The Only Extant, Complete, and Original Hebrew Commentary on the Entire Metaphysics of Aristotle: Eli Habilio and the Influence of Scotism

In: Vivarium
Author: Yehuda Halper1
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  • 1 Bar Ilan University

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At the end of the fifteenth century, the Castilian-Aragonian Eli Habilio wrote what is now the only extant, complete, and original Hebrew commentary on the entire Metaphysics of Aristotle. This commentary is short, about 15 folio pages long, and consists almost entirely of quotations from Averroes’ Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics in the early fourteenth-century translation of Qalonimos ben Qalonimos. Yet Habilio elsewhere expresses only disdain for Averroes and hopes that Jews will turn away from Averroes to read Scotus’ metaphysical works instead. The author’s claim is that Habilio’s Commentary is intended to supplement his translation of Antonius Andreas’ questions on the Metaphysics and provide a Hebrew summary of the most read Hebrew version of the Metaphysics (viz., Averroes’ Middle Commentary) that would choose its words in such a way as not to contradict Scotus and in some cases even to encourage its readers to seek out a Scotist approach.

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