1st Edition

Greek Philosophers in the Arabic Tradition

By Dimitri Gutas Copyright 2000

    Professor Gutas deals here with the lives, sayings, thought, and doctrines of Greek philosophers drawn from sources preserved in medieval Arabic translations and for the most part not extant in the original. The Arabic texts, some of which are edited here for the first time, are translated throughout and richly annotated with the purpose of making the material accessible to classical scholars and historians of ancient and medieval philosophy. Also discussed are the modalities of transmission from Greek into Arabic, the diffusion of the translated material within the Arabic tradition, the nature of the Arabic sources containing the material, and methodological questions relating to Graeco-Arabic textual criticism. The philosophers treated include the Presocratics and minor schools such as Cynicism, Plato, Aristotle and the early Peripatos, and thinkers of late antiquity. A final article presents texts on the malady of love drawn from both the medical and philosophical (problemata physica) traditions.

    Contents: Presocratics and Minor Schools: Pre-Plotinian philosophy in Arabic (other than Platonism and Aristotelianism): a review of the sources; Sayings by Diogenes preserved in Arabic; Adrastus of Aphrodisias, (Pseudo-) Cebes, Democrates 'Gnomicus', and Diogenes the Cynic in the Arabic sources; Plato: Plato's Symposion in the Arabic tradition; Galen’s Synopsis of Plato’s Laws and Farabi’s Talhis; Aristotle and the early peripatos: The spurious and the authentic in the Arabic Lives of Aristotle; The life, works, and sayings of Theophrastus in the Arabic tradition; Eudemus in the Arabic tradition; Late antiquity and the interface between Greek and Arabic: Paul the Persian on the classification of the parts of Aristotle's philosophy: a milestone between Alexandria and Baghdad; The starting point of philosophical studies in Alexandrian and Arabic Aristotelianism; Philoponus and Avicenna on the separability of the intellect: a case of Orthodox Christian - Muslim agreement; The malady of love (in collaboration with Hans Hinrich Biesterfeldt); Index.


    Dimitri Gutas is Professor of Arabic and Graeco-Arabic at Yale University, USA where he studies and teaches classical Arabic and the pre-modern intellectual tradition in Islamic civilization. In addition to his lexicographical interests in Graeco-Arabic studies, he has devoted a large part of his scholarly career to the edition and study of Greek philosophical texts translated into Arabic and their influence in the Islamic world. In this field he has published Greek Wisdom Literature in Arabic Translation. A Study of the Graeco-Arabic Gnomologia (New Haven 1975), Greek Philosophers in the Arabic Tradition (Aldershot, Hampshire 2000), and has been involved from the beginning as co-editor in Project Theophrastus. Within Arabic philosophy, he has concentrated in particular on its greatest exponent, Ibn Sina (known as Avicenna in the medieval Latin world), on whom he wrote the fundamental Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition and Introduction to Reading Avicenna's Philosophical Works.

    '... a good survey of the work of this deserving scholar.' Bibliotheca Orientalis 'This handsome collection of studies by one of the finest scholars in the field will be useful to classicists and Arabists, as well as anyone else seriously interested in the problems and methods of Graeco-Arabic scholarship... provides a valuable opportunity for the rest of us to learn sound scholarly method from a scholar of the stature of Dimitri Gutas... many thought-provoking analyses... recommended reading for anyone seriously interested in classics or in the intellectual history of the Islamic domains.' Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies