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Averroes' Use of Examples in his Middle Commentary on the Prior Analytics, and Some Remarks on his Role as Commentator

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 October 2008

Steven Harvey
Bar-Ilan University, Department of Philosophy, Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel


Averroes wrote three kinds of commentaries on the books of Aristotle - epitomes, middle commentaries, and long commentaries - and each kind had its own purposes. His aims may have also differed from text to text. That is, it seems reasonable to assume that he would stick closer to Aristotle in the logical works than, for example, in the metaphysical works. The present study investigates what may be called the “theological aspects” of Averroes' commentaries, and explores the commentary of Averroes that appears least likely to contain such elements, the Middle Commentary on the Prior Analytics. The Prior Analytics is perhaps the most straightforward, even pedantic, of all of Aristotle's writings, and of Averroes' three kinds of commentaries, it is the middle commentaries which are least likely to diverge or digress from the text of Aristotle. The only trace of a religious hand in the commentary is Averroes' use of examples, and, in particular, examples that conclude that “the world is created” and the like. It is argued that Averroes chose these examples to show the traditionalist reading public the falsity of the theologians claims against the logic of the philosophers. The Appendix to the article shows that medieval commentators on Averroes' commentaries were also struck by his “creation of the world” examples.

Averroès a écrit trois genres de commentaires sur les livres d'Aristote - épitomés, commentaires moyens et grands commentaires - et dans chaque genre il poursuivait un dessein différent. Ses buts ont pu aussi différer d'un texte à un autre. Ainsi, il semble raisonnable de supposer qu'il se rapproche plus d'Aristote dans les œuvres logiques que, par exemple, dans les œuvres métaphysiques. Cette étude se propose d'examiner ce que l'on peut appeler les “aspects théologiques” des commentaires d'Averroès, et d'explorer le commentaire qui semble le moins probablement contenir de tels éléments, à savoir le Commentaire moyen aux Premiers Analytiques. Les Premiers Analytiques sont peut-être le plus technique, voire le plus pédant, de tous les 'Aristote, et des trois genres de commentaires d'Averroès, ce sont les commentaires moyens qui semblent diverger le moins des textes d'Aristote ou s'en écarter. La seule trace de préoccupation religieuse dans le commentaire d'Averroès est constitué par le type d'exemples qu'Averroès met enœuvre et, en particulier, ceux qui sont relatifs à la création du monde. On suggère qu'Averroes a choisi ces exemples pour montrer aux lecteurs traditionalistes la fausseté des arguments des théologiens contre la logique des philosophes. L'Appendice à l'article montre que les commentateurs médievaux des commentaires d'Averroes ont été, aussi, frappés par ses exemplesé relatifs à la création du monde.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1997

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1 Alfarabi, , Kitāb al-alfāz al-musta 'mala fi al-mantiq, ed. Mahdi, Muhsin (Beirut, 1968), p. 94, sec. 51. The items on the list of things that ought to be known on opening every book vary. The list of eight things here is taken from Alfarabi's Kitāb al-alfāz, where they are also explained (see further, pp. 104–11, secs. 58–65). Averroes provides a similar list at the beginning of the Prooemium to his Long Commentary on the Physics,Google ScholarHebrew, ed. and trans. Harvey, Steven, “The Hebrew translation of Averroes' Prooemium to his Long Commentary on Aristotle's Physics,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, 52 (1985): 5584, on p. 65 (trans., p. 72). For further references to accounts of these things in the writings of Alfarabi and Averroes,Google Scholar see ibid., p. 72, n. 4, and Berman, Lawrence V., “Ibn Rushd's Middle Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics in medieval Hebrew literature,” in Multiple Averroès (Paris, 1978), pp. 287321, on p. 299, nn. 3–4.Google ScholarBoth Alfarabi (Kitāb al-alfāz, p. 104, sec. 59; cf. p. 94, sec. 51) and Averroes (Prooemium, p. 65 [trans., p. 71]) refer to the ‘custom’ of the commentators of opening their books in this way. See similarly the reference to Abū al-Farag 'Abdullāh ibn al-Tayyib (d. 1043) in “The Hebrew translation of Averroes' Prooemium,” p. 72, n. 4. On the custom of the early Greek commentators to begin their commentaries in this fashion, seeGoogle ScholarQuain, Edwin A., “The medieval Accessus ad auctores,” Traditio, 3 (1945): 215–64, esp. pp. 247–52. The term I translate loosely here as ‘subject matter’ is ‘nisba’ (Hebrew: yahas), that is, ‘relation’. Alfarabi explains that what is intended by the ‘relation’ of the book is “making known from which art the book is” (Kitāb al-alfāz, p. 95; cf. pp. 107–8), that is, “the art to which it is related” (Introduction to the Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics, Hebrew ed. and trans. Berman, “Ibn Rushd's Middle Commentary,” p. 303 [trans., p. 306]).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

2 For example, many of the later medieval Jewish philosophers who did not read Arabic. See Wolfson, Harry A., Crescas' Critique of Aristotle (Cambridge, Mass., 1929), pp. 79. With the exception of the translations of Aristotle's De generatione et corruptione, Meteorologica, De anima, and Nicomachean Ethics, Hebrew readers had to turn to translations of Averroes' long commentaries on Aristotle, which reproduced the texts of Aristotle, for access to these texts. Those who did not have access to the long commentaries learned Aristotle through Averroes' middle commentaries. The only long commentary Averroes wrote on the books of the Organon is his Long Commentary on the Posterior Analytics, and this was translated into Hebrew in 1314.Google Scholar

3 I am grateful to Professor Charles Butterworth for providing me with his as yet unpublished edition of Averroes' Epitome of the Organon (or more precisely, Epitome of Logic; Arabic: al-Muhtasar fi al-mantiq). My translations from this text are based on this edition. In this citation, I have slightly modified Butterworth's text to read “min sin ā'at al-mantiq,” following the anonymous reviewer of this article and Jacob ben Makhir's thirteenth-century Hebrew translation of the Muhtassar (Bibliothèque nationale, MS Hebr. 918, fol. lv). On the nature of this epitome,Google Scholar see Butterworth's, Averroes' Three Short Commentaries on Aristotle's “Topics,” “Rhetoric,” and “Poetics” (Albany, 1977), pp. 710. Butterworth notes that in this work, Averroes changed the order and titles of some of the books of the Organon. Thus, for example, the text I refer to as the Epitome of the Prior Analytics is a part of the Epitome of the Organon, but is given the title Fi al-ma'rifa al-fa'ila li-al-tasdīq (On the Knowledge for Bringing about Assent). Butterworth suggests that Averroes himself may have referred to this treatise as the Prior Analytics.Google Scholar See ibid., p. 93, n. 27. Cf. al-'Alawī, Jamāl al-Dīn, al-Matn al-Rušdī (Casablanca, 1986), pp. 4952,Google Scholar and Elamrani-Jamal, A., “Averroès, le commentateur d'Aristote?,” in Sinaceur, M. A. (ed.), Penser avec Aristote (Paris, 1991), pp. 643–51, esp. pp. 645–6 and n. 22.Google Scholar

4 Epitome of the Physics, in Rasā'il Ibn Rašd (Hyderabad, 1947), p. 2.Google Scholar

5 Epitome of the Metaphysics, in Rasā'il Ibn Rušd, p. 2.Google Scholar

6 Talhīs kitāb al-maqūlāt (Middle Commentary on the Categories), ed. Butterworth, Charles E. and Haridi, Ahmad A. on the basis of a critical edition by Mahmoud M. Kassem (Cairo, 1980), p. 75. Trans.Google ScholarButterworth, , Averroes'Middle Commentaries on Aristotle's Categories and De Interpretatione (Princeton, 1983), p. 25. I have slightly modified Butterworth's translation. The translation of ‘tahsīluhā’ follows the suggestion of the anonymous reviewer.Google Scholar

7 See his Averroes's Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Categories and its importance,” Miscellanea Mediaevalia, 13/1 (1981): 368–75, on p. 373. Butterworth here contrasts Averroes' method in the middle commentaries on the books of the Organon with that in the epitomes. This is not to suggest that for Butterworth Averroes' method or aims were the same in each of his middle commentaries on the Organon. On the contrary, Butterworth has pointed to significant differences. See my review of his editions of the middle commentaries on theGoogle ScholarCategories, De Interpretatione, and Topics, in Review of Metaphysics, 38 (1984): 376–80.Google Scholar

8 See my “Averroes on the principles of nature: The Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Physics I–II,” Ph.D. dissertation (Harvard University, 1977), p. 119. For a discussion of Averroes' role as commentator in the Middle Commentary on the Physics,Google Scholar see ibid., pp. 114–20.

9 The prince wanted someone to “tackle the books [of Aristotle], comment upon them [yulahhisuhā] and expound their aims, after understanding them thoroughly, [so] it would be easier for people to grasp them.” It was this desire, according to Averroes, that led him to write the middle commentaries on the books of Aristotle.Google ScholarAverroes' account of this, as reported by al-Marrākušī, is translated by Hourani, George F. in his Averroes on the Harmony of Religion and Philosophy (London, 1961), p. 13.Google Scholar

10 Prooemium, p. 65 (trans., p. 71).Google Scholar

11 Ibid., p. 70 (trans., p. 84).

12 Al-Munqid min al-dalāl, ed. and French trans. Jabre, Farid (Beirut, 1959), p. 22 (trans., p. 76);Google Scholar English trans. Watt, W. Montgomery, in his The Faith and Practice of al-Ghazali (London, 1953), p. 35. I have slightly modified Watt's translation of ‘wa-lā yata'allaqu’.Google Scholar

13 I mean that the middle commentaries are the least likely to diverge and digress from the text of Aristotle, but even in these commentaries Averroes is known to part from Aristotle and express his own opinions. With regard to the middle commentaries on the Organon, see Blaustein, Michael, “The scope and methods of rhetoric in Averroes' Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Rhetoric,” in Butterworth, Charles E. (ed.), The Political Aspects of Islamic Philosophy: Essays in Honor of Muhsin S. Mahdi (Cambridge, Mass., 1992), pp. 262303;Google ScholarButterworth, , Editor's Introduction, in Averroes' Talhīs kitāb al-gadal (Middle Commentary on the Topics), ed. Butterworth, Charles E. and Haridi, Ahmad A. (Cairo, 1979), pp. 2347; and my review referred to in n. 7 above. The long commentaries with their word-for-word commentary provide a more detailed treatment of the text itself, but also present greater opportunity for tangential discussion. As for the epitomes, they have their own agenda which often takes Averroes far from the Aristotelian text (see Butterworth, Three Short Commentaries, pp. 7–10).Google Scholar

14 Talhīs kitāb al-qiyās (Middle Commentary on the Prior Analytics), ed. Butterworth, Charles E. and Haridi, Ahmad A. on the basis of a critical edition by Mahmoud M. Kassem (Cairo, 1983). It may seem odd that one of the first studies of this text concerns itself with the content or matter of the syllogism and not its form. This is particularly striking with regard to a commentary on Aristotle's Prior Analytics, which text is so concerned with the purely formal features and relationships of logical arguments. The present study is based on a paper I was asked to present at a conference of the American Oriental Society on the “normative dimensions of Averroes' commentaries.” I chose to consider Averroes' Middle Commentary on the Prior Analytics in this connection for the reasons explained above. The first study devoted to the Middle Commentary on the Prior Analytics isGoogle ScholarElamrani-Jamal, A., “Ibn Rusd et les Premiers Analytiques d'Aristote: aperçu sur un problème de syllogistique modale,” Arabie Sciences and Philosophy, 5 (1995): 5174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

15 There are a few departures from the text of Aristotle. One instance is Averroes' discussion of the fourth figure, which he rejects because it is not a figure that thought (fikra) grasps naturally (bi-al-tab') (see p. 78, sec. 28; pp. 110–12, sec. 78; and pp. 192–3, sec. 170). In each of these passages Averroes attributes the fourth figure to Galen. It is through the Latin translation of these passages and of a passing reference in the Epitome of the Prior Analytics (Butterworth, sec. 12) that the belief that the fourth figure was invented by Galen circulated in the West. This belief was held by several Arabic writers on logic before Averroes. On this and on the interest of the Arabic philosophers in the fourth figure,Google Scholar see Sabra, A.I., “A twelfth century defence of the fourth figure of the syllogism,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 28 (1965): 1428, esp. pp. 16–20. Other instances of Averroes' divergences from Aristotle are presented below. See also Elamrani-Jamal's discussion of Averroes' treatment of modal syllogisms in “Ibn Rusd et les Premiers Analytiques.” Mention must also be made of Averroes' replies to earlier commentators. These can be readily located through Butterworth's ‘Index of Names’ at the end of his edition, p. 382. See, e.g., Averroes' response to Alfarabi's treatment of induction (p. 366, sec. 373). On Alfarabi's divergence from Aristotle on this matter,CrossRefGoogle Scholar see Gyekye, Kwame, “Al-Fārābī on the logic of the arguments of the Muslim philosophical theologians,” Journal of the History of Philosophy, 27 (1989): 135–44, on p. 139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

16 For the reference to the comparison between the Islamic and Greek court procedures, see Butterworth, Charles E., “Rhetoric and Islamic political philosophy,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 3 (1972): 187–98, on p. 188. For the reference to the comparison between the rulership exercised by the Islamic caliph and that exercised by the Roman emperor, see id., Talhīs kitāb al-gadal, Editor's Introduction, p. 34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

17 The in šā' allāh is found on p. 125, sec. 92.Google Scholar

18 Prior Analytics 1:36 48b35–39. Trans. Jenkinson, A. J., in The Complete Works of Aristotle, rev, and ed. Barnes, Jonathan, 2 vols. (Princeton, 1984), vol. I, p. 78. Cf. Talhis kitāb al-qiyās, pp. 234–5.Google Scholar

19 Kitāb al-qiyās al-saġīr (The Short Book on the Syllogism), trans. Rescher, Nicholas, Al-Fārābī's Short Commentary on Aristotle's Prior Analytics (Pittsburgh, 1963), Introduction, p. 49.Google Scholar

20 Ibid., p. 50. This accords with Alfarabi's view, expressed in his commentary on the Topics, that philosophers, at times, express themselves in popular form, “since people tend to despise what they find strange.” See Galston, Miriam, Politics and Excellence: The Political Philosophy of Alfarabi (Princeton, 1990), p. 38.Google Scholar

21 Talhīs kitāb al-gadal, Editor's Introduction, p. 26.Google Scholar

22 “Averroes on the principles of nature,” p. 117.Google Scholar

23 Talhīs kitāb al-qiyās, pp. 70–1, sec. 15. Cf. ibid., p. 239, sec. 232.

24 Ibid., p. 134, sec. 103. Cf. Prior Analytics 1:13 32b3–13 (trans., p. 52). Averroes' example comes from On Interpretation 1:9 19a13–16. Trans. Ackrill, J.L., in The Complete Works of Aristotle, vol. I, p. 30. See also,Google ScholarAverroes, , Talhīs kitāb al-'ibāra (Middle Commentaiy on the De Interpretatione), ed. Butterworth, Charles E. and Haridi, Ahmad A. on the basis of a critical edition by Kassem, Mahmoud M. (Cairo, 1981), p. 81, sec. 35.Google Scholar

25 Prior Analytics 1:13 32b18–21 (trans., p. 52).Google Scholar

26 Talhīs kitāb al-qiyās, p. 135, sec. 103.Google Scholar

27 Prior Analytics 2:26 69b38–70al (trans., p. 112).Google Scholar

28 Rhetoric 2:25 1402a35–38. Trans. Roberts, W. Rhys, in The Complete Works of Aristotle, vol. II, p. 2235. Cf. Topics 8:10 161al–15.Google Scholar

29 Talhīs kitāb al-qiyās, p. 374, sec. 385.Google Scholar

30 By ‘creation of the world’ examples in this paper, I do not refer only to examples that literally conclude that “the world is created,” but also to examples that reach similar conclusions, e.g., that “every part of the world is created.”Google Scholar

31 Prior Analytics 1:23 41a37–38 (trans., p. 65).Google Scholar

32 See Talhīs kitāb al-qiyās, pp. 194–7, sees. 172–4.Google Scholar

33 Ibid., pp. 195–6, sec. 173. Averroes' terms, which I translate here with ‘created’ and ‘eternal’, are ‘muhidat’ and ‘qadīm’. The precise meanings of these terms are ‘created in time’ and ‘pre-eternal’.

34 Prior Analytics 1:28 43b40–44a2 (trans., p. 70).Google Scholar

35 Taihīs kitāb al-qiyās, p. 216, sec. 199. Averroes similarly provides examples for a particular affirmative conclusion (sec. 200), a universal negative conclusion (p. 217, sec. 201), and a particular negative conclusion (sec. 202). Averroes' examples of the latter two are likewise of theological interest. His example of a universal negative conclusion in the first figure is ‘Every soul is not mortal’ (or: ‘No soul is mortal’). His example of a particular negative conclusion in the second figure is ‘Some souls are not mortal’. As the anonymous reviewer of this article points out, Averroes likely intended different senses of soul (nafs) in each of these conclusions. In any case, the two conclusions need not be seen as contradictory. Averroes' example, however, in sec. 200, of a syllogism with a particular affirmative conclusion contains a premise that seems to contradict the conclusion of the syllogism in sec. 199. Such a contradiction would not, of course, affect the validity of the form of the syllogism, but might detract from the beginning reader's appreciation of its value. The syllogism is as follows: ‘The celestial body is moved’. ‘The celestial body is eternal’. ∵ ‘Some things that are moved are eternal’. The major premise, ‘The celestial body is eternal’, appears to contradict the conclusion in sec. 199, ‘Every part of the world is created’. However, the term Averroes uses here for eternal is ‘azalī’. The usual term he uses for eternal or pre-eternal in contrast to created is ‘qadīm’. See, e.g., n. 33 above. ‘Qadīm’ is also the term used for eternal in all the references in n. 39 below where ‘eternal’ appears. It is also the term used in the discussion of the creation or eternity of the world in the Decisive Treatise (Fasl al-maqāl),Google Scholartrans, by Hourani, George in his Averroes on the Harmony of Religion and Philosophy (London, 1961), pp. 55–6. Now Averroes, following Alghazali, does use ‘azalī’ in the Incoherence of the Incoherence, but distinguishes between eternal in the past (azalī fīmā madā) and eternal in the future (azalī fīmā yastaqbilu).Google Scholar See, e.g., Tahāfut al-tahāfut, ed. Bouyges, Maurice (Beirut, 1930), pp. 119120;Google ScholarEng. trans., The Incoherence of the Incoherence, trans. Van Den Bergh, Simon, Averroes' Tahāfut al-Tahāfut, 2 vols. (London, 1954), vol. I, pp. 70–1. In the example in sec. 200, the meaning of ‘azalī' is not pre-eternal, but sempiternal. This does not contradict the conclusion in sec. 199. The conclusion that the world is created does not necessarily mean that the celestial body is not everlasting. This is, to be sure, what it means for Aristotle (see, e.g., On the Heavens, I, 10–12), but not all religious thinkers agree. Alghazali writes (cited by Averroes in Incoherence of the Incoherence, I, 70): “We regard it as impossible that the world should not have begun, but we do not regard it as impossible that it should last eternally, if God should make it last eternally, for it is not necessary that what begins has also an end.”Google Scholar See also Maimonides, , The Guide of the Perplexed, trans. Pines, Shlomo (Chicago, 1963), 2:27–8, p. 332–6,Google Scholar and Feldman, Seymour, “The end of the universe in medieval Jewish philosophy”, AJS Review, 11 (1986): 5377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

36 Prior Analytics 2:153a15–21 (trans., p. 85).Google Scholar

37 Talhis kitāb al-qiyās, p. 257, sec. 243.Google Scholar

38 Ibid., pp. 257–8, sec. 243. Cf. the example on p. 259, sec. 244.

39 Another commentary by Averroes that is embellished with such examples is the Epitome of the Prior Analytics. This text is a short and basic introduction to the theory of syllogism for the beginning student, and, in contrast to the Middle Commentary on the Prior Analytics, abounds in these examples. They serve as his first and most common illustrations (see Butterworth, sees. 4 [example of problem], 5 [example of what is not a syllogism], 6 [example of syllogism], 14 [example of ‘Barbara’], 15 [‘Celarent’], 21 [‘Cesare’], 22 [‘Camestres’], 48 [indirect syllogism (qiyās al-hulf)], and 49 [disjunctive conditional syllogism]). Other commentaries by Averroes on the Organon where such examples are found include: the Epitome of the Topics 2 – 7, (Butterworth's unpublished edition, secs. 31–2), the Epitome of the Topics (in Butterworth, Three Short Commentaries, pp. 153–5 [trans., pp. 48–9], secs. 6, 8), the Epitome of the Rhetoric (ibid., pp. 184–6 [trans., pp. 71–2], secs. 26, 29–30), and the Middle Commentary on the Topics (pp. 44–6, secs. 22–3). Averroes' use of ‘creation of the world’ examples in the commentaries on the Topics is not surprising. See Topics 1:11 104b8–9, 16–17, and 1.14 105b25–26; trans. W. A. Pickard-Cambridge, in The Complete Works of Aristotle, vol. I, pp. 174 and 176. Averroes' source for the ‘creation’ examples in the commentaries on the Prior Analytics is likely Alfarabi. For example, the Short Book on the Syllogism is replete with these examples, and Averroes' ‘creation’ examples in secs. 14, 15, 21, 48, and 49 of the Epitome of the Prior Analytics are virtually verbatim the same as Alfarabi's illustrations of the corresponding subjects in the Short Book (trans., pp. 60, 61, 62, 63, 83, 81). Many of these same examples are found in Alghazali, , Maqāsid al-falāsifa, ed. Dunyā, Sulaymān (Cairo, 1961), e.g., pp. 53–6, 67–8, 71–2, 77–8, 84–6. Similar examples, although less common, are also found in Avicenna. See, e.g.,Google ScholarAvicenna's Treatise on Logic, trans. Zabeeh, Farhang (The Hague, 1971), pp. 30–1;Google ScholarAvicenna, , Kitāb al-Šifā', al-Qiyās, ed. Zāyid, Sa'īd (Cairo, 1964), pp. 541 and 578.Google Scholar

40 In addition to the reference in n. 12 above, see Tahāfut al-falāsifa, ed. Bouyges, Maurice (Beirut, 1962), pp. 45 and 47; and Maqāsid al-falāsifa, pp. 32, 35–7. See further,Google ScholarMarmura, Michael E., “Ghazali's attitude to the secular sciences and logic,” in Hourani, George F. (ed.), Essays on Islamic Philosophy and Science (Albany, 1975), pp. 100–11. For a medieval Jewish defense of the study of logic and a statement of its utility for understanding and solving “numerous difficulties” in the Bible and in the Talmud,Google Scholar see Anatoli's, Jacob Introduction to his Hebrew translation of Averroes' Middle Commentary on Porphyry's Isagoge, trans. Davidson, Herbert A. (Cambridge, Mass., 1969), pp. 35.Google Scholar See also, Kaspi, Joseph, Seror ha-Kesef (or: Short Epitome of the Art of Logic), Preface, Munich, MS Hebrew 26, fols. 120v–121r;Google ScholarFrench, trans, in Renan, Ernest, Les écrivains juifs français du XIVe siècle (Paris, 1893), p. 498.Google Scholar

41 Marmura, , “Ghazali's attitude,” p. 109. See also, id., “Ghazālī on ethical premises,” The Philosophical Forum, 1 (1969): 393403, esp. p. 393.Google Scholar

42 Marmura, “Ghazali's attitude,” p. 102. Cf. Madkour, Ibrahim, L'Organon d'Aristote dans le monde arabe, 2nd ed. (Paris, 1969), p. 263.Google Scholar

43 See, Madkour, Ibrahim, “La logique d'Aristote chez les MutaKallimūn,” in Morewedge, Parviz (ed.), Islamic Philosophical Theology (Albany, 1979), pp. 5868; id., L'Organon d'Aristote, pp. 5, 262–5;Google ScholarGardet, Louis and Anawati, M.-M., Introduction à la théologie musulmane (Paris, 1948), p. 225; andGoogle ScholarWatt, W. Montgomery, Muslim Intellectual: A Study of al-Ghazālī (Edinburgh, 1963), pp. 6571, and 173–4.Google Scholar See also Haldūn, Ibn, The Muqaddimah, trans. Rosenthal, Franz, 2nd ed., 3 vols. (Princeton, 1967), vol. III, pp. 143–6. On the attitude of the theologians toward Aristotelian logic,Google Scholar see also van Ess, Josef, “The logical structure of Islamic theology,” in von Grunebaum, G.E. (ed.), Logic in Classical Islamic Culture (Wiesbaden, 1970), pp. 2150, esp. p. 22.Google Scholar

44 See Averroes, Decisive Treatise, pp. 44–7.Google Scholar

45 See Abū al-Haggag Yūsuf Ibn Tumlūs, Kitāb al-madhal li-sinā at al-mantiq, ed. and Spanish trans. Palacios, Miguel Asín, Introducción al arte de la lógica por Abentomlús de Alcira (Madrid, 1916), pp. 812 (trans., pp. 8–19). See further, Asín Palacios' introduction to this text, pp. ix-xi, which is virtually a translation of his earlier study,Google Scholar“La logique de Ibn Tumlūs d'Alcira,” reprinted in Obras escogidas, 3 vols. (Madrid 19461948), vol. II, pp. 155–62, esp. pp. 155–7. The quote from Asín Palacios is fromGoogle Scholaribid., p. 155, and is repeated in his introduction to Kitāb al-madhal, p. x.

46 These fatwas are well-known. See Madkour, “La logique d'Aristote,” p. 64. For the fatwa of Ibn al-Salāh, see Goldziher, Ignaz, “Stellung der alten islamisehen Orthodoxie zu den antiken Wissenschaften,” reprint. (Berlin, 1916), pp. 36–9.Google Scholar

47 Cited by Goldziher in ibid., p. 24, and Rosenthal, Franz in Knowledge Triumphant (Leiden, 1970), p. 205. On Ibn Taymiyya's attack on logic (mantiq),Google Scholar see Brunschvig, Robert, “Pour ou contre la logique grecque chez les théologiens-juristes de l'Islam: Ibn Hazm, al-Ghazālī, Ibn Taimiyya,” in Conegno Internazionale 9–15 Aprile 1969 (Roma, 1971), pp. 185209, on pp. 203–8; reprint, id.,Google ScholarÉtudes d'Isiamoiogie, 2 vols. (Paris, 1976), vol. I, pp. 303–27, on pp. 321–6.Google Scholar

48 See Decisive Treatise, p. 62, and Incoherence of the Incoherence, I, 216 and 247.Google Scholar

49 See Hourani, Averroes, pp. 16–18, and Mahdi, Muhsin, “Averroës on divine law and human wisdom,” in Cropsey, Joseph (ed.), Ancients and Moderns (New York, 1964), pp. 114–31.Google Scholar

50 See my “Averroes on the principles of nature,” pp. 21–3. The quote from Averroes is from the Commentary on the Republic, trans. Lerner, Ralph, Averroes on Plato's “Republic” (Ithaca, New York, 1974), pp. 77–8. Cf. Averroes' Prooemium to the Long Commentary on the Physics, pp. 67–8 (trans., pp. 78–9).Google Scholar

51 See Butterworth, Three Short Commentaries, pp. 19–41. The Epitome of the Organon was written in 1159 (or slightly before). Butterworth has also pointed to Averroes' critique of the theologians in several of the middle commentaries on books of the Organon. See, e.g., Butterworth's “Rhetoric and Islamic political philosophy,” pp. 194–8, and his Editor's Introduction to Talhīs kitāb al-gadal, p. 35. The Middle Commentary on the Rhetoric was completed in 1175; at least part of the Middle Commentary on the Topics was completed in 1168.Google Scholar

52 Talhīs kitāb al-qiyās, p. 211, sec. 192, and p. 223, sec. 210. Cf.Google ScholarPrior Analytics 1:27 43a20–21 and 1:30 46a3–4; Arabic translation, ed. by Badawi, 'Abdurrahman, Mantiq Aristū, 3 vols. (Cairo, 19481952), vol. I, pp. 187 and 199.Google Scholar

53 With regard to Alfarabi, see Sabra, A.I., review of Rescher, Al-Fārābī's Short Commentary on Aristotle's Prior Analytics, in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, 85 (1965): 241–3, on p. 242, andGoogle ScholarGyekye, “Al-Fārābī on the logic of the arguments,” p. 136 (a paraphrase of Sabra's statement). With regard to Alghazali, see Marmura, “Ghazali's attitude,” p. 102. While Averroes' source for ‘creation of the world’ examples in the commentaries on the Prior Analytics was Alfarabi and, to a much lesser extent, Alghazali, it would be a mistake to assume that he simply appropriated these examples (see above, n. 38) as illustrations common in his day, without having any other intention in mind. Averroes was keenly alert to the problem of generally-accepted and commonly-believed premises (see below), and it is doubtful that he would have used such premises to illustrate valid forms of syllogism if he did not have some other reason for doing so. This seems all the more the case in light of his consistency in the Middle Commentary on the Prior Analytics in retaining the same examples used by Aristotle. On the other hand, his repeated use of ‘creation of the world’ examples in the Epitome of the Prior Analytics (see n. 38) to illustrate the basic forms of valid syllogisms seems intended to drive home to the beginning student the utility of Aristotelian logic for the religious sciences. The restricted use of such examples in the Middle Commentary may be explained by Averroes' desire in this kind of commentary to use Aristotle's own examples, and by the assumption that the reader of the Middle Commentary could be expected to be more advanced in his study of logic and hence less in need of persuasion of its utility than the reader of the Epitome.Google Scholar

54 For an English translation of Averroes' account of this incident, as reported by al-Marrakušī, see Hourani, Averroes, pp. 12–13. Averroes defended the philosophers' view of the eternity of the world from the attacks of Alghazali (see Decisive Treatise, pp. 55–6, and Incoherence of the Incoherence, I, 1–69). He did not deny that they believe in the eternity of the world, but rather interpreted and legitimized their position (see also, Incoherence of the Incoherence, I, 362). Averroes' own personal position cannot be known with certainty. As with many sensitive theologico-philosophical problems, Averroes' views concerning creation/eternity of the world stated in his popular works must be weighed against those stated in his demonstrative books, esp., the commentaries on Aristotle's physical and metaphysical writings. See his excursus on the problem of creation at the end of his commentary to Metaphysics 12:3 1070a27 30 (Commentary 18) in his Long Commentary on the Metaphysics,Google Scholared. Bouyges, Maurice, Averroes, , Tafsīr mā ba'd ad-tabī'at, 3 vols. (Beirut, 19381952), vol. III, pp. 1491–505.Google ScholarCf. Allard, Michel, “Le rationalisme d'Averroès d'après une étude sur la création,” Bulletin d'études orientales, 14 (1954): 759. For an informed discussion of Averroes' views that takes into consideration his treatment of this problem in the commentaries,Google Scholar see Kogan, Barry S., Averroes and the Metaphysics of Causation (Albany, 1985), esp. pp. 203–55.Google Scholar

55 These are the words with which al-Subkī concludes his fatwa on the utility of logic for the study of the Islamic sciences. The fatwa has been translated into English in Rosenthal, Franz, The Classical Heritage in Islam, trans. Emile, and Marmorstein, Jenny (Berkeley, 1975), pp. 81–2.Google Scholar

56 This criticism of Alghazali resounds throughout the Incoherence of the Incoherence. See esp. vol. I, pp. 68, 87, 199, 200, 219–20, 262–3, and 274. Cf. pp. 63, 95, and 240, and Tumlūs, Ibn, Kitāb al-madhal, p. 13 (trans., p. 22). Withal Averroes admitted that Alghazali was learned in logic, “was conscious of its value, and urged its study.” See Incoherence of the Incoherence, I, 212–13.Google Scholar

57 Decisive Treatise, pp. 45–6.Google Scholar

58 See, e.g., Talhīs kitāb al-qiyās, pp. 21–4, secs. 1–4.Google Scholar

59 Oxford, Bodleian, MS Hebrew 1358 (Mich. 355), fol. 143v. I thank Professor Chalres Manekin for providing me with this references. According to him, the author of the text is likely Mordecai Natan (Provence, mid-15th century).Google Scholar

60 Munich, MS Hebrew 26, fols. 325v326r. I am again grateful to Charles Manekin for suggesting I consult this text. On Gersonides as a commentator on Averroes' writings on logic, see Manekin, Charles, “Logical writings of Gersonides,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, 52 (1985): 85113, esp. pp. 86–96, and id.,CrossRefGoogle ScholarThe Logic of Gersonides (Dordrecht, 1992), esp. pp. 1235.Google Scholar

61 The Wars of the Lord, trans. Feldman, Seymour, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1984, 1987), vol. I, Introduction, p. 94.Google Scholar

62 See my“Did Gersonides believe in the absolute generation of prime matter?” [Hebrew, ], Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought, 7 (1988) (Shlomo Pines Jubilee Volume): 307–18.Google Scholar

63 Guide of the Perplexed, 2:15, p. 292.Google Scholar

64 Ibid., 2:16, p. 294.

65 Ibid., 2:25, pp. 328–30.

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