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Aristotle's De Animalibus was an important source of zoological knowledge for the ancient Greeks and for medieval Arabs and Europeans. In the thirteenth century, the work was twice translated into Latin. One translation was produced directly from the Greek by William of Moerbeke. An earlier translation, made available as a critical edition in the present volume for the first time, was produced through an intermediary Arabic translation (Kitāb al-Ḥayawān) by Michael Scot (1175 - c. 1232). Scot's translation was one of the main sources of knowledge on animals in Europe and widely used until well into the fifteenth century. As a faithful translation of a translation produced by a Syriac-speaking Christian, the text contributes to our knowledge of Middle Arabic. The De Animalibus is composed of three sections: History of Animals (ten books), Parts of Animals (four books) and Generation of Animals (five books). Parts of Animals and Generation of Animals were published by BRILL as Volumes 5.2 and 5.3 of the book series ASL in 1998 (ASL 5.2) and 1992 (ASL 5.3). The present Volume 5.1.a contains the first section of Scot's translation of History of Animals: the general introduction and books 1-3, with Notes. Editions of the two concluding parts of History of Animals, ASL 5.1.b, books 4-6 and ASL 5.1.c, books 7-10, are in preparation. Complete Latin-Arabic and Arabic-Latin indices of History of Animals will be published in due course.

Abstract

A considerable number of the thirteenth and early fourteenth-century manuscripts of Michael Scot's Arabic-Latin translation of Aristotle's De animalibus (ca. 1215) display a system of guiding marginal glosses. These glosses are usually added by a later hand with respect to the hand that had written the text. The manuscripts were not only annotated for personal use, but also so as to allow for a better use in compiling commentaries, encyclopaedias and compendia. We can say that the marginalia form the main, if not only, key to our understanding today of the use that readers made of the text. Apart from offering a mere explanation of the contents, we can see that their interest in the text was chiefly related to biblical exegesis and to scientific and medical knowledge. The approach to the text was often allegorical and moralizing in character. Some remarks reflect the reader's own experience and associations in relation to the text.

In: Early Science and Medicine
In: The Letter before the Spirit: The Importance of Text Editions for the Study of the Reception of Aristotle
In: The Letter before the Spirit: The Importance of Text Editions for the Study of the Reception of Aristotle
In: The Letter before the Spirit: The Importance of Text Editions for the Study of the Reception of Aristotle
In: The Letter before the Spirit: The Importance of Text Editions for the Study of the Reception of Aristotle
In: The Letter before the Spirit: The Importance of Text Editions for the Study of the Reception of Aristotle
In: The Letter before the Spirit: The Importance of Text Editions for the Study of the Reception of Aristotle
The Letter before the Spirit contains original articles based on the papers given at the Huygens ING (The Hague, 2009) on the importance of text editions for the study of the transmission of Aristotle’s works in the Semitico-Latin translations and their commentary tradition in the medieval world. Authors underline this importance in general overviews and theoretical outlines and present their own work on various text editions, ranging from Syriac and Arabic to Hebrew and (Graeco) Latin, and from Aristotle, Avicenna and Averroes to Plotinus, Michael Scot, William of Moerbeke, Judah ha-Kohen, Barhebraeus and Albertus Magnus. Editors are further encouraged to cross boundaries between disciplines and study the translation tradition of Aristotle’s works in its entirety.