The Letter before the Spirit: The Importance of Text Editions for the Study of the Reception of Aristotle


The Letter before the Spirit contains original articles based on the papers given at the Huygens ING (The Hague, 2009) on the importance of text editions for the study of the transmission of Aristotle’s works in the Semitico-Latin translations and their commentary tradition in the medieval world. Authors underline this importance in general overviews and theoretical outlines and present their own work on various text editions, ranging from Syriac and Arabic to Hebrew and (Graeco) Latin, and from Aristotle, Avicenna and Averroes to Plotinus, Michael Scot, William of Moerbeke, Judah ha-Kohen, Barhebraeus and Albertus Magnus. Editors are further encouraged to cross boundaries between disciplines and study the translation tradition of Aristotle’s works in its entirety.
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Biographical Note

Aafke van Oppenraay, Ph.D. (1988), is a researcher at Huygens ING in The Hague. She is the editor of Michael Scot’s Arabic-Latin translation of Aristotle’s De animalibus and the author of several related articles.

Resianne Fontaine, Ph.D. (1986), is Lecturer in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Her research is on medieval Jewish philosophy and the history of science in medieval Judaism. She has edited Ibn Tibbon’s Hebrew version of Aristotle’s Meteorology.

Contributions by: Dimitri Gutas, Cristina D'Ancona, Hans Daiber, Charles Burnett, Hidemi Takahashi, Jens Schmitt, Alexander Fidora, Yossef Schwartz, Steven Harvey, Resianne Fontaine, Heidrun Eichner, Richard Taylor, Amos Bertolacci, Jules Janssens, Aafke van Oppenraay, Silvia Donati, Valérie Cordonier, Carlos Steel, George Kiraz, Paul Tombeur.

Review Quote

"...a useful volume for scholars of many different fields."
Cecilica Martini Bonadeo in Studia graeco-arabica 3 (2013), 254-259.

"...the contributors demonstrate the importance of text-editing in medieval studies, focusing especially on the editing of medieval translations of Aristotle not only into Latin but also into Syriac, Arabic and Hebrew."
Pieter De Leemans in Bulletin de Philosophie Médievale 54 (2012), 10.


Historians of ancient and medieval Western and Islamic philosophy, historians of Aristotelian philosophy and its Semitico-Latin transmission, scholars of intellectual history, editors of scholarly editions.


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