A particular scholarly experience prompted the earliest Latin translators of Avicenna, the Jewish scholar Abraham ibn Daud and the Christian Dominicus Gundissalinus, to choose Avicenna’s philosophical encyclopedia Book of the Cure/Healing and translate only some parts of it, with noticeable modifications. By privileging this summa among the other works of Avicenna available in Andalusia at the time, Ibn Daud and Gundissalinus opted for Avicenna’s most “Aristotelian” writing. Moreover, by focusing on natural philosophy and metaphysics—with reduced attention to logic and a complete neglect of mathematics—they reoriented the doctrinal purport of the work. Finally, by labeling the final part on metaphysics as “first philosophy” and abridging its last two, “Islamic,” chapters, they applied a non-confessional approach. In all these respects, the translators acted as movie directors do when they select a screenplay, cut and splice the scenes, and end the movie with a close-up and dissolve. Similarly, Ibn Daud and Gundissalinus conveyed to their Latin readers a narrative of philosophical “reality” (Avicenna and his oeuvre) that was sensibly different from their Arabic source.

The Translator's Cut. Cultural Experience and Philosophical Narration in the Early Latin Translations of Avicenna

Bertolacci, Amos
2022

Abstract

A particular scholarly experience prompted the earliest Latin translators of Avicenna, the Jewish scholar Abraham ibn Daud and the Christian Dominicus Gundissalinus, to choose Avicenna’s philosophical encyclopedia Book of the Cure/Healing and translate only some parts of it, with noticeable modifications. By privileging this summa among the other works of Avicenna available in Andalusia at the time, Ibn Daud and Gundissalinus opted for Avicenna’s most “Aristotelian” writing. Moreover, by focusing on natural philosophy and metaphysics—with reduced attention to logic and a complete neglect of mathematics—they reoriented the doctrinal purport of the work. Finally, by labeling the final part on metaphysics as “first philosophy” and abridging its last two, “Islamic,” chapters, they applied a non-confessional approach. In all these respects, the translators acted as movie directors do when they select a screenplay, cut and splice the scenes, and end the movie with a close-up and dissolve. Similarly, Ibn Daud and Gundissalinus conveyed to their Latin readers a narrative of philosophical “reality” (Avicenna and his oeuvre) that was sensibly different from their Arabic source.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11771/21218
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