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Author: 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.
Author: Uwe Vagelpohl

Abstract

The reception history of Aristotle’s Prior Analytics in the Islamic world began even before its ninth-century translation into Arabic. Three generations earlier, Arabic authors already absorbed echoes of the varied and extensive logical teaching tradition of Greek- and Syriac-speaking religious communities in the new Islamic state. Once translated into Arabic, the Prior Analytics inspired a rich tradition of logical studies, culminating in the creation of an independent Islamic logical tradition by Ibn Sina (d. 1037), Ibn Rušd (d. 1098) and others. This article traces the translation and commentary tradition of the Prior Analytics in Syriac and Arabic in the sixth to ninth centuries and sketches its appropriation, revision and, ultimately, transformation by Islamic philosophers between the ninth and eleventh centuries.

In: Vivarium
Author: Uwe Vagelpohl

The third/ninth-century translator Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq and his associates produced more than a hundred mostly medical translations from Greek into Syriac and then into Arabic. We know little about the chronology of these translations, except for a few scattered remarks in Ḥunayn’s Risāla (Epistle). This article attempts to reconstruct the chronology based on Hippocratic quotations in the Arabic translation of Galen’s works. Hippocratic writings were usually not translated independently but embedded in Galen’s commentaries, so a comparison between this “embedded” Hippocrates and quotations from the same Hippocratic text elsewhere in the Arabic Galen might reveal chronological relationships. The findings of this collation are thought-provoking, but they need to be weighed against the uncertainties surrounding translation methods and potential interference by well-meaning later scholars and scribes.

In: Journal of Abbasid Studies
Author: Uwe Vagelpohl

Abstract

The translations produced in the course of the Greek-Arabic translation movement of the ninth to eleventh century amply document the struggles of generations of mostly Christian translators to render an extraordinarily wide range of Greek and Syriac source texts into Arabic. When dealing with material that relied on unavailable cultural background knowledge or was, for a variety of reasons, unacceptable to the translator or his audience, translational technique alone was of little help. With a variety of examples, this paper seeks to illustrate how the translator of Aristotle’s Rhetoric dealt with such situations, how his solutions influenced the reception and commentary tradition of this work and explores the implications for an understanding of translation beyond catchwords such as “literal,” “free” and “mistranslation.”

In: Oriens
In: Aristotle's Rhetoric in the East
In: Aristotle's Rhetoric in the East
In: Aristotle's Rhetoric in the East