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Following Thiele, Matthes attributed the doctrine of ἀσύστατα (‘unresolvable questions’) to Hermagoras of Temnos (2nd century BCE). Precise analysis and evaluation of the four pertinent testimonies that Matthes assigns to Hermagoras in his edition shed doubt on that attribution. Based on a new argument I propose that only two of these four testimonies should be retained in a forthcoming edition of the fragments of Hermagoras. I also argue that the doctrine of ἀσύστατα is most likely later than the second century BCE. Either that doctrine should be assigned to the younger Hermagoras (2nd century CE), whose theories reached later Latin rhetoricians by a route that is no longer traceable, or the ἀσύστατα doctrine was assigned to a rhetorician of the name Hermagoras by a false supposition or simple error of the common source of the two retained testimonies.

In: Mnemosyne
The present volume brings together thirteen articles as so many chapters of a book, devoted to the history, methods, and practices of the commentaries that have been written on Aristotle’s Rhetoric. Examining both the linguistic and factual background, these contributions attempt to insert each of the commentaries into its particular historical, political, social, philosophical, and pedagogical context.
The historical periods and geographical areas that arise – from Greco-Roman antiquity to Heidegger’s philosophy, from the Syriac and Arabic traditions to the Western world – make it possible, in sum, not only to indicate how the Rhetoric has been read and interpreted, but also to offer general perspectives on the practice of explicating ancient texts.

Le présent volume rassemble treize articles envisagés comme autant de chapitres d’un livre et dédiés à l’histoire, à la méthode et à la pratique des commentaires à la Rhétorique d’Aristote. Mêlant l’approche matérielle et linguistique, ces contributions se proposent de réinscrire chacun des commentaires dans son contexte historique, politique, social, culturel, philosophique, et pédagogique particulier.
Les périodes et les aires géographiques considérées ici—de l’Antiquité gréco-romaine jusqu’à la philosophie de Heidegger, des traditions syriaque et arabe au monde occidental—permettent, in fine, non seulement de suggérer des pistes de lecture pour la Rhétorique et l’histoire des interprétations de la Rhétorique, mais aussi de dessiner des perspectives plus générales sur la pratique du commentaire.

When the MS BnF Lat. 16097 was discovered in the middle of the nineteenth century, the identity of the text contained therein, known as Didascalia and preserved only in this MS, was the subject of considerable debate. However, today it is recognized that the Didascalia constitute the prologue (in its Latin version) of al-Fārābī’s Great Commentary on Aristotle’s Rhetoric, which itself is otherwise lost. The current contribution is based on a new edition of the text – following the editio princeps of M. Grignaschi in 1971 – by Maroun Aouad and Frédérique Woerther, to appear in the near future with, for the first time, a French translation and commentary. This contribution considers the basis for the identification of the text, and, by examining the content of the Didascalia, pays particular attention to the nature of al-Fārābī’s activity as commentator : 1) al-Fārābī worked with the old and error-filled Arabic translation of Aristotle’s Rhetoric, which is still available today (ed. Malcolm C. Lyons). Al-Fārābī attempted to explain Aristotle’s thought by clarifying the difficulties of the Arabic translation, which sometimes led him to distort Aristotle’s original doctrines ; 2) Following his predecessors and the principle figures of the Alexandrian tradition, al-Fārābī integrated the Rhetoric into the enlarged version of the Organon, which is particular to the oriental tradition ; and he followed the Alexandrian habit of composing prologues, which he adapted to his particular needs ; 3) It is worth noting how al-Fārābī, as a philosopher of the Arabic language, was compelled to adjust Aristotle’s rhetorical doctrines not only to his own epoch and society, which was imbued with Islam, but also to his political philosophy as that was put forward in his treatise on The Attainment of Happiness.

In: Commenting on Aristotle’s Rhetoric, from Antiquity to the Present / Commenter la Rhétorique d’Aristote, de l’Antiquité à la période contemporaine