In Themistius’ Paraphrase of Aristotle’s Metaphysics 12, Yoav Meyrav offers a new critical edition and study of the Hebrew text and the Arabic fragments of Themistius’ 4th century paraphrase, whose original Greek is lost.
This is the only commentary on Aristotle's theological work, Metaphysics, Book 12, to survive from the first six centuries CE – the heyday of ancient Greek commentary on Aristotle. Though the Greek text itself is lost, a full English translation is presented here for the first time, based on Arabic versions of the Greek and a Hebrew version of the Arabic. In his commentary Themistius offers an extensive re-working of Aristotle, confirming that the first principle of the universe is indeed Aristotle's God as intellect, not the intelligibles thought by God. The identity of intellect with intelligibles had been omitted by Aristotle in Metaphysics 12, but is suggested in his Physics 3.3 and On the Soul 3, and later by Plotinus. Laid out here in an accessible translation and accompanied by extensive commentary notes, introduction and indexes, the work will be of interest for students and scholars of Neoplatonist philosophy, ancient metaphysics, and textual transmission.
Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), scholar, physician, and philosopher, was the most influential Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages. In this magisterial new biography, the work of many years, Herbert Davidson provides an exhaustive guide to Maimonides' life and works. After considering Maimonides' upbringing and education, Davidson expounds all of his voluminous writings in exhaustive detail, with separate chapters on rabbinic, philosophical, and medical texts. This long-awaited volume is destined to become the standard work on this towering figure of Western intellectual history.
The Wars of the Lord is the major treatise of Levi ben Gershom of Provence (1288-1344), one of the most creative and daring minds of the medieval world. The work, an unparalleled achievement of Jewish thought, is devoted to a demonstration that the Torah, properly understood, is identical to true philosophy.
The central debate of natural theology among medieval Muslims and Jews concerned whether or not the world was eternal. Opinions divided sharply on this issue because the outcome bore directly on God's relationship with the world: eternity implies a deity bereft of will, while a world with a beginning leads to the contrasting picture of a deity possessed of will. In this exhaustive study of medieval Islamic and Jewish arguments for eternity, creation, and the existence of God, Herbert Davidson provides a systematic classification of the proofs, analyzes and explains them, and traces their sources in Greek philosophy. Throughout the study, Davidson tries to take into account every argument of a philosophical character, disregarding only those arguments that rest entirely on religious faith or which fall below a minimal level of plausibility.
An analysis of the sources and evolution of the metaphysics of Abu Ali ibn Sina (d. 1037 AD) - known in the West by his Latinized name Avicenna - this book fucuses on the answers Avicenna and his predecessors gave to two fundamental questions: what is the soul and how does it cause the body? and what is God and how does He cause the world? To respond to these challenges Avicenna invented new concepts and distinctions and reinterpreted old ones.
No Aristotelian doctrine had a greater influence on medieval philosophy and theology than that of the agent, or active, intellect. This influence, however, was mediated by a long tradition of exegesis in which the Greek commentaries of later antiquity played a dominant role. The two commentaries presented here were known to have been influential in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The first is a short treatise called the "De intellectu", attributed to Alexander of Aphrodisias; the second a paraphrase of Aristotle's "De anima" (3.4-8) by Themistius, which also includes a major interpretation of "De anima" (3.5), the chapte on the active intellect.
The turning of biblical texts into Latin poetry - biblical paraphrase - was a significant literary activity in late antiquity (third to sixth centuries AD). The most important surviving examples of this form are Juvencus and Sedulius (of the Gospels), Arator (of Acts), "Cyprianus Gallus" (Genesis to Judges), Claudius Marius Victorius (Genesis) and Avitus (parts of Genesis and Exodus). Generally described as biblical epics because they are written in hexameters and imitate pagan epic (especially Virgil), they have also been widely recognized to have drawn for their technique of composition on the rhetorical school exercise of paraphrase. Dr. Roberts analyses in convincing detail how the epic genre interacted with the biblical text through the medium of paraphrase to produce a distinctively Christian literature. He begins by offering the first modern study of paraphrase; two chapters describe its theory and practice, taking into account the standard rhetorical handbooks and recently discovered papyrological evidence. From this perspective, he analyses the types of alterations biblical epic writers made to the biblical text, thereby demonstrating the literary effects they were trying to achieve.
Themistius' treatment of Books 5-8 of Aristotle's Physics shows this commentator's capacity to identify, isolate and discuss the core ideas in Aristotle's account of change, his theory of the continuum, and his doctrine of the unmoved mover. His paraphrase offered his ancient students, as they will now offer his modern readers, an opportunity to encounter central features of Aristotle's physical theory, synthesized and epitomized in a manner that has always marked Aristotelian exegesis but was raised to a new level by the innovative method of paraphrase pioneered by Themistius. Taking selective but telling accounts of the earlier Peripatetic tradition (notably Theophrastus and Alexander of Aphrodisias), this commentator creates a framework that can still be profitably used by Aristotelian scholars today.
The twelve essays in this new collection by John Monfasani examine how, in particular cases, Greek émigrés, Italian humanists, and Latin scholastics reacted with each other in surprising and important ways. After an opening assessment of Greek migration to Renaissance Italy, the essays range from the Averroism of John Argyropoulos and the capacity of Nicholas of Cusa to translate Greek, to Marsilio Ficino's position in the Plato-Aristotle controversy and the absence of Ockhamists in Renaissance Italy. Theodore Gaza receives special attention in his roles as translator, teacher, and philosopher, as does Lorenzo Valla for his philosophy, theology, and historical ideas. Finally, the life and writings of a protégé of Cardinal Bessarion, the Dominican friar Giovanni Gatti, come in for their first extensive study.
"Aristotle's Metaphysics 2 consists of two chapters on methodology flanking an important discussion of the impossibility of infinite causal chains. The subject is vital for scientific method and for theological belief in a first cause and in a beginning of the universe. Philoponus later attacked Aristotle on this last point, but Alexander presents Aristotle's view in a most favourable light. In Metaphysics 3, Aristotle sets out what he sees as the central problems of metaphysics. Alexander's commentary was subsequently used by the Neoplatonists, two of whom have left their own commentaries, so that Alexander's Aristotelian interpretation can be compared with its rivals."--Bloomsbury Publishing
Simplicius, the greatest surviving ancient authority on Aristotle's Physics, lived in the sixth century A.D. He produced detailed commentaries on several of Aristotle's works. Those on the Physics, which alone come to over 1,300 pages in the original Greek, preserve a centuries-old tradition of ancient scholarship on Aristotle. In Physics Book 5 Aristotle lays down some of the principles of his dynamics and theory of change. What does not count as a change: change of relation? the flux of time? There is no change of change, yet acceleration is recognised. Aristotle defines 'continuous', 'contact', and 'next', and uses these definitions in discussing when we can claim that the same change or event is still going on. This volume is complemented by David Konstan's translation of Simplicius' commentary on Physics Book 6, which has already appeared in this series. It is Book 6 that gives spatial application to the terms defined in Book 5, and uses them to mount a celebrated attack on atomism. Simplicius' commentaries enrich our understanding of the Physics and of its interpretation in the ancient world.