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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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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References

10

Fritz W. Zimmermann, “The Origins of the So-called Theology of Aristotle,” in Pseudo- Aristotle in the Middle Ages. The Theology and Other Texts, ed. by Jill Kraye, William F. Ryan, and Charles B. Schmitt (London: The Warburg Institute, 1986), 113.

13

Badawī, Al-Aflāṭūniyya al-muḥdaṯa ʿind al-ʿArab, 248–56.

15

Richard C. Taylor, The Liber de Causis (Kalām fī maḥḍ al-ḫayr). A study of Medieval Neoplatonism (Toronto: PhD Thesis, 1981); Richard C. Taylor, “ʿAbd al Latif al-Baghdadi’s Epitome of the Kalam fi Mahd al- Khayr (Liber de Causis),” in Islamic Theology and Philosophy: Studies in Honor of George F. Hourani, ed. by M.E. Marmura (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1984), 286–323, in particular 320, note 13.

16

Cecilia Martini Bonadeo, “Readers of the Arabic Plotinus. Part Two: ʿAbd al-Laṭīf b. Yūsuf al-Baġdādī,” in Pseudo-Theology of Aristotle. Text, Translation, History, and Doctrine. Vol. I, Prolegomena, ed. by Cristina D’Ancona. Vol. II. Philological Introduction, Arabic Text, French Translation, Commentary, Indexes, ed. by Cristina D’Ancona. Vol. III. The so-called Longer Version of the pseudo-Theology of Aristotle, ed. by Paul B. Fenton (in preparation).

17

Cf. Martini Bonadeo, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī’s Philosophical Journey, 244.

18

Cf. Elvira Wakelnig, Feder, Tafel, Mensch: Al-ʿĀmirī’s Kitāb al-Fuṣūl fī l-Maʿālim al-ilāhīya und die arabische Proklos-Rezeption im 10. Jh. (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2006), 155.

21

Bardenhewer, Die pseudo-aristotelische Schrift Über das reine Gute, 76.2: ‮كل عقل إنما ثباته وقوامه بالخير المحض وهي العلّة الأولى.‬‎

22

Bardenhewer, Die pseudo-aristotelische Schrift Über das reine Gute, 78.2–4: ‮والعلّة الأولى ليست بعقل ولا نفسٍ ولا طبيعة، بل هي فوق العقل والنفس والطبيعة لأنّها مبدِعةٌ لجميع الأشياء.‬‎

23

Bardenhewer, Die pseudo-aristotelische Schrift Über das reine Gute, 78.5–8: ‮والعلم الالاهيّ ليس كالعلم العقلي ولا كعلم النفس بل هو فوق علم العقل وعلم النفس لأنّه مبدع العلوم والقوّة الالاهيّة فوق كلّ قوّة عقليّة ونفسانيّة وطبيعيّة لأنّها علّة لكلّ قوّة.‬‎

28

Cf. Badawī, Arisṭū ʿind al-ʿArab, 21.10–11: “It has become evident from all this that God is the First Principle and He knows together Himself and all the things of which He is the principle.” ‮وقد تبين من جميع ذلك أن الله هو المبدأ الأول وأنه يعلم ذاته وجميع الأشياء التي هو لها مبدأ معاً.‬‎ On Themistius’ interpretation of divine intellection as it is accounted for in Book Lambda of Metaphysics and its influence on the medieval Arabic and Jewish philosophers see the seminal article by Pines, “Some distinctive metaphysical conceptions in Themistius’ Commentary on Book Lambda and their place in the history of philosophy,” in particular 189–90 for the idea that Aristotle’s God is both the cause of the cosmos and the Nomos ruling over the cosmos. As for the influence of Plotinus’s νοῦς on Themistius’ conception of the Aristotelian God in his paraphrase of Book Lambda of Metaphysics see Shlomo Pines, “Les limites de la métaphysique selon al-Fārābi, Ibn Bājja et Maïmonide: sources et antithèses de ces doctrines chez Alexandre d’ Aphrodise et chez Themistius,” Miscellanea Mediaevalia 13, no. 1 (1981): 211–25. Brague [Thémistius. Paraphrase de la Métaphysique d’ Aristote (Livre Lambda), 37] maintains that the topic that God knows everything by knowing himself is reminiscent of the Neoplatonic formula “who knows himself knows everything”: cf. e.g. Hermiae Alexandrini in Platonis Phaedrum Scholia, ed. by Paul Couvreur (Paris: Librairie Émile Bouillon, Éditeur, 1901), 31.15. It should be noted that Themistius puts some emphasis on God’s knowledge of the existents as identical with his self-knowledge also in his Paraphrase of the De Anima [cf. Themistii in libros Aristotelis de Anima commentaria, ed. by Ricardus Heinze (Berlin: Reimer, 1899), 99.24–25]. Cf. also Pines, “Some distinctive metaphysical conceptions in Themistius’ Commentary on Book Lambda and their place in the history of philosophy,” 187 and n. 44 with references to the relevant passages in Malcom Cameron Lyons, An Arabic translation of Themistius Commentary on Aristoteles De anima, (London: Cassirer, 1973) as well as in Verbeke’s edition of Moerbeke’s Latin translation of this paraphrase (Leiden: Brill, 1973).

29

Cf. Badawī, Arisṭū ʿind al-ʿArab, 18.4–5: “God is the Nomos and the cause of the order and the arrangement of the existent things. He is a Living Nomos.” ‮وذلك أن الله ناموس وسبب نظام الأشياء الموجودة وترتيبها. وهو ناموس حيّ.‬‎

30

Cf. Cecilia Martini Bonadeo, “God’s Will and the Origin of the World. ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baghdādī’s Sources and Arguments.” The Muslim World 107.3 (2017): 1–14.

32

Badawī, Arisṭū ʿind al-ʿArab, 18.3–7; Neuwirth, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī’s Bearbeitung von Buch Lambda der aristotelischen Metaphysik, 43.1–2.

33

Badawī, Arisṭū ‘ind al-ʿArab, 18.10–11; Neuwirth, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī’s Bearbeitung von Buch Lambda der aristotelischen Metaphysik, 43.3–6.

34

Neuwirth, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī’s Bearbeitung von Buch Lambda der aristotelischen Metaphysik, 53.5.

35

Neuwirth, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī’s Bearbeitung von Buch Lambda der aristotelischen Metaphysik, 57.1–5. Cf. Martini Bonadeo, “God’s Will and the Origin of the World. ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baghdādī’s Sources and Arguments,” 1–14.

40

Cf. Martini Bonadeo, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī’s Philosophical Journey, 157–73, 194–5, 214–5, 267.

43

Damien Janos, Method, Structure, and Development in al-Fārābī’s Cosmology (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 180–9.

44

Al-Fārābī, The Political Regime, 34.13–5; Butterworth, Alfarabi, The Political Writings, 32; al-Fārābī, Le livre du régime politique, 18–9.

45

Peter Adamson, “Knowledge of Universals and Particulars in the Baghdad School,” Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale 18 (2007): 141–64, does not discuss al-Fārābī’s opinion about God’s knowledge of universals or particulars, but discusses the same problem in Yaḥyā b. ʿAdī (156–9) and Ibn al-Ṭayyib (161–3).

46

Janos, Method, Structure, and Development in al-Fārābī’s Cosmology, 188.

48

Cf. Neuwirth, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī’s Bearbeitung von Buch Lambda der aristotelischen Metaphysik, 43.3–6, where ʿAbd al-Laṭīf explains that the unmoved mover is the First Cause for all the beings, but it is for some of them cause prima intentione (ʿalā l-qaṣd al-awwal), and for others secunda intentione (ʿalā l-qaṣd al-ṯānī). In the first case the agent intends and what is intended is the agent’s aim: the First Principle necessarily acts prima intentione thinking of itself in its essence. In the second case secunda intentione the thing which is intended is not the aim, but because of the aim: the First Principle causes all the beings to emerge necessarily from it. ʿAbd al-Laṭīf uses this distinction speaking about God’s providence which is not God’s primary action but secunda intentione. Cf. Martini Bonadeo, “God’s Will and the Origin of the World. ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baghdādī’s Sources and Arguments,” The Muslim World 107.3 (2017): 1–14.

55

Bardenhewer, Die pseudo-aristotelische Schrift Über das reine Gute bekannt unter dem Namen Liber de causis, 96.6–11.

56

Bardenhewer, Die pseudo-aristotelische Schrift Über das reine Gute, 99.4–8.

60

G. Endress, Proclus Arabus. Zwanzig Abschnitte aus der Institutio Theologica in arabischer Übersetzung (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1973), ‮‭٢٢‬‬‎, 271.

66

Neuwirth, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī’s Bearbeitung von Buch Lambda der aristotelischen Metaphysik, 81.6.

67

Averroès, Tafsīr mā baʿd al-ṭabīʿa, 1716.5–6.

70

Neuwirth, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī’s Bearbeitung von Buch Lambda der aristotelischen Metaphysik, 29.4–7.

73

Zimmermann, “The Origins of the So-called Theology of Aristotle,” 181.

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