Averroes' Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Poetics

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Continuum International Publishing Group, Limited, Mar 1, 2000 - Philosophy - 161 pages
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This volume contains a translation into English of Averroes's Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Poetics, an introduction to the translation in which the arguments of both Averroes and Aristotle are sketch out and their differences from Plato and other important thinkers explored, an outline analysis of the order of Averroes's commentary, annotations to the text, a bibliography, and a glossary of important terms with their English translations.

Heretofore, non-Arabic readers have had to depend upon Hermannus Alemannus's Latin translation of Averroes's Middle Commentary or on its English version. Both are inadequate. They incorrectly render Averroes's various arguments and make his beautiful poetic citations read like doggerel. Moreover, they provide inaccurate and incomplete information about the sources of those citations and consequently portray Averroes's text as a curious compilation of relics from some exotic but not very learned horde.

The present translation is based on a sound, critical Arabic edition prepared by the translator. Not only is it the first English translation from the Arabic original, but also the first translation of the Arabic text into any language other than medieval Hebrew or Latin. The translation is literal and eloquent, albeit more literal when eloquent when sense demands such a sacrifice. Throughout the commentary, the same English word is used for the same Arabic word unless an exception is noted. The renditions of the poetic citations are somewhat freer without reaching to unwarranted innovations.

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About the author (2000)

Averroes is the name in the West of Abu al-Walid Muhammed ibn-Ahmad ibn-Rushd al-Qurtubi, an influential Muslim thinker who integrated Islamic tradition with Greek philosophy. Born in Cordoba, Spain, and educated in Muslim religious, medical, and philosophical studies, he became the chief judge of Cordoba and later personal physician to two caliphs. He wrote a series of summaries and commentaries on Aristotle, Plato's Republic, as well as attacks on Avicenna's view of existence. Western Christian philosophers drew inspiration from his interpretation of Aristotle, especially his assertion that reason and philosophy are superior to faith and knowledge founded on faith. Averroes died in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Butterworth is Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, College Park.

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