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Author: Taro Mimura

Paris Bibliothèque nationale de France MS Arabe 6734 contains a bilingual Syriac-Arabic text of the Hippocratic Aphorisms. Whereas the Arabic lemmata are clearly taken from Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq’s translation of Galen’s Commentary on the Hippocratic Aphorisms, the Syriac translator has not been identified conclusively. In the Syriac translation, there is a long note on lemma iv. 47 in which the annotator refutes Galen’s interpretation of this lemma. In his Arabic translation of Galen’s Commentary on the Hippocratic Aphorisms, Ḥunayn also notes Galen’s misinterpretation of this lemma. In this article, I present the Syriac note, along with an analysis of Galen’s comment on lemma iv. 47 to show an inconsistency of Galen’s interpretation of this aphorism. I then present Ḥunayn’s note on this lemma for the first time, and illustrate how he edited the Arabic translation.

In: Aramaic Studies
Author: Taro Mimura

The manuscript Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds arabe 6734 contains a Syriac translation of the Hippocratic Aphorisms. This text remains one of the few examples of an entire Greek medical work translated into Syriac. The copyist however did not include information about the Syriac translator, which has left his identity open to speculation. Since this bilingual manuscript contains both the Syriac translation of the Aphorisms as well as the lemmata from Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq’s Arabic translation of Galen’s commentary on the Aphorisms, it is generally accepted that Ḥunayn is also the Syriac translator. Although the Arabic translation is the key to identifying the Syriac translator, no one has yet attempted to situate the Arabic text within the tradition of Ḥunayn’s Arabic version of the Aphorisms in order to better understand the work of the copyist. This article will analyse the copyist’s editorial process when working with these Arabic lemmata. In doing so, the relationship between the Syriac and the Arabic translations will be explored, providing new insight into the identity of the Syriac translator.

In: Oriens
Author: Taro Mimura

Abstract

In the medieval Islamic world, many scholars engaged in astronomy composed books on astrolabe, especially treatises on how to operate it (called “Treatises on the Operation of the Astrolabe”) such as Book of the Astrolabe (Kitāb al‐Asṭurlāb) by Kūshyār ibn Labbān (fl. second half of the tenth century CE); however, most of them had similar contents. One might ask why these scholars sought to write their own treatises of this kind, even though they differed little from existing works on the subject? To answer this question, I compare Kūshyār’s Book of the Astrolabe (Kitāb al‐Asṭurlāb) and Athīr al‐Dīn al‐Abharī’s (d. 1262 or 1265) Treatise on Knowing the Astrolabe (Risāla fī maʿrifat al-Asṭurlāb), which was written under the strong influence of Kūshyār’s Book: a comparison between them reveals that they presupposed the use of their own astrolabes. This analysis shows that many Arabic treatises on the operation of the astrolabe had their novelty at least guaranteed by the uniqueness of a specific astrolabe presupposed by each author.

In: Astrolabes in Medieval Cultures
Author: Taro Mimura

Abstract

In the medieval Islamic world, many scholars engaged in astronomy composed books on astrolabe, especially treatises on how to operate it (called “Treatises on the Operation of the Astrolabe”) such as Book of the Astrolabe (Kitāb al‐Asṭurlāb) by Kūshyār ibn Labbān (fl. second half of the tenth century CE); however, most of them had similar contents. One might ask why these scholars sought to write their own treatises of this kind, even though they differed little from existing works on the subject? To answer this question, I compare Kūshyār’s Book of the Astrolabe (Kitāb al‐Asṭurlāb) and Athīr al‐Dīn al‐Abharī’s (d. 1262 or 1265) Treatise on Knowing the Astrolabe (Risāla fī maʿrifat al-Asṭurlāb), which was written under the strong influence of Kūshyār’s Book: a comparison between them reveals that they presupposed the use of their own astrolabes. This analysis shows that many Arabic treatises on the operation of the astrolabe had their novelty at least guaranteed by the uniqueness of a specific astrolabe presupposed by each author.

In: Astrolabes in Medieval Cultures

This article surveys selected Arabic commentaries on the Hippocratic Aphorisms, Book Six, aphorism 11, documenting a five century-long debate on the disease known as phrenitis. We show how this debate springs from a variant transmission of the Hippocratic lemma. The variant reading, which appears in Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq’s (d. 873) Arabic translation of the Aphorisms and of Galen’s (d. ca. 216) commentary on this text, clashed with Galenic theories on phrenitis. Arabic commentators formulated different theories in order to explain the problematic lemma, engaging with each other and refuting or embracing the views of earlier authors. We follow the evolution of this compelling debate on mental health and the body, paying special attention to the emergence of new ideas on phrenitis and its aetiology. We also formulate a hypothesis about the source of another variant reading of the lemma, as it appears in the commentary by Ibn Abī Ṣādiq (d. after 1068). We underscore how Arabic commentators progressively shifted their focus from the distinct aetiologies of melancholy and phrenitis to the symptoms in the affected part. We conclude that this shift in hermeneutic focus reflected an increased interest in understanding the two pathologies as mental illnesses sharing important characteristics. Finally, our article shows how medical commentaries were, for various and at times surprising reasons, venues for the re-elaboration of medical theories, as well as venues for polemic and self-promotion.

In: Oriens
Author: Taro Mimura

Abstract

In the medieval Islamic world, many scholars engaged in astronomy composed books on astrolabe, especially treatises on how to operate it (called “Treatises on the Operation of the Astrolabe”) such as Book of the Astrolabe (Kitāb al‐Asṭurlāb) by Kūshyār ibn Labbān (fl. second half of the tenth century ce); however, most of them had similar contents. One might ask why these scholars sought to write their own treatises of this kind, even though they differed little from existing works on the subject? To answer this question, I compare Kūshyār’s Book of the Astrolabe (Kitāb al‐Asṭurlāb) and Athīr al‐Dīn al‐Abharī’s (d. 1262 or 1265) Treatise on Knowing the Astrolabe (Risāla fī maʿrifat al-Asṭurlāb), which was written under the strong influence of Kūshyār’s Book: a comparison between them reveals that they presupposed the use of their own astrolabes. This analysis shows that many Arabic treatises on the operation of the astrolabe had their novelty at least guaranteed by the uniqueness of a specific astrolabe presupposed by each author.

In: Medieval Encounters

This article reassesses the attribution of the Aphorisms commentary preserved in the Haddad Memorial Library (MS Ḥaddād) to Palladius. Where the evidence for the commentary in Greek sources is virtually non-existent, Arabic testimonia are more numerous. We discuss Arabic fragments in Muḥammad ibn Zakarīyā al-Rāzī’s Comprehensive Book (al-Kitāb al-Ḥāwī) and Arabic commentaries on the Hippocratic Aphorisms. These fragments demonstrate that Palladius wrote a commentary on the Aphorisms. Analysis of MS Ḥaddād, however, reveals that the commentary it preserves cannot be a translation of Palladius’ Greek text. Philological evidence occasions the conclusion that MS Ḥaddād contains an anonymous Arabic Aphorisms commentary written in the early ʿAbbāsid period. We discuss two Hebrew manuscripts that purport to be translations of Palladius’ commentary. Although more work on the Hebrew Palladius is needed, it is clear that the Hebrew commentaries are different translations of the anonymous Aphorisms commentary in MS Ḥaddād.

In: Intellectual History of the Islamicate World