MS London, British Library, Add. 14532, in an attempt to understand the reasons that led to its composition. It will include an analysis of the development of Miaphysite metaphysics during the sixth and the seventh centuries, when the Miaphysites had to deal with various internal controversies, and an analytical presentation of the florilegium and of its contents, with an identification of the patristic quotations used by the compiler. The study of the theology and metaphysics of this florilegium will go on to demonstrate that the Miaphysites, starting from their Christology and the problems it created in their Trinitarian doctrine, formulated a metaphysical system based on a new comprehension of “substance”, “hypostasis”, “property” and “monarchy” and developed what I call “Miaphysite Trinitarian doctrine”.

4.Tiziano Dorandi, Editare l’epitome dei primi due libri dell’ Antologia di Giovanni Stobeo, SGA 11/1 (2021), pp. 129-156
Affiliation:Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
doi: 10.12871/97888333961494
Keywords: Joannes Stobaeus, recensio breviata, Joannes Stobaeus’s Anthology

Abstract, Full Text PDF

The aim of my paper is a presentation of the principles of the new edition of the epitomé (recensio breviata) of books 1-2 of the Anthology of Joannes Stobaeus. My method differs significantly from that applied by C. Wachsmuth (1884). The recensio breviata gives a limited idea of the structure and contents of those two books, but the only realistic one. For this reason it must be published in itself without the additions of the parallel tradition and according to criteria and principles proper to the epitomaí. The different problems of edition of the recensio breviata are reviewed and discussed through a detailed analysis of a large number of examples.

5.Geneviève Lachance, Aristotle on the Conventionality of Language: The Exegesis of an Anonymous Armenian Commentator, SGA 11/1 (2021), pp. 157-176
Affiliation: Ghent University
doi: 10.12871/97888333961495
Keywords: Aristotle’s De Interpretatione, MS Mingana syr. 606, Anonymous of Tarán

Abstract, Full Text PDF

The following article aims at studying the different ways in which Aristotelian commentators interpreted two passages of Aristotle’s De Interpretatione which pertain to the thorny question of language’s conventionality: 16 a 26-8 (Chapter 2) and 16 b 33-17 a 2 (Chapter 4). The article gives special attention to the exegesis of an anonymous commentator whose commentary on Aristotle’s De Interpretatione was only preserved in Armenian and, to this day, has never been studied nor translated in its entirety. The article intends to highlight the different interpretations defended by various commentators on Aristotle’s De Interpretatione living before the seventh/eighth century AD and to position the anonymous commentator among an already long and rich exegetical tradition. It will demonstrate that the anonymous Armenian commentary is probably not the fruit of a member of the Neoplatonic school of Alexandria, but rather the work of a scholar who was probably linked with the Peripatetics, or had access to sources linked with them.

6.Cristina D’Ancona, The “Conjunction” of the Intellect with the Separate Substances and God: The Greek and Graeco-Arabic Background , SGA 11/1 (2021), pp. 177-216
Affiliation: Università di Pisa
doi: 10.12871/97888333961496
Keywords: Neoplatonic interpretation of Plato’s Cave, ʿaql mustafād / intellectus adeptus, Albert the Great

Abstract, Full Text PDF

The Neoplatonic interpretation of Plato’s Cave assumes that beyond discursive reason there is in the soul a power to grasp the intelligible Forms and the first principle: the One, or the Good. In itself beyond knowledge, the One-Good is nevertheless present to the human soul as the ultimate foundation of knowledge which is made possible by the Forms. The perfect simplicity of the One-Good implies transcendence with respect to knowledge; however, the soul can have a grasp of it, provided that it raises itself to the non-discursive mode of knowledge which is typical of the Intellect – a separate substance whose nature is intellection. This Neoplatonic interpretation of Plato’s doctrine of knowledge reached the Latin Middle Ages through various channels and fueled the idea that our mind can indeed get direct acquaintance with the supra-sensible realm and its ultimate principle, God. Surprisingly enough, in the philosophical culture of the Middle Ages, both Arabic and Latin, this account was not seen as incompatible with the Aristotelian theory of knowledge, although the latter is based on abstraction from sense perception and does not grant any contact between the human mind and the Unmoved Mover. This article explores the roots of the medieval intermingling of the Aristotelian and Neoplatonic epistemologies which occurs, in particular, in the theory of the “conjunction” of our mind with the intelligible realm. Based on Alexander of Aphrodisias’ exegesis of the De Anima, this theory originates in Arabic philosophy. Here Alexander and Plotinus merge together in the creation of the socalled ʿaql mustafād / intellectus adeptus.

7.Hans Hinrich Biesterfeldt, Ǧālīnūs Quwā al-nafs Revisited, SGA 11/1 (2021), pp. 215-228
Affiliation: Ruhr-Universität Bochum
doi: 10.12871/97888333961497
Keywords: Galen, Ǧālīnūs Quwā al-nafs, MS Mashad Riḍā ṭibb 5223.

Abstract, Full Text PDF

Galenʼs treatise Quod animi mores… has fascinated generations of scholars investigating the ancient history and theory of Greek medicine. The Arabic version of the treatise, Quwā l-nafs (ed. Biesterfeldt 1973), has considerably extended the ground for establishing a proper Greek text. In addition to the then unique ms. Ayasofya 3725, which served as a basis for my edition, a second manuscript of the text recently emerged, Meshhed Riḍā ṭibb 5223. It contributes valuable readings to the Arabic, and indirectly to the Greek, text and documents the work of a member of the group of translators from Greek into Arabic around Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq, namely Iṣṭifan b. Basīl. His readings and his copious marginal remarks show his excellent knowledge of Greek and of Greek culture and give us an idea of what the readers of this kind of scholarly heritage might have been interested in.

8.Alexander Treiger, Plato and Aristotle Holding Scrolls: An Arabic Ekphrasis of a Christian Painting, SGA 11/1 (2021), pp. 229-240
Affiliation: Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia, Canada)
doi: 10.12871/97888333961498
Keywords: al-Rāġib al-Iṣfahānī, al-ʿĀmirī, al-Muṭahhar ibn Ṭāhir al-Maqdisī

Abstract, Full Text PDF

The present contribution analyzes an intriguing tradition that appears in al-Rāġib al-Iṣfahānī’s (d. 422/1031) Kitāb al-Ḏarīʿa ilā makārim al-šarīʿa and Abū Ḥāmid al-Ġazālī’s (d. 505/1111) Mīzān al-ʿamal and Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn. This tradition discusses a painting of two philosophers holding scrolls with pithy sayings. An analysis (based on a wide array of related texts: from al ʿĀmirī, al-Muṭahhar ibn Ṭāhir al-Maqdisī, and Arabic gnomologia) demonstrates that the philosophers are to be identified as Plato and Aristotle. It also shows (on the basis of a comparison to late-Byzantine and post-Byzantine Orthodox frescoes of Greek philosophers) that the Arabic tradition is, most likely, a literary depiction (ekphrasis) of an actual painting that once adorned a Christian church. The present contribution also suggests that the Arabic tradition in question owes its origin to the Muslim Diyārāt and Zuhd literatures, dedicated to Christian monasteries and asceticism respectively.

9.Richard Sorabji, Intentional Objects in Conscious Activity and Other Contexts: An Inter-cultural History, SGA 11/1 (2021), pp. 241-266
Affiliation: Wolfson College, University of Oxford
doi: 10.12871/97888333961499
Keywords: Brentano, Intentional Objects, Aristotle, Islamic Philosophy, Albert the Great

Abstract, Full Text PDF

The idea of intentional objects of consciousness, which Brentano made the mark of the mental, goes back to the ancient Greek commentators on Aristotle of 200 – 600 CE, especially Philoponus, who in turn influenced Islamic Philosophy, which in its turn influenced Philosophy in medieval Latin.

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