In this article, we defend the hypothesis according to which that what al-Ğāḥiẓ attempted to expose, criticize, and problematize in Kitāb al-Buḫalāʾ (the Book of the Misers), is not only the phenomenon of miserliness as socioeconomic conduct, but also especially the speech of misers as the revealing symptom of the choice of a form of life. To use a concept developed by Marcel Mauss, we would say that for al-Ğāḥiẓ the phenomenon of miserliness constitutes a ‘total social fact’ in that al-Ğāḥiẓ analyzes and treats miserliness not as a simple act to give and/or to receive involving only an economic aspect, but as a summary of all the facts which constitute the sociocultural space, a kind of cross-section in the body of society. The question asked by al-Ğāḥiẓ in this work is one of the social link generally, community life in particular and, more specifically still, the sense of friendship that the other member of the dyad is capable of showing. Thus, we see al-Ğāḥiẓ insist on the fact that miserliness is not a fact of economy. Instead, it shows itself and acts especially as it involves the choice of a form of life and a mode of presence in society, a choice which determines, in turn, a mode of appropriation and employment of the language in the speech of the misers.
Following the work of Dunlop (1974) and Badawī (1979), this study aims to prepare the way for a new edition of the Arabic fragments of the Iḫtiṣār al-Iskandarāniyyīn, which are preserved in Cairo manuscript Taymūr Pāšā 290 aḫlāq. This second phase of the project concerns a precise comparison between these Arabic fragments and the corresponding passages in the Arabo-Latin translation of the Summa Alexandrinorum, which was completed by Hermann the German in 1243 and will soon be published in a new edition. Comparing the Arabic fragments with the corresponding passages in Latin makes it possible: 1) to enhance earlier attempts to compile a glossary of Arabic and Latin terms as used by Hermann in his translations; 2) to evaluate how these Arabic fragments can properly be used for the new edition of the Arabo-Latin version of the Summa Alexandrinorum; 3) to draw some conclusions about the status of these Arabic fragments and Hermann’s methods, as well as Hermann’s underlying aims. The paper concludes by offering a methodological perspective on the forthcoming edition of the Summa Alexandrinorum in its Arabo-Latin version.
Following an exegetical method similar to the one used two years earlier in his Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Averroes usually stays very close to the Arabic version of the Nicomachean Ethics in his Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. For he mostly reproduces Aristotle’s text without reformulating it. When necessary he nonetheless deletes the most obscure passages and develops those requiring more explanation, adding examples and replacing some terms with other terms, usually technical ones. By doing so, Averroes gives the ten Books of Aristotle’s treatise a greater unity and coherence. One of the commonest modifications that Averroes introduced in the Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics on the microstructural level is the use of the term scientia/ ḥokhma to refer to the content of the Ethics, whereas Aristotle’s text had no specific word for this. Likewise, Averroes makes clear in the first lines of his Commentary on the Republic that the discursive mode he is going to follow is the mode of scientific or theoretical arguments, not dialectical arguments. Hence, bestowing the status of a « science » on ethics (and on politics) clearly seems problematic – from a strictly Aristotelian perspective at any rate. This contribution seeks to understand, from Books I and X of Averroes’ Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, how the « scientific » status of ethics shall be understood, by observing in particular the inscription of the Ethics in the knowledge system as Averroes conceives it, and by raising the question of the addressee of his Middle Commentary, who obviously is no longer the Aristotelian figure of the legislator ἐπιεικής.
Following Berman’s edition, this project takes a fresh look at the fragments of Averroes’ Middle Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics that are contained in the Unicum of Fez. The Arabic text of Aristotle and the marginal notes, taken from Averroes’ Commentary, have been checked against the manuscript with occasional consideration of emendations proposed by Ullmann. The symbols used by the annotator of the text have been described. The marginal notes have been recontextualized and translated into French following comparison with the Greek text of Aristotle. Finally, by comparing Hermann’s Latin version of Averroes’ Commentary – which is currently being made into a scholarly edition – it has been possible to create a brief Latin-Arabic lexicon of the terms used by the translator from Toledo.