Indirect sources of the text of Avicenna's Shifā' include the medieval Latin translations, parallel passages in other works by Avicenna, lemmata in subsequent Shifā' commentaries, and verbatim quotations in later authors' works. Future editors of the Shifā' can consult these indirect sources in order to uncover and resolve major textual discrepancies. The present article reviews one such textual discrepancy in light of a sample of direct and indirect witnesses to the tradition of the Shifā'. Some tentative conclusions are drawn about the use of different types of indirect sources, and about the relative priority of each type.
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”.
*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.
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.
This article examines the earliest surviving commentary on Avicenna’s Kitāb al-Shifāʾ: ʿAllāmah al-Ḥillī’s (d. 726/1325) Kitāb Kashf al-khifāʾ min Kitāb al-Shifāʾ, composed when Ḥillī was working with the Īlkhānid vizier Rashīd al-Dīn al-Hamadānī (d. 718/1318). Only part of this work—covering the initial chapters from the Maqūlāt (Categories) of the Manṭiq (Logic) section of the Shifāʾ—is extant. After describing the manuscript (Chester Beatty Ar. 5151), the article situates the Kashf al-khifāʾ within the history of kalām appropriations of Avicenna’s metaphysics. Ḥillī’s commentary contains evidence of a tug-of-war between Sunni and Shiite mutakallimūn over proprietorship of the Avicennian legacy.