Why Translate Science?

Documents from Antiquity to the 16th Century in the Historical West (Bactria to the Atlantic)

Series: 

Editor: Dimitri Gutas
From antiquity to the 16th century, translation united culturally the peoples in the historical West (from Bactria to the shores of the Atlantic) and fueled the production and circulation of knowledge. The Hellenic scientific and philosophical curriculum was translated from and into, to mention the most prevalent languages, Greek, Syriac, Middle Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin.
To fill a lack in existing scholarship, this volume collects the documents that present the insider evidence provided in contemporary accounts of the motivations and purposes of translation given in the personal statements by the agents in this process, the translators, scholars, and historians of each society. Presented in the original languages with an English translation and introductory essays, these documents offer material for the study of the historical contextualization of the translations, the social history of science and philosophy in their interplay with traditional beliefs, and the cultural policies and ideological underpinnings of these societies.

Contributors
Michael Angold, Pieter Beullens, Charles Burnett, David Cohen, Gad Freudenthal, Dag Nikolaus Hasse, Anthony Kaldellis, Daniel King, Felix Mundt, Ignacio Sánchez, Isabel Toral, Uwe Vagelpohl, and Mohsen Zakeri.

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Dimitri Gutas, PhD. (1974), Yale University, is Professor Emeritus of Arabic at Yale. He has published on the medieval Graeco-Arabic translation movement, the transmission of Greek philosophical texts into Arabic (most recently Aristotle’s Poetics, Brill, 2012), and Arabic philosophy (most recently, Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition, 2nd ed., Brill, 2014).

Charles Burnett, PhD. (1976), Cambridge University, is Professor of the History of Arabic/Islamic Influences in Europe at the Warburg Institute, University of London. His research centres on the transmission of texts from the Arab world to the West in the Middle Ages.

Uwe Vagelpohl, PhD. (2003), Cambridge University, is a research fellow at the Warburg Institute, University of London. His research centers on the reception of antique learning in the medieval Islamic world.

Contributors
Michael Angold, Pieter Beullens, Charles Burnett, David Cohen, Gad Freudenthal, Dag Nikolaus Hasse, Anthony Kaldellis, Daniel King, Felix Mundt, Ignacio Sánchez, Isabel Toral, Uwe Vagelpohl, and Mohsen Zakeri.
Notes on Contributors

Introduction
Dimitri Gutas

Latin Translations of Greek Science and Philosophy: Some Relevant Passages
Felix Mundt and David Cohen

Translations from Greek into Middle Persian as Repatriated Knowledge
Mohsen Zakeri

Why the Syrians Translated Greek Philosophy and Science
Daniel King

Why Do We Translate? Arabic Sources on Translation
Uwe Vagelpohl and Ignacio Sánchez

The Nabatean Agriculture by Ibn Waḥshiyya, a Pseudo-Translation by a Pseudo-Translator: The Topos of Translation in the Occult Sciences
Isabel Toral

Translations into Greek in the Byzantine Period
Anthony Kaldellis

The Statements of Medieval Latin Translators on Why and How They Translate Works on Science and Philosophy from Arabic
Charles Burnett

Latin Translators from Greek in the Twelfth Century on Why and How They Translate
Michael Angold and Charles Burnett

Why did Latin Translators Translate from the Greek in the Thirteenth Century and Later?
Pieter Beullens

Why Translate? Views From Within: Egodocuments by Translators from Arabic and Latin into Hebrew (Twelfth–Fourteenth Centuries)
Gad Freudenthal

Renaissance Scholars on Why They Translate Scientific and Philosophical Works from Arabic into Latin
Dag Nikolaus Hasse

Index
All interested in the history and social history of science and philosophy in Greek, Syriac, Middle Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin, the historical contextualization of the translations, and the cultural policies and ideological underpinnings of pre-modern societies.