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Wisnovsky, Robert

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Robert Wisnovsky

The library of the Madrasa-yi Marwī in Tehran possesses a codex, Marwī 19, that at first glance appears to be an unremarkable 11th/17th-century Iranian anthology of classical Arabic philosophical works. On closer inspection, however, the codex is seen to include 25 Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī treatises that scholars thought were lost. This article describes the manuscript and lists its contents.

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Robert Wisnovsky

Avicenna’s Ishārāt was his most commented-upon work, and served as the main vehicle of his philosophy to post-Avicennian Muslim scholars. The earliest commentaries on the Ishārāt, dating from the 6th/12th and 7th/13th centuries, exhibited a wide range of exegetical practices, from the philological-historical to the philosophical-analytical. Many of these exegetical practices can also be found in the late-antique Greek commentaries on Aristotle’s works. In their effort to determine the proper role of a philosophical commentator, the early interpreters of the Ishārāt chose from among these exegetical practices. Their choices reflected the different ways they construed Avicennian taḥqīq, or “verification”.

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Robert Wisnovsky

*Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī described Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s Sharḥ on Avicenna’s Ishārāt as a jarḥ (“calumny”, or literally, “injury”) rather than a sharḥ (“commentary”), and this label would become almost proverbial in later discussions of Rāzī’s role in the history of Avicennism. A survey of the introductions to Ishārāt-commentaries composed during the 6th/12th to the 8th/14th centuries, many of them still available only as manuscripts, helps us put Ṭūsī’s remark in historical perspective, and contributes to recent attempts to reevaluate Rāzī’s role in propelling the Avicennian tradition forward.