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Al-Farabi and the History of the Syriac Organon


Scholarly study of the transmission of Aristotelian philosophy from Greek late antiquity to medieval Islam is to some extent still influenced by the account in Ibn Abī Uṣaibi‛a attributed to al-Fārābī, which served as the basis for Max Meyerhof’s famous essay Von Alexandrien nach Bagdad. The present work, utilising evidence unknown to Meyerhof and still often neglected in more recent scholarship, argues that such a restriction never represented the whole Syriac tradition, but reflects an alternative logical curriculum with deep roots in the ancient world, while Syriac writers who were proficient in Greek adhered throughout to the other strand of this two-strand tradition, that of the full Organon.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-60724-041-9
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Series: Analecta Gorgiana 129
Publication Date: Jul 17,2009
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 33
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-60724-041-9
$24.95

Scholarly study of the transmission of Aristotelian philosophy from Greek late antiquity to medieval Islam is to some extent still influenced by the account in Ibn Abī Uṣaibi‛a attributed to al-Fārābī, which served as the basis for Max Meyerhof’s famous essay Von Alexandrien nach Bagdad. While much in that account is now regarded as fictional and tendentious, the extant corpus of Syriac Aristotelian texts is still widely held to authenticate one aspect of it, namely, that from some time in late antiquity until the coming of Islam, the study of Aristotelian logic was limited in the Christian Orient to the early books of the Organon terminating at Prior Analytics I 7. The present work, utilising evidence unknown to Meyerhof and still often neglected in more recent scholarship, argues that such a restriction never represented the whole Syriac tradition, but reflects an alternative logical curriculum with deep roots in the ancient world, while Syriac writers who were proficient in Greek adhered throughout to the other strand of this two-strand tradition, that of the full Organon.

John Watt teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Cardiff University in the UK. A special interest in Syriac rhetoric, first aroused when he was a researcher in the Sonderforschungsbereich Orientalistik at the University of Göttingen, Germany, is reflected in many of his publications, notably Aristotelian Rhetoric in Syriac. Bar Hebraeus, Butyrum Sapientiae, Book of Rhetoric (Leiden, 2005).

Scholarly study of the transmission of Aristotelian philosophy from Greek late antiquity to medieval Islam is to some extent still influenced by the account in Ibn Abī Uṣaibi‛a attributed to al-Fārābī, which served as the basis for Max Meyerhof’s famous essay Von Alexandrien nach Bagdad. While much in that account is now regarded as fictional and tendentious, the extant corpus of Syriac Aristotelian texts is still widely held to authenticate one aspect of it, namely, that from some time in late antiquity until the coming of Islam, the study of Aristotelian logic was limited in the Christian Orient to the early books of the Organon terminating at Prior Analytics I 7. The present work, utilising evidence unknown to Meyerhof and still often neglected in more recent scholarship, argues that such a restriction never represented the whole Syriac tradition, but reflects an alternative logical curriculum with deep roots in the ancient world, while Syriac writers who were proficient in Greek adhered throughout to the other strand of this two-strand tradition, that of the full Organon.

John Watt teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Cardiff University in the UK. A special interest in Syriac rhetoric, first aroused when he was a researcher in the Sonderforschungsbereich Orientalistik at the University of Göttingen, Germany, is reflected in many of his publications, notably Aristotelian Rhetoric in Syriac. Bar Hebraeus, Butyrum Sapientiae, Book of Rhetoric (Leiden, 2005).

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John Watt