The author shows, from Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq’s translations of Galen’s Crises and Critical Days, and borrowing a scheme from Sebastian Brock, that Ḥunayn’s translation style was “reader-oriented,” in which he added whatever he thought necessary to help his readers understand the text and its complex subject matter, rather than “text-oriented,” which adhered closely to the original. Using several examples classified in a working typology, the author shows how caution must be used when deriving Greek textual variants from Arabic. Moreover, the author considers how the Arabic translations creatively distorted certain scientifically significant concepts.
Discussed in: Glen M. CooperGalen De diebus decretoriis from Greek into Arabic: A Critical Edition with Translation and Commentary and Historical Introduction of Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq Kitāb ayyām al-buḥrān (London: Ashgate2011) 85 and 504. (Hereafter references to this work will be as follows: Galen (ed. Cooper) Critical Days 85 and 504). See also discussion in: Overwien “The Art of the Translator” 153.
Elaheh Kheirandish“The Arabic ‘Version’ of Euclidean Optics: Transformations as Linguistic Problems in Transmission,” in Tradition Transmission Transformation: Proceedings of TwoConferences on Pre-modern Science Held at the University of Oklahoma ed. F. Jamil Ragep and Sally P. Ragep with Steven Livesey (Leiden: Brill1996) 227–45.
Gotthelf BergsträsserHunain ibn Ishaq Über die syrischen und arabischen Galen-übersetzungen (Leipzig: Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft1925) 15 line 9 (Arabic). cited hereafter as Ḥunayn (ed. Bergsträsser) Risāla. Discussed in Overwien “The Art of the Translator” 152.
See for example William CullenFirst Lines of the Practice of Physic (Worcester, Mass.: Isaiah Thomas1790). Sudhoff gave an historical survey that showed the persistence of the critical days doctrine that is still useful: Karl Sudhoff “Zur Geschichte der Lehre von den kritischen Tagen im Krankheitsverlaufe” Sudhoffs Archiv für Geschichte der Medizin 21 no. 1–4 (1929): 1–22.
See e.g.: Glen M. Cooper“Rational and Empirical Medicine in Ninth-Century Baghdad: Qusṭā ibn Lūqā’s ‘Questions on the Critical Days in Acute Illnesses’,”Arabic Sciences and Philosophy24 (2014): 69–102; and Idem “Approaches to the Critical Days in Late Medieval and Renaissance Thinkers” Early Science and Medicine 18 no. 6 (2013): 536–65.
Sebastian Brock“Towards a History of Syriac Translation Technique,”Orientalia Christiana Analecta221 (1983): 1–14; here 4 ff. See also the discussion in: Uwe Vagelpohl “The ʿAbbasid Translation Movement in Context: Contemporary Voices on Translation” in ʿAbbasid Studies III: Occasional Papers of the School of ʿAbbasid Studies Leuven 28 June–1 July 2004 ed. J. Nawas (Leuven: Peeters 2010): 245–6.
Galen (ed. Bengt Alexanderson)Galenos Peri Kriseon: Überlieferung und Text (Göteborg: Elanders Boktryckeri Aktiebolag1967): 169 line 20–171 line 17 (970614–70914 K). The sigla key for his apparatus criticus is found in the Appendix to the present article.
Liddell and ScottA Greek-English Lexicon1044. The word derives from λήθη “forgetting.” The form that Ḥunayn has transliterated is the adjective ληθάργος “forgetful.” The verb ληθαργέω means “to forget.” The same explanation appears in Ḥunayn’s translation of a passage on 171 A / 9709 K.
See Jon Moline“Aristotle, Eubulides, and the Sorites,”Mind78 (1969) 393–407. The sorites continues to be of interest to modern philosophers e.g. Delia Graff “Phenomenal Continua and the Sorites” Mind 110 no. 440 (2001): 905–35.
Jonathan Barnes“Medicine, Experience, and Logic,” in Science and Speculation: Studies in Hellenistic Theory and Practiceed. J. Barnes J. Brunschwig M. Burnyeat and M. Schofield 24–68 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press1982) 32n. 16. Several contexts are listed.
Galen (ed. Cooper)Critical Days312–3. Note that this is a corrected version of this passage. In my edition I mistranslated the passage slightly due to my having transcribed part of the Arabic incorrectly.
Gotthard Strohmaier“Die griechischen Götter in einer christlich-arabischen Übersetzung. Zum Traumbuch des Artemidor in der Version des Hunain ibn Ishak,” in Die Araber in der alten Welted. F. Altheim and R. Stiehl (Berlin: De Gruyter1967) 127–62; Idem “Galen in Arabic: Prospects and Projects” in Galen: Problems and Prospects ed. Vivian Nutton (London: Wellcome Trust 1981) 187–96.
Liddell and ScottA Greek-English Lexicon1418–419. Literally it is formed of πλην (“except”) and μελος (“limb”). “Limb” is a metaphor for an articulated part of a harmony namely a “melody” and means “out of tune; out of harmony.”