Comparing Interpretative Notes in the Syriac and Arabic Translations of the Hippocratic Aphorisms

in Aramaic Studies
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Paris Bibliothèque nationale de France MS Arabe 6734 contains a bilingual Syriac-Arabic text of the Hippocratic Aphorisms. Whereas the Arabic lemmata are clearly taken from Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq’s translation of Galen’s Commentary on the Hippocratic Aphorisms, the Syriac translator has not been identified conclusively. In the Syriac translation, there is a long note on lemma iv. 47 in which the annotator refutes Galen’s interpretation of this lemma. In his Arabic translation of Galen’s Commentary on the Hippocratic Aphorisms, Ḥunayn also notes Galen’s misinterpretation of this lemma. In this article, I present the Syriac note, along with an analysis of Galen’s comment on lemma iv. 47 to show an inconsistency of Galen’s interpretation of this aphorism. I then present Ḥunayn’s note on this lemma for the first time, and illustrate how he edited the Arabic translation.




See, for example, Rainer Degen, ‘Zur syrischen Übersetzung der Aphorismen des Hippokrates’, Oriens Christianus 62 (1978), pp. 36–52; Sebastian Brock, ‘The Syriac Background to Ḥunayn’s Translation Techniques’, Aram 3 (1991), pp. 139–162; Oliver Overwien, ‘The Paradigmatic Translator and His Method: Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq’s Translation of the Hippocratic Aphorisms from Greek via Syriac into Arabic’, Intellectual History of the Islamicate World 3 (2015), pp. 158–187.


See Overwien, ‘The Paradigmatic Translator’, pp. 161–163. The Arabic text is found in Gotthelf Bergsträsser, Ḥunain ibn Isḥāq über die syrischen und arabischen Galen-Übersetzungen (Wiesbaden: F.A. Brockhaus, 1925) p. 40. This text appears in the new Arabic edition and English translation of the Risāla: John C. Lamoreaux, Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq, Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq on His Galen Translations (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 2016) pp. 94–97 [§ 94].


به] E5, E6, E7, P1, R1, YA: بحروجه sub lin. P1, Tytler.


For example, Uwe Vagelpohl, ‘In the Translator’s Workshop’, Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 21/2 (2011), pp. 249–288 collects and translates Ḥunayn’s notes found in his translation of Galen’s Commentary on the Hippocratic Epidemics. Another example of his comment introduced by qāla Ḥunayn is in F. Klein-Franke, ‘Zur Überlieferung der platonischen Schriften im Islam’, Israel Oriental Studies 3 (1973), pp. 120–139 (130). This reference is owed to an anonymous referee.


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