The Aristotelian Tradition in Syriac: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Aristotelian Tradition in Syriac

1st Edition

By John W. Watt


294 pages

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Hardback: 9781138334663
pub: 2019-02-21
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pub: 2019-02-14
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This volume presents a panorama of Syriac engagement with Aristotelian philosophy primarily situated in the 6th to the 9th centuries, but also ranging to the 13th. It offers a wide range of articles, opening with surveys on the most important philosophical writers of the period before providing detailed studies of two Syriac prolegomena to Aristotle’s Categories and examining the works of Hunayn, the most famous Arabic translator of the 9th century. Watt also examines the relationships between philosophy, rhetoric and political thought in the period, and explores the connection between earlier Syriac tradition and later Arabic philosophy in the thought of the 13th century Syriac polymath Bar Hebraeus.

Collected together for the first time, these articles present an engaging and thorough history of Aristotelian philosophy during this period in the Near East, in Syriac and Arabic.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. From Alexandria to Baghdad. Max Meyerhof Revisited

Chapter 2. From Sergius to Mattā. Aristotle and Pseudo-Dionysius in Syriac Tradition

Chapter 3. The Syriac Aristotle between Alexandria and Baghdad

Chapter 4. Sergius of Reshaina on the Prolegomena to Aristotle’s Logic. The Commentary on the Categories, Chapter Two

Chapter 5. The Prolegomena to Aristotelian Philosophy of George, Bishop of the Arabs

Chapter 6. Why Did Ḥunayn, the Master Translator into Arabic, Make Translations into Syriac? On the Purpose of the Syriac Translations of Ḥunayn and his Circle

Chapter 7. The Syriac Translations of Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq and their Precursors

Chapter 8. Greek Thought and Syriac Controversies

Chapter 9. Julian’s Letter to Themistius - and Themistius’ Response?

Chapter 10. Themistius and Julian. Their Association in Syriac and Arabic Tradition

Chapter 11. Literary and Philosophical Rhetoric in Syriac

Chapter 12. Greek Philosophy and Syriac Culture in Abbasid Iraq

Chapter 13. Graeco-Syriac Tradition and Arabic Philosophy in Bar Hebraeus

Chapter 14. Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Political Thought in the Christian Orient and in al-Fārābī, Avicenna, and Averroes


About the Author

John W. Watt is Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University. His research has focused on Syriac rhetoric and philosophy, and in these areas he has edited major treatises of Antony of Tagrit (Leuven: Peeters, 1986) and Bar Hebraeus (Leiden: Brill, 2005). Several of his articles are collected in his Rhetoric and Philosophy from Greek into Syriac (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010).

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General