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This chapter examines the eleventh-century Arabic translation of Basil of Caesarea’s Homilies on the Hexaemeron by the translator and theologian ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl of Antioch. It begins by surveying other late antique and medieval translations of Basil’s Hexaemeron, then lists all manuscripts known to me which are reported to contain an Arabic version of the Hexaemeron and describes those which the author has been able to consult. Next, it establishes textual relationships between Ibn al-Faḍl’s and another, anonymous Arabic translation and shows that a third Arabic translation, made from a Coptic original, is unrelated to the other two Arabic translations. It closes with an analysis of the opening passage of Basil’s Hexaemeron in the two interrelated Arabic translations and assessment of Ibn al-Faḍl’s method and translation style.

In: Patristic Literature in Arabic Translations


This article examines an Arabic mathematical manuscript at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library (or. 45), focusing on a previously unpublished set of texts: the treatise on the mathematical method known as Double False Position, as supplemented by Jābir ibn Ibrāhīm al-Ṣābī (tenth century?), and the commentaries by Aḥmad ibn al-Sarī (d. 548/1153–4) and Saʿd al-Dīn Asʿad ibn Saʿīd al-Hamadhānī (12th/13th century?), the latter previously unnoticed. The article sketches the contents of the manuscript, then offers an editio princeps, translation, and analysis of the treatise. It then considers how the Swiss historian of mathematics Heinrich Suter (1848–1922) read Jābir’s treatise (as contained in a different manuscript) before concluding with my own proposal for how to go about reading this mathematical text: as a witness of multiple stages of a complex textual tradition of teaching, extending, and rethinking mathematics—that is, we should read it philologically.

In: Philological Encounters