Averroes' Three Short Commentaries on Aristotle's "Topics," "Rhetoric," and "Poetics"

Averroes' Three Short Commentaries on Aristotle's "Topics," "Rhetoric," and "Poetics"

Averroes' Three Short Commentaries on Aristotle's "Topics," "Rhetoric," and "Poetics"

Averroes' Three Short Commentaries on Aristotle's "Topics," "Rhetoric," and "Poetics"

Excerpt

Born in Córdoba in 1126 C.E. (520 Anno Hegirae), Abū al-Walīd Muhammad ibn Ahmad Ibn Rushd, known to the West as Averroës, received a traditional education in the principal disciplines of Islamic culture: jurisprudence and theology. He also studied medicine, eloquence, poetry, literature, and philosophy. His reputation as a man of learning brought him to the attention of his sovereign, Abū Ya'qūb Yūsuf, the ruler of the Almohad dynasty, who encouraged him to explain the difficulties in the works of Aristotle and appointed him as a judge, eventually naming him the chief justice of Seville. Except for a brief period of legal exile, Averroës occupied this post, also serving as personal physician and sometime adviser to the Almohad sovereigns, until almost the end of his life in 595/1198. Still, his reputation among learned men of the Middle Ages was due to his skillful interpretations of pagan philosophy and defense of theoretical speculation, rather than to these practical accomplishments. Even today his theoretical accomplishments could interest thoughtful men, but most of his writings are largely inaccessible to them—existing only in medieval manuscripts or barely intelligible Latin translations.

An attempt is made here to fill that void by presenting three treatises of historical and theoretical significance to all interested in philosophic thought. None of these treatises has ever before been edited and published in Arabic or translated into a modern language. Because the Arabic manuscripts were apparently lost at an early date, the closest replicas of the original Arabic version now available to interested scholars are two Judaeo-Arabic manuscripts. They have been used as the basis of this edition. According to the scribe of one of the manuscripts, the copy was completed in 1356 C.E. Unfortunately there is no reliable information about the date of the other manuscript: the date of 1216, written in the kind of Arabic numerals used by Westerners in recent times and in a hand other than that of the scribe, appears on . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.