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The Hebrew Version of De celo et mundo Attributed to Ibn Sīnā1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 October 2008

Ruth Glasner
Affiliation:
The Sydney M. Edelstein Center for the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine and the Program for the History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905, Israel

Abstract

The Hebrew text On the Heavens and the World, ascribed to Ibn Sīnā, is an interesting and intriguing composition. It dates from the 13th century and was quite influential. It is not a translation of any text of Ibn Sīnā known to us, but is related to the (pseudo-Avicennian) Latin De celo et mundo, which appears in the 1508 Venice edition of translations of Ibn Sīnā. The Latin and Hebrew texts differ widely and the relation between them is far from being clear. Both are in sixteen chapters, the titles of the chapters are the same, but the texts are only roughly similar. The Hebrew text often offers short, incomplete summaries of the Latin arguments. On the other hand it includes many passages which have no parallel in the Latin. There are two possible explanations of the perplexing relationship between the two texts: either that there was more than one version of the Latin (or of the original Arabic) text, or that the translator, Shlomo ben Moshe of Laguiri wrote a kind of paraphrase. The paper shows that the second explanation is correct and offers a preliminary study of the sources and the aims of the Hebrew text.

Le texte hébraïque Du ciel et du monde attribué à Ibn Sīnā. est une œuvre intéressante et intriguante. Il date du XIIIe siècle et a exercé une influence considérable. Le texte hébraïque n'est la traduction d'aucun texte connu d'Ibn Sīnā; il s'apparente en revanche au texte latin (pseudo-avicennien) De celo et mundo, figurant dans l'édition de Venise de 1508 des traductions latines d'Ibn Sīnā. Les textes latin et hébraïque présentent cependant de très nombreuses différences et le rapport entre eux est loin d'être évident. Bien que tous deux comportent seize chapitres dont les titres sont identiques, le contenu des deux textes n'est que très grossièrement similaire: d'un côté, le texte hébraïque donne souvent de brefs résumés des arguments contenus dans le texte latin; de l'autre, il comporte de nombreux passages qui n'ont pas de parallèles dans le texte latin. Deux explications peuvent rendre compte du rapport entre les deux textes: soit il y avait une autre version latine du texte (ou de l'original arabe), soit le traducteur du texte hébreu, Shlomo ben Moshe de Laguiri, avait en fait rédigé une paraphrase, comportant des suppressions et des additions, du texte latin. Cet article montre que c'est la deuxieme hypothèse qui est la vraie. Il offre en outre une étude préliminaire des sources et des buts du texte hébreu.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1996

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References

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6 The incipit in most manuscripts is: “Ibn Sīnā said, in the name of the eternal Lord, we compose a book, in which we gather the scattered sayings of the first philosophers and what said Aristotle [other version - Aristotelians] on the subject of the heavens and the world.” The second translation, On Sleep and Waking, is not explicitly attributed to Ibn Sīnā, and its origin is unknown.Google Scholar

7 Paris, Bibliothéque nationale, MS héb. 700/6, 11578 in the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts in Jerusalem (in the sequel abbreviated IMHM); MS héb. 1050/11 IMHM 14646; Parma, Palatina, MS 100 (2110) IMHM 13329; MS 424/2 (2630) IMHM 13546; Vatican, MS ebr. 458/3 IMHM 523; MS ebr. 386/4 IMHM 468 (incomplete); Oxford, Bodleian Library, Neubauer 1270/3 IMHM 22084; Neubauer 1306/2 (Reggio 11) IMHM 22120; Milano, Ambrosiana, L45 sup./2 IMHM 31080; Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, 112/11 (MS Or. Fol. 1057) IMHM 1835; New York, JTS, Mic. 2323/1 (Hi 109) IMHM 28576; Mic. 2349/4 IMHM 228602 (unreadable); Vienna, Nationalbibliothek, MS Hebr. 183/8 IMHM 1337; Cambridge Add. 1197/1 IMHM 17062; Rome, Casanatense, MS 202/9 IMHM 72; Cambridge Mass., Harvard, Heb. 38/8 IMHM 34447; Moscow, Guenzburg, MS 382 IMHM 47672; Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek MS 107/4 IMHM 1189 (only the beginning of the first chapter). The translations in what follows take into consideration most manuscripts; the references are to Cambridge Add. 1197/1 IMHM 17062.Google Scholar

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9 Narboni, Moshe, Commentary on the Guide of the Perplexed, ed. Goldenthal, J. (Wien, 1852), p. 17a lines 4–5. The allusion is to chapter 14 of On the Heavens and the World.Google Scholar

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11 Avicene perhypatetici philosophi ac medicorum facile primi opera, A Reprint of the Original Edition Venice, 1508 (Frankfurt a.M., 1961), edited by Caeciliuo Fabriansis, translated from Arabic by Dominicus Gundisalvus and Joannes Hispalensis.Google Scholar

12 The incipit of the Latin text is: “Incipit liber Avicena de celo et mundo. Collectiones expositionum ab antiquis grecis in libro Aristoteli de mundo qui dicitur liber celi et mundi.”Google Scholar;

13 D'Alverny, “Avicenna latinus,” mentions several such codices. E.g. Bibliothèque Mazarine 3472, 3473, Biblioth`que nationale 6443.Google Scholar

14 I wish to thank Prof. S. van Riet, Prof. F. Sezgin, Prof. G. Endress and Prof. H. Daiber, whom I have consulted.Google Scholar

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18 By Daniel of Morley. See d'Alverny, “Avicenna latinus,” p. 286. Alonso, “Ḥunyan traducido,”, p. 43.Google Scholar

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20 Alonso, , “Ḥunyan traducido,”, p. 43. Themistius' commentary on Aristotle's De caelo is not extant in Greek or Arabic, but only in Hebrew and Latin translations. SeeGoogle ScholarLandauer, S. (ed.), Themistii in libros Aristotelis De caelo paraphrasis, Commentaria in Aristotelem graeca 5 (Berlin, 1902).Google Scholar

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22 Alonso, “Hunayn traducido,” pp. 38–9.Google Scholar

23 “Postquam autem verum est quod non est possibile quanti tatem infini tarn habere esse nec fuisse nec futuram fore, tunc iam manifestum est, quia quantitas celi in suo tempore et in sua essentia terminata est et initium habet.” Chapter 5, Venice edition, fol. 38r, col. b, line 20, italics mine. The argument is repeated in similar words in line 32.Google Scholar

24 Steinschneider mentions that Ibn Sīnā refers to the contents of De sensu in his prologue to the sixth book (On the Soul) of the second part (natural sciences) of the Shifā'. See Steinschneider, M., “Die Parva Naturalia des Aristoteles bei den Arabern,” Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenldndischen Gesellschaft, 45 (1891): 447–53, on p. 449.Google Scholar

25 The view of the Latin text on the eternity of the world is far from clear, and a careful study of the manuscripts is required. E.g. chapter 16, Venice edition, fol. 42r, col. b, last two lines.

26 al-Nadim, Ibn, Kitāb al-Fihrist, eds. Flügel, G., Rödiger, J., Müller, A. (Leipzig, 1872), pp. 250–51, Peters' translation, inGoogle ScholarPeters, , Aristoteles Arabus, p. 35.Google Scholar

27 Alonso, , “Ḥunyan traducido,”, p. 43.Google Scholar

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29 It is also worth noting that the text De celo et mundo includes sixteen chapters, but does not consist of sixteen questions. Ibn al-Nadīm refers to what Ḥunayn wrote on De caelo as sixteen question (masā'il). Ḥunayn wrote a book of questions, which indeed cosists of short questions and answers. See Shalt, P. and Meyerhof, M., Le livre des questions sur l'oeil de Ḥonain Ibn Ishāq (Cairo, 1938). This, however, is not a strong argument since word mas'ala can also be understood in a more general sense as “subject” or “issue.”Google Scholar;

30 I shall mention two examples. 1. The Latin text develops a theory of material light rays, which is incompatible with the views of Ḥunayn ibn IsḤāq. Ḥunayn' theory of vision (which mainly follows Galen's) differs from Aristotle's in several respects, but adopts Aristotle's conception of the physical nature of light. In his Treatise on Light, Ḥunayn distinguishes three possibilities: that light is adjacent to the air, that it penetrates the air, or that it is an accident of the air. He accepts the third explanation (See Prufer, C. and Meyerhof, M., “Die aristotelische Lehre vom Licht bei Ḥunayn b. IsḤāq,”, Der Islam, 2 (1911): 117–28; on pp. 122–3). The whole tratise is indeed a list of arguments to Ḥunayn less likely. 2. In the sixteenth chapter, the Latin text refers to first and second intentions. Since this reference is found also in the manuscripts, there is no reason to suppose that it is a later interpolation. Though these terms can be traced back to Porphyry, they were in fact introduced into Arabic philosophy by al-Fārābī and Ibn Sīnā. SeeCrossRefGoogle ScholarKneale, W. and Kneale, M., The Development of Logic (Oxford, 1962), p. 230Google Scholar; Knudsen, C., “Intentions and impositions,” in Kretzmann, N., Kenny, A., Pinborg, J. (eds.), The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy (Cambridge, 1982), Chapter 23, pp. 479–95; on pp. 479–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Gyekye, K.The terms ‘prima intentio’ and ‘secunda intentio’ in Arabic logic,” Speculum, 46 (1971): 32–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

31 Vatican, MS 386/4, fol. 207a opens: “In the name of the eternal Lord, said Shlomo ben Moshe me-Lageiri [or Legeiri], the translator of these chapters, which are the chapters of Ibn Sīnā's version of the book On the Heavens and the World.” Cambridge, MS Add. 1197/1, fol. 3a spells the name Laguia (or Leguia), and Oxford, Bodleian, MS 1270/3, fol. 87a spells Laguiri (or Leguiri). The title of the book Beyt Elohim (Vatican, MS 248, IMHM 300) ascribes the book to R. Shlomo ben Moshe from the river Laguir (or Leguir). Renan and Neubauer checked ālso the manuscripts of Shlomo ben Moshe's Hebrew translation of the book On Sleep and Waking and concluded that the more common spelling is the one I have transliterated as Laguiri, so in what follows I use this spelling. See Renan, E. and Neubauer, A., Les Rabbins français du commencement du quatorziéme siècle [= Histoire littéraire de la France, vol. XXVII] (Paris, 1877), p. 576. “Me-Laguiri” apparently means “of Laguiri.”Google Scholar;

32 E.g. MSS Milano, Ambrosia L45 sup/4, fol. 134a; Cambridge Add. 1858/7, fol. 231b. Steinschneider, , p. 284.Google Scholar

33 Steinschneider, , p. 822.Google Scholar

34 Ibid., p. 283.

35 Renan and Neubauer, Les Rabbins français, pp. 576–7. The book is extant in two manuscripts, Vatican 248, IMHM 300, and Escorial g-17–1, IMHM 7361.Google Scholar

36 Steinschneider, , , p. 283.Google Scholar

37 Steinschneider states (, p. 283) that there are three quotations of our text in More ha-More (ed. Bisiliches, M.L. [Pressburg, 1837], pp. 80–1). Of the three references to the book On the Heavens and the World in these pages, only the third is toGoogle ScholarSinā, Ibn (p. 81 line 27). The source of this reference was not found in the proper writings of Ibn SïnāGoogle Scholar; (Shiffman, Y., Rabbi Shem Tov ben Joseph Falaquera's More ha-More, dissertation (in Hebrew) [Jerusalem, 1990]). Although this might suggest that this quotation is from the Hebrew version of Ps. Ibn Sīnā, yet neither this reference, nor any other of the many references to Ibn Sīnā in More ha-More, indicates clearly that Falaquera was acquainted with our text.Google Scholar

38 Shlomo, Gershom ben, Sha'ar ha-Shamayim (Warsaw, 1875), ma'amar 2, p. 13 col. a,3 (lines numbered from beginning of ma'amar 2) - col. b,13; ma'amar 10, p. 68 col. a,12 (from beginning of ma'amar 10); ma'amar 13, p. 80 col. a, 16 (from beginning of ma'amar 13)-col. b, 11; p. 81 col. b,37 -p. 82 col. a,5.Google Scholar

39 Renan and Neubauer date this book around 1240, Les Rabbins français, p. 576. Steinschneider dates it to between 1280 and 1306, seeGoogle ScholarSteinschneider, M., “Salomon de Melgueil et Salomon Orgerius,” Revue des études juives, 5 (1882): 277–81, on p. 278.Google Scholar Bodenheimer reexamined the data and concluded that the book was written between 1242 and 1275. See Shlomo, Gershom ben, The Gate of Heaven, translated by Bodenheimer, F.S. (Jerusalem, 1953), p. 13.Google Scholar

40 Zonta, M. has shown that in his Sha'ar ha-Shamayim, Gershom ben Shlomo quotes Falaquera's De'ot ha-Filosofim, written about 1280. M. Zonta, “Mineralogy, botany and zoology in Hebrew encyclopedias” forthcoming in Arabic Sciences and Philosophy.Google Scholar

41 Beyt Elohim, Vatican, MS 248, IMHM 300, fol. 1a, 8–9.Google Scholar

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49 Ptolemy's hypothesis of two prime movements (Almagest, book I, chapter 8) is taken for granted in chapters 6, 11 and 14.Google Scholar

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52 Form al-Shifā', fann 5 (meteorology). The first quotation (in chapter 1 of the Hebrew text, Cambridge MS, fols. 3b-4a) is from maqāla I, faṣl 6, pp. 24, 725, 8 Cairo edition; the second and third (in chapter 6, fols. 6b-7a) are from maqāla II, fasl 6, pp. 76, 1777, 2, 79, 910 Cairo edition.Google Scholar

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55 Chapter 4, Cambridge MS, fol. 5b; Tibbon, Ibn, Yiqqawu ha-Mayim, ch. 2, p. 4, 2430Google Scholar; cf. also Maimonides, Hilkhot Yesodei ha-Tora 4, 35.Google Scholar

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57 Cambridge MS, fol. 11b. Ḥiyya, Abraham bar, Sefer Ḥurat ha-Ares (Offenbach, 1720), chapter (sha'ar) 4, section petah) 17, p. 24a.Google Scholar

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59 The book of al-Farghānī was translated both into Latin and into Hebrew. Theh Hebrew translation, by Yaaqob Anatoli, was completed between 1231 and 1235. See Steinschneider, , , p. 555.Google Scholar

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66 Ibn Sīnā, al-Shifā' II, fann 6 (psychology), maqāla 3, fasl 1–2; fann 5 (meteorlogy), maqāla 2, fasl 2. Fann 6 was also published with a French translation: Bakoš, J., Psychologie d'Ibn Sīnā (Avicenne) d'après son œurve aš-Šfā, 2 vols. (Prague, 1956)Google Scholar; Avicenne, , Le livre de science, translated by Achena, M. and Massé, H. (Paris, 1986), vol. II, pp. 36–8. On Ibn Sīnā's conception of light, see alsoGoogle ScholarLindberg, D.C., Theories of Vision from al-Kindi to Kepler (Chicago, 1976), pp. 4352.Google Scholar

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68 De celo et mundo, chapter 12, Venice edition, fol. 41 r, col a.Google Scholar

69 Sīnā, Ibn, al-Shifā', fann 5 ( meterology), maqāla 1, faṣl, Cairo edition, p. 27.Google Scholar

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72 The sources of his other translations, On Sleep and Waking and the medical treatise have not been identified.Google Scholar

73 Chapters 2, 3, 8, Cambridge MS, fols. 4a, 5a, 7b respectively.Google Scholar

74 Wolfson, H. A., Crescas' Critique of Aristotle (Cambridge Mass., 1929), pp. 594–8. See alsoGoogle ScholarFalaquera, More ha-More (Pressburg, 1837), p. 71Google Scholar; Narboni, , Commentary on the More (Wien, 1852), p. 27b.Google Scholar

75 Chapter 4, Cambridge MS, fol. 5a.Google Scholar

76 Wolfson, , Crescas' Critique, p. 595.Google Scholar

77 Maimonides, , Guide, I, 58, Ibn Tibbon's translation, p. 86b, Pines' translation, p. 136; II, 4, Ibn Tibbon's translation, p. 48a, Pines' translation, p. 318; II, 22, Ibn Tibbon' translation, p. 48a, –inverted Pines'Maimonides also states that the separate intellects are in the bodies of the spheres, I, 72, Ibn Tibbon's translation, p. 115b, Pines' translation, p. 193. Narboni “blames” Maimonides for following Ibn Sīnā, rather than Aristotle on this subject, see Commentary, p. 27b.Google Scholar

78 “Quod celum erat corpus simplex et unius nature,”, Venice, edition, fol. 40r, col. a.Google Scholar

79 Reading ' amar ze; some manuscripts read ' omri ze, “my saying this.”Google Scholar;

80 Reading ' amarti; some mauscripts read' amru, “they said.”Google Scholar;

81 Chapter 8, Cambridge MS, fol. 7b.Google Scholar

82 Chapter 16, Cambridge MS, fol. 13a.Google Scholar

83 End of chapter 3, Cambridge MS, fol. 5a. The last phrase is an allusion to Talmud Bavli, Hulin, p. 60.Google Scholar I have followed the translation of Cashdan, E., Hebrew-English Edition of the Babylonian Talmud (London, 1980).Google Scholar

84 Maimonides, , Guide, II, 12, Ibn Tibbon's translation, p. 29a–b, Pines' translation, pp. 279–80.Google Scholar

85 Maimonides, , Guide, II, 30Google Scholar, Tibbon's, Ibn translation, p. 60b; Pines' translation, pp. 354–5; Ibn Tibbon, Yiqqawu ha-Mayim, ch. 20, p. 135.Google Scholar

86 See Wolfson, , Crescas' Critique, pp. 672–5Google Scholar; Maier, A., “Das Problem der Gravitation,” in An der Grenze von Scholastik und Naturwissenschaft (Roma, 1952), pp. 152–3.Google ScholarWeisheipl, J.A., “The principle Omne quod movetur ab alio movetur in medieval physics,” Isis, 56 (1965): 2645, on pp. 35–7.Google Scholar

87 Maimonides, , Guide, I, 72, Ibn Tibbon's translation, p. 111a, Pines' translation, vol. I, p. 185; see also Hilkhot Yesodei ha-Tora, 3, 11; 4,2.Google Scholar

88 Tibbon, Ibn, Yiqqawu ha-Mayim, ch. 2, p. 4, 15–22.Google Scholar

89 Chapter 6, Cambridge MS, fol. 6a, compare example 4 in the appendix.Google Scholar

* Ibn Tibbon's version of this passage was translated into English: Freudenthal, G., “(Al-)chemical foundations for cosmological ideas: Ibn Sīnā on the geology of an eternal world,” in Unguru, S. (ed.), Physics, Cosmology and Astronomy, 1300–1700 (Dordrecht, 1991), pp. 4773, on p. 57. I have used Freudenthal's translation when possible.Google Scholar

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The Hebrew Version of De celo et mundo Attributed to Ibn Sīnā1
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The Hebrew Version of De celo et mundo Attributed to Ibn Sīnā1
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The Hebrew Version of De celo et mundo Attributed to Ibn Sīnā1
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