Al-ʿAllāma al-Ḥillī (d. 1325) and the Early Reception of Kātibī’s Shamsīya: Notes towards a Study of the Dynamics of Post-Avicennan Logical Commentary

In: Oriens
Tony Street University of Cambridge

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Al-Risāla al-Shamsīya fī l-qawāʿid al-manṭiqīya by Najm al-Dīn al-Kātibī (d. 1277) is one of the most widely-read textbooks on logic ever written. Its first readers, however, were less enthusiastic about it than later generations proved to be. In the earliest commentary written on the Shamsīya, al-ʿAllāma al-Ḥillī (d. 1325) expressed serious reservations about a number of Kātibī’s decisions, decisions which developed ideas first put forward by Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 1210). In the following article, I examine how the commentary Ḥillī wrote on the Shamsīya, al-Qawāʿid al-jalīya fī sharḥ al-Risāla al-Shamsīya, fits in with his other works on logic, and how it responds to Kātibī’s logical program in general and to the syllogistic in particular. When set against the preceding two centuries of commentary on Avicenna’s Kitāb al-Ishārāt wa-l-tanbīhāt, Ḥillī’s response to the Shamsīya—and indeed Kātibī’s writing of the Shamsīya itself—can be seen as seamlessly carrying forward a commentary tradition in which Rāzī and Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī (d. 1274) figure prominently. The first appendix to the article examines the transformation of a lemma in the Ishārāt into the corresponding lemma in the Shamsīya through 150 years of commentatorial debate; the second appendix presents translations of a number of texts on syllogistic from al-Qawāʿid al-jalīya.

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