The Book of Causes:

The Book of Causes:

The Book of Causes:

The Book of Causes:

Excerpt

Little by little, contemporary historians are penetrating the mystery surrounding the origins of The Book of Causes. The treatise seems to have been widely known and circulated from the beginning of the 13th Century in Latin translation, under two titles: Liber Aristotelis de expositione bonitatis purae and Liber de causis. As such, it has been preserved in over 230 manuscripts. Since the pioneering studies of O. Bardenhewer and M. Steinschneider, historians unanimously recognize that the Medieval Latin translation was originally made in the Mozarabic city of Toledo by Gerard of Cremona (d. 1187) from an Arabic exemplar. Indeed, a treatise with the title Liber de expositione bonitatis purae is included in a list of works translated byGerard into Latin More recently, Adriaan Pattin has published a philological study indicating that the text exhibits evidence of the Latin vocabulary characteristic of Dominic Gundisalvi, Gerard of Cremona's cotranslator at Toledo. Pattin concludes that the data point not to two chronologically and substantially different texts, but rather to one basic text translated by Gerard and in places revised by Dominic. With regard, however, to the prehistory of the Liber de causis, that is, its authorship, date and place of composition, and even the original language of composition, there has been much conjecture and difference of opinion.

This contemporary confusion parallels the state of the question in the Medieval Latin world. At different times during the Middle Ages, paternity of the treatise was variously attributed to Theophrastus (d. 286 B.C.); Avicenna (d. 1037); Algazel (d. 1111); and to Aristotle (d. 322 B.C.); with or without commentary by Alfarabi (d. 950). By the early 1230s, Aristotle's candidature held ascendancy over all others. Thus, when the University of Paris lifted the proscriptions against the libri naturales of the Stagrite in 1255, the Liber de causis was officially enrolled into the syllabus of the Faculty of Arts as a canonical work . . .

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