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Uwe Vagelpohl

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Aristotle's Rhetoric in the East

The Syriac and Arabic translation and commentary tradition


Uwe Vagelpohl

The two centuries following the rise of the Abbasid caliphate in 750 witnessed a wave of translations from Greek into Syriac and Arabic. The translation and reception of Aristotle's Rhetoric is a prime example for the resulting transformation of antique learning in the Islamic world and beyond. On the basis of a close textual analysis of the Rhetoric, this study develops elements of a comparative “translation grammar” of Greek-Arabic translations. Contextualizing the analysis with an account of the textual history and the Syriac and Arabic philosophical tradition drawing on the Rhetoric, it throws new light on the inner workings of the “translation movement” and its impact on Islamic culture.