The First ‘Proclean’ Section (Chapter 20) of ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī’s Book on the Science of Metaphysics. Is the Pure Good of the Maḥḍ al-ḫayr Aristotle’s First Principle, Intellect in Actuality?

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Cecilia Martini Bonadeo Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World, Università degli Studi di Padova

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The first ‘Proclean’ section (Chapter 20) in ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī’s Kitāb fī ʿilm mā baʿd al-ṭabīʿa is titled Fī mā qāla l-ḥakīm fī kitāb īḍāḥ al-ḫayr. ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī presents his epitome of the Maḥḍ al-ḫayr. He reproduces all the propositions except numbers 4, 10, 18, and 20 in the same order. He adds Proclus’s proposition 54, On the difference between eternity and time (Mā bayn al-dahr wa-l-zamān), which is recalled twice, and passages from Metaphysics Lambda and the pseudo-Theology. Using a Farabian model, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf’s aim is to establish the identification between the First Cause, One and Pure Good, as presented in the Liber de causis, and the Aristotelian First Principle, Unmoved Mover and Intellect in actuality, described in his paraphrase of Metaphysics Lambda. Not surprisingly, however, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf is unable to reach this goal. Dissatisfied with the Avicennian summae, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf gathers in his Book on the Science of Metaphysics a syllabus of the ancient doctrines, the foundational sources of falsafa plus al-Fārābī. This syllabus inevitably reflects the antinomy of its sources concerning the nature of the First Principle, i.e. the antinomy of the two main doctrines at the origin of falsafa, the Plotinian One and the Aristotelian Intellect in actuality.

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