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IN SEARCH OF IBN SĪNĀ'S “ORIENTAL PHILOSOPHY” IN MEDIEVAL CASTILE

  • RYAN SZPIECH (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Scholars have long debated the possibility of a mystical or illuminationist strain of thought in Ibn Sīnā's body of writing. This debate has often focused on the meaning and contents of his partly lost work al-Mashriqiyyūn (The Easterners), also known as al-Ḥikma al-Mashriqiyya (Eastern Wisdom), mentioned by Ibn Sīnā himself as well as by numerous Western writers including Ibn Rushd and Ibn Ṭufayl. A handful of references to what is called Ibn Sīnā's “Oriental Philosophy” are also found in the Castilian and Hebrew works of the Castilian Jew Abner of Burgos (ca. 1270-ca. 1347), known after his conversion to Christianity as Alfonso of Valladolid. Although the content of these citations has not been identified, it has been proposed that they may preserve otherwise unknown passages from Ibn Sīnā's lost work. This study considers the references to Ibn Sīnā's so-called “Oriental Philosophy” within Abner's writings and concludes that rather than preserving lost passages from Ibn Sīnā's writing, Abner's references were drawn primarily from Ibn Ṭufayl and offer no support for the argument of a possible mystical or illuminationist strain in Ibn Sīnā's thinking.

Résumé

Depuis longtemps, on a discuté de la possible présence d'une orientation mystique ou “illuminative” dans l'œuvre d'Ibn Sīnā. Le sens et le contenu de son ouvrage (partiellement perdu) al-Mashriqiyyūn (Les Orientaux), également connu comme al-Ḥikma al-Mashriqiyya (La Sagesse orientale), mentionné par Ibn Sīnā lui-même et par des écrivains occidentaux comme Ibn Rushd et Ibn Ṭufayl, ont souvent été au centre de ce débat. On trouve aussi quelques références à ce qui est appelé la “philosophie orientale” d'Ibn Sīnā dans l'œuvre du juif castillan Abner de Burgos (ca. 1270-ca. 1347) connu après sa conversion au christianisme sous le nom d'Alphonse de Valladolid. Sans avoir au préalable identifié le contenu de ces citations, on a fait l'hypothèse qu'elles auraient permis de conserver des passages, inconnus par ailleurs, de l'ouvrage perdu d'Ibn Sīnā. Cette étude porte sur les références à la “philosophie orientale” d'Ibn Sīnā dans l'œuvre d'Abner de Burgos. Elle montre que les références d'Abner semblent avoir été essentiellement tirées d'Ibn Ṭufayl et ne renvoient donc pas aux passages perdus de l'ouvrage d'Ibn Sīnā. En conséquence elles ne peuvent servir d'argument pour confirmer la présence d'une orientation mystique ou “illuminative” dans l'œuvre d'Ibn Sīnā.

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1 The two sources recounting this history are Bayhaqī's Tatimma and Ibn-al-Athīr's al-Kāmil, and are cited together with full bibliographical information by Gutas Dimitri, Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition. Introduction to Reading Avicenna's Philosophical Works (Leiden, 1988), p. 117 . This summary is drawn from the information given by Gutas on pp. 115–30.

2 For a list of the manuscripts, see Gutas, Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition, pp. 120–1, and id., “Avicenna's eastern (“oriental”) philosophy. Nature, contents, transmission,” Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, 10 (2000): 159–80 (pp. 169–72).

3 Gutas, Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition, p. 49. Gutas provides a full list of testimonia mentioning the work by Ibn Sīnā and others on pp. 115–19. Roger Bacon, as Gutas points out, was familiar with the title through the Latin translation of Ibn Sīnā's prologue to the Shifāʾ, which has been edited by Birkenmajer Aleksander, “Avicennas Vorrede zum ‘Liber Sufficientiae’ und Roger Bacon,” Revue néoscholastique de philosophie, 36 (1934): 308320 , reprinted in Birkenmajer, Études d'histoire des sciences et de la philosophie du Moyen Âge (= Studia Copernicana I) (Wroclaw, 1970), pp. 89101. It can also be pointed out that Ibn Rushd's mention of the text in the Tahāfut and in his Quaestiones in Physica were both available in Hebrew. See Steinschneider Moritz, Die hebraeischen Uebersetzungen des Mittelalters und die Juden als Dolmetscher (Berlin, 1893), pp. 181 and 332 .

4 See, for example, “L'Allégorie mystique d'Avicenne,” Le Muséon (Louvain), 5 (1885): 411–26; and id., “Vues théosophiques d'Avicenne,” Le Muséon (Louvain), 4 (1885): 594–9, and 5 (1886): 52–67.

5 Some earlier examples of the mystical interpretation of Ibn Sīnā include Massignon Louis, “Avicenne et les influences orientales,” Revue du Caire, 27 (1951): 112 ; id., “La Philosophie orientale d'Ibn Sīnā et son alphabet philosophique,” Mémorial Avicenne, 4 (1952): 1–18; Gardet Louis, “Avicenne et le problème de sa ‘Philosophie (ou sagesse) orientale,’” Revue du Caire, 27 (1951): 1322 ; rpt. in expanded form in La Pensée religieuse d'Avicenne (Paris, 1951), pp. 23–9; id., “La connaissance mystique chez Ibn Sīnā et ses présupposés philosophiques,” Mémorial Avicenne, 2 (1952); rpt. in expanded form in La Pensée religieuse, pp. 143–96; and Corbin Henri, Avicenna and the Visionary Recital, trans. Trask Willard (New York, 1960) especially the “Postscript” (pp. 271–80). His student Jambet Christian, in his La logique des Orientaux. Henry Corbin et la science des formes (Paris, 1983), pp. 7 and 9597 , n. 26, concedes that the term used by Ibn Sīnā, “manṭiq al-mashriqiyyīn,” does not refer to a mystical tradition, which he and Corbin have claimed is expressed instead in the cycles of Ibn Sīnā on the theme of Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān. Also relevant is the treatment of al-Jābirī Muḥammad ʿĀbid, Naḥnu wa-al-turāth: Qirāʾāt muʿāṣira fī turāthinā al-falsafī (Beirut, 1980), pp. 115230 , especially 151–66. The current defender of the thesis is Seyyed Hossein Nasr, An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines ([Cambridge, 1964; revised ed. 1978] second revised ed. Albany, 1993), pp. 181–96; id., “Ibn Sīnā's ‘oriental philosophy,’” in Nasr Seyyed Hossein and Leaman Oliver (eds.), History of Islamic Philosophy (London and New York, 1996), pp. 247251 . Also relevant is Radtke Bernd, “How can man reach mystical union? Ibn Ṭufayl and the divine spark,” in Conrad Lawrence I. (ed.), The World of Ibn Ṭufayl. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān (Leiden, 1996), pp. 165194 (pp. 175–8); and his general discussion of ishrāq in “Theosophie (Ḥikma) und Philosophie (Falsafa). Ein Beitrag zur Frage der Ḥikmat al-mašriq/al-išrāq,” Asiatische Studien, 42 (1988): 156–74.

6 See Goodman Lenn E., Avicenna (London, 1992), p. 39 .

7 For traditional criticism, see Nallino C. A., “Filosofia ‘orientale’ od ‘illuminativa’ d'Avicenna?,” Revista degli Studi Orientali, 10 (1923-5): 433467 , who explicitly disproves any inherent connection between the terms ishrāq and mashriq; Pines S., “La ‘Philosophie orientale’ d'Avicenne et sa polémique contre les Baghdadiens,” Archives d'histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge, 27 (1952): 537 ; and Goichon Amélie Marie, The Philosophy of Avicenna and Its Influence on Medieval Europe, trans. Khan M. S. (Delhi, 1969), pp. 710 . For a full bibliography of the sources related to the question, see Gutas, Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition, pp. 115–30; id., “Avicenna: mysticism,” in Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. III, p. 82a-b; id. “Avicenna's eastern (“oriental”) philosophy,” pp. 160–6; and R. Macuch, “Greek and oriental sources of Avicenna's and Sohrawardi's theosophies,” Greco-Arabica, [Athens] 2 (1983): 9–22 (p. 11), who allegedly drew his material from the dissertation of Estiphan Panoussi, “La notion de participation dans la philosophie d'Avicenne” (Louvain, 1967), pp. 23–38. I have not yet seen Panoussi's account.

8 See Gutas, Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition, p. 130.

9 See Gutas, “Avicenna's eastern (“oriental”) philosophy, p. 159, n. 1, and the bibliography mentioned there.

10 Gutas, “Avicenna's eastern (“oriental”) philosophy,” p. 160. See also his extended discussion in “Ibn Ṭufayl on Ibn Sīnā's eastern philosophy,” Oriens, 34 (1994): 222–41.

11 For a partly critical review of Gutas's work, see Marmura Michael E., “Plotting the course of Avicenna's thought,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, 111 (1991): 333342 ; and Elamrani-Jamal Abdelali, “Expérience de la vision contemplative et forme du récit chez Ibn Ṭufayl,” in Amir-Moezzi Mohammad Ali (ed.), Le voyage initiatique en terre d'Islam: Ascensions célestes et itinéraires spirituels (Louvain-Paris, 1996), pp. 159172 (p. 165, n. 25). See Gutas's responses in “Avicenna's eastern (“oriental”) philosophy,” pp. 160–1, n. 7 and 161–2, n. 10. The issue has been treated by Hernández Miguel Cruz, “El problema de la auténtica filosofía de Avicena y su idea del ‘destino’ del hombre,” Revista de filosofía (Madrid), 3rd series, 5.8 (1992): 235256 ; and again by Julio César Cárdenas Arenas, “Revisión de la filosofía oriental de Avicena,” Transoxiana, 10 (July 2005), URL= http://www.transoxiana.com.ar/, which provides ample bibliographical information on the question. For attempts to strike a middle path between a mystical and philosophical view, see Netton Ian Richard, Allāh Transcendent: Studies in the Structure and Semiotics of Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Cosmology (London, 1989), pp. 174189 ; Peter Heath, Allegory and Philosophy in Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā): With a Translation of the Book of the Prophet Muhammad's Ascent to Heaven (Philadelphia, 1992), pp. 153165 ; and Hughes Aaron, The Texture of the Divine. Imagination in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Thought (Bloomington, IN, 2004), pp. 3035 .

12 The Maghribī manuscript is Leipzig 796 Vollers, and the Judeo-Arabic manuscript is Bodleian Pococke 181, both mentioned by Gutas, “Avicenna's eastern (“oriental”) philosophy,” p. 171.

13 See Mauro Zonta, “Influence of Arabic and Islamic philosophy on Judaic thought”, in Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter, 2009 ed. and previous editions), URL= http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2009/entries/arabic-islamic-judaic/; id., “The role of Avicenna and of Islamic ‘Avicennism’ in the 14th-century Jewish debate around philosophy and religion,” Oriente Moderno, 80 (2000): 647–60 (p. 653). See also Gutas, “Avicenna's eastern (“oriental”) philosophy,” pp. 171–2. Elsewhere, Zonta affirms that Abner's work was “full of Avicennian elements” (“pregnato di elementi avicennani”) and that Abner seems “to have employed the philosophy of Avicenna for an anti-averroistic function” (“aver impiegato la filosofia di Avicenna in funzione antiaverroistica”). See La filosofia ebreica medievale: storia e testi (Rome, 2002), p. 174; and “Linee del pensiero islamico nella storia della filosofia ebraica medievale,” Annali dell'Istituto Orientale di Napoli, 57 (1997): 101–44, 450–83 (p. 461).

14 On Abner's impact on Crescas, see Baer Yitzhak, Sefer Minḥat Qenaʾot of Abner of Burgos (and its influence on Hasdai Crescas)” [Hebrew], Tarbiẓ, 11 (1940): 198204 ; and Ẓadik Shalom, “Rabbi Ḥasdai Crescas' critique of Aristotelian science and the lost book of Abner of Burgos” [Hebrew], Tarbiẓ, 77 (2008): 133156 .

15 The Mostrador de justicia survives in a single manuscript, Bibliothèque Nationale de France MS Espagnol 43, fols. 12r–342v, and has been edited by Walter Mettmann, 2 vols. (Opladen, 1994; 1996). The Libro de la ley is also found in the same manuscript, fols. 1r–10v, and has been edited by Mettmann Walter, Ofrenda de Zelos (Minḥat ḳĕnaʾot) und Libro de la Ley (Opladen, 1990), pp. 87118 . This same edition, pp. 13–86, also includes the Ofrenda de zelos, a text preserved in Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana MS Lat. 6423, fols. 1r–41r. This BAV manuscript also contains the Castilian translation of the Respuestas al blasfemo, fols. 41r–89r, as well as that of the three polemical letters, fols. 90r-98r, all of which is found in Hebrew in Biblioteca Palatina de Parma MS 2440 (“De Rossi 533”). The Hebrew Teshuvot has been edited in a doctoral dissertation by Jonathan Hecht, “The polemical exchange between Isaac Pollegar and Abner of Burgos/Alfonso of Valladolid according to Parma MS 2440 ‘Iggeret Teshuvat Apikoros’ and ‘Teshuvot la-Meḥaref,’” (Diss. NYU, 1993). The Castilian version was edited by Mettmann as Tĕšuvot la-Mĕḥaref. Spanische Fassung (Opladen, 1998) . For full bibliographical information about Abner's surviving writing, see Carpenter Dwayne, “Alfonso de Valladolid,” in Álvar Carlos and Megías José Manuel Lucía (eds.), Diccionario filológico de literatura medieval española. Textos y transmisión, (Madrid, 2002), pp. 140152 . For a full consideration of Abner's lost works, see Ryan Szpiech, “From testimonia to testimony: Thirteenth-century anti-Jewish polemic and the Mostrador de justicia of Abner of Burgos/Alfonso of Valladolid” (Diss. Yale University, 2006), pp. 585–92.

16 This does not count in either case multiple references on the same folio or references in the Castilian manuscripts if those passages are already represented in an extant Hebrew version. There is also one reference to Ibn Sīnā in the Hebrew mathematical work attributed to Abner, Meyasher ʿAkov, British Museum MS Add. 26984, folio 94a. See the edition of G.M. Gluskina (Moscow, 1983), p. 139. For a partial index of Abner's citations in all of his principle works, see Szpiech, “From testimonia to testimony,” pp. 593–667.

17 He mentions once in passing the names of “Iohannitius” (i.e. Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq al-ʿIbādī), “Abulcasis” (i.e. Abū al-Qāsim al-Zahrāwī), “Ben Zohar” (i.e. Abū Marwān ibn Zuhr) – all in the Ofrenda de Zelos – and twice mentions “Algafiqui,” whom Mettmann identifies as Abū al-Qāsim Aḥmad al-Ghāfiqī (d. 1035), better known as Ibn al-Ṣaffār, although I have been unable to find any passages in his writing that match Abner's references. For a brief consideration of the question, see Szpiech, “From testimonia to testimony,” p. 597. For a specific discussion of his reference to Kalīla wa-Dimna, see de la Maza Carlos Sainz, “Una fuente no doctrinal de Alfonso de Valladolid,” Medievalia, 38 (2006): 1121 .

18 The text has been edited and translated by Kalman Bland, The Epistle on the Possibility of Conjunction with the Active Intellect by Ibn Rushd with Commentary of Moses Narboni (New York, 1982/5742).

19 In the explicit to the Latin translation of another, otherwise unknown text attributed to Ibn Rushd, the De separatione primi principii, it states that the text was translated by “master Alfonso Dinis of Lisbon in Valladolid, with the help of master Alfonso the convert, sacristan of Toledo” (“magistro Alfonso Dionisii de Ulixbona Hispano apud Vallem Toleti, interprete magistro Alfonso, converso sacrista Toletano”). Given that there was no sacristan of Toledo with this name at that time, Steel and Guldentops propose that “Toletano” is an error for “Vallis(t)oletano,” “of Valladolid.” This is supported by the fact that Abner, frequently called “Magister Alfonsus,” was sacristan of Valladolid and that this text does mention Ibn Sīnā's “Oriental Philosophy” in what seems to be a reference to Ibn Ṭufayl. See Steel C. and Guldentops G., “An unknown treatise of Averroes against the Avicennians On the First Cause,” Recherches de théologie et philosophie médiévales, 64 (1997): 86135 (pp. 88–9 and 129–30). This text, preserved only in Oxford Bodleian MS Digby 236, is found with three other texts of Ibn Rushd's, including the De animae beatitudine, one of the two Latin translations of “Epistle on the Possibility of Conjunction with Active Intellect.” Although the later text, also found in the sixteenth-century Venetian edition of Latin translations of Ibn Rushd's writing, was translated in the sixteenth century by “Calo Calonymos” (Kalonymos ben David the younger, not to be confused with the two fourteenth-century Hebrew translators of Ibn Rushd with similar names), the editors of the De animae beatitudine speculate that this text was prepared by Abner and Alfonso Dinis of Lisbon. For their arguments, see La béatitude de l'âme, ed. Marc Geoffroy and Carlos Steel (Paris, 2001), pp. 87–91. For Abner's citations from the Epistle on the Possibility of Conjunction with the Active Intellect (called “Libro del ayuntamiento divinal”), see Mostrador, vol. I, p. 148 (folio 79v), which corresponds to Bland, The Epistle, pp. 138–9; and Mostrador, vol. I, p. 225 (folio 118v), which also appears in a similar passage in the Teshuvot in both Hebrew and Castilian. For the Hebrew, see Hecht, “The polemical exchange,” p. 372 (folio 24b) and the translation on p. 183. For the Castilian, see Teshuvot, ed. Mettmann, p. 39 (folio 52ra), and the corresponding passage in Bland, The Epistle, p. 65.

20 For references to Ibn Sīnā in the Moreh ha-Moreh, see Shem Tov ben Joseph ibn Falaquera, Moreh ha-Moreh, ed. Yaʾir Shifman (Jerusalem, 2001), p. 381 and throughout. On the Deʿot, see the introductory remarks by Zonta Mauro in Un dizionario filosofico ebraico del XIII secolo. L'introduzione al Sefer Deʿot ha-Filosofim di Shem Tob ibn Falaquera, ed. and trans. Zonta Mauro (Torino, 1992) .

21 Only Abner's Minḥat Qenaʾot/Ofrenda de zelos seems to be primarily focused on philosophical discussions of determinism and free will and only secondarily on polemical issues, and even this work was the subject of acerbic responses by various writers. Charles Manekin has maintained that Abner's determinism was dependant on Ibn Sīnā's ideas about God's knowledge of particulars, arguing that Abner's determinism was “drawn mostly from the Stoics, Avicenna, and the astrologers” and Abner became “committed to Avicennan determinism as a young man.” See, respectively, Manekin Charles and Leaman Oliver (eds.), The Jewish Philosophy Reader (London, 2000), p. 246 ; and Manekin Charles (ed.), Medieval Jewish Philosophical Writings (Cambridge, 2007), p. xxi . For a summary of the arguments concerning determinism in the Minḥat and the responses by Isaac Polgar and Moses Narboni, see Yitzhak Baer, “Sefer Minḥat Qenaʾot of Abner of Burgos,” pp. 198–204; Sirat Colette, A History of Jewish Philosophy in the Middle Ages (Paris, 1990), pp. 308322 ; Manekin Charles H., “Hebrew philosophy in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: an overview,” in Frank Daniel H. and Leaman Oliver (eds.), History of Jewish Philosophy (London, 1997), pp. 350378 (366–9); and Feldman Seymour, “Divine omnipotence, omniscience, and human freedom,” in The Cambridge History of Jewish Philosophy: From Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge, 2008), pp. 659704 (pp. 685–91). Narboni's Maʾamar ha-Beḥirah (Treatise on Free Will), which contains his response to Abner's determinism, has been edited and translated by Maurice-Ruben Hayoun, “L'Épître du libre arbitre de Moïse de Narbone (ca. 1300-1362),” Revue des Études Juives, 141, nº 1–2 (1982): 139–67.

22 “E esto mostró el Auiçena encubiertamientre en la “Filosofia Oriental,” en que dixo que la sustançia del entendimiento obrador a ssetenta mill caras, e que en cada cara a setenta mill bocas, e en cada boca setenta mill lenguas, con que alaban ssienpre al Criador, e que aquella muchedunbre que pareçe non es muchedunbre segund uerdat.” Abner de Burgos, Mostrador, vol. I, p. 160 (folio 85v). All translations from Abner's Castilian works are mine unless noted otherwise. All Castilian texts follow Mettmann's editions.

23 See al-Ṭufayl Abū Bakr ibn, Ḥayy ben Yaqdhān. Roman philosophique d'Ibn Thofaïl, ed. and trans. Gauthier Léon (Beirut, 1936), p. 129 ; and the translation in Ibn Tufayl's Hayy ibn Yaqzān, trans. Lenn Evan Goodman (New York, 1972), p. 153. Cf. the Hebrew text in Hayoun Maurice-Ruben, “Moïse de Narbonne sur les sefirot, les sphères, et les intellects séparés. Edition critique d'un passage de son commentaire sur le Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān d'ibn Ṭufayl, avec introduction, traduction, et notes,” Jewish Quarterly Review, N.S. 76.2 (1985): 97147 (p. 120).

24 “[…] Escrivió el Abicepna [sic] en la ‘Philosofia Oriental’ [sic], que las obras que vienen de las cosas fformadas, quiere dezir que an fformas con que obren, non son por ellas ssegund verdat, nin sson dellas, mas sson de obrador que obra con ellas las obras que son anonbradas a ellas, e como el dezir del que dixo: ‘Ffuy oyr del que oyó comigo, e veer del que vio comigo.’ E dixo: ‘Non eché quando eché, mas Dios es el qui echó.’” See Ofrenda, p. 51 (folio 23ra).

25 See Hecht, “The polemical exchange,” p. 371 (folio 24a) and the translation on pp. 182–3. For the Castilian, see Teshuvot, ed. Mettmann, p. 39 (folio 52ra). In these citations, the text is attributed to Ibn Sīnā but the “Oriental Philosophy” is not named.

26 Ibn Ṭufayl's words are taken from the well-known ḥadīth al-nawāfil (“ḥadīth of supererogatory works”) from Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, Riqāq 38, on which see Graham W. A., Divine Word and Prophetic Word in Early Islam: A Reconsideration of the Sources, with Special Reference to the Divine Saying or Ḥadīth Qudsī (The Hague, 1977), p. 173 . Gershenzon Shoshanna, “A study of Teshuvot la-meḥaref by Abner of Burgos,” (Diss. Jewish Theological Seminary of New York, 1984), p. 266 , n. 41, mistakenly associates these citations in the Teshuvot with the mystic al-Ḥallāj.

27 See Ḥayy, ed. Gauthier, p. 74 and Ibn Tufayl's Hayy ibn Yaqzān, trans. Goodman, p. 127.

28 See Midrash Rabah ha-Mevoʾar, 7 vols. in 13 (Jerusalem, 1983), vol. I, pp. 544–56; and the translation in Midrash Rabbah, ed. and trans. H. Freedman, Maurice Simon, et al., 13 vols. (London, 1939), vol. I, p. 29.

29 “E la rrazon daquellos espejos e de aquellas fazes que nonbraron los sabios del Talmud, essa es misma la razon de los espejos e de las fazes que nonbró el Auicena en la ‘Filosofia oriental.’” See Mostrador, vol. I, pp. 234–5 (folio 123r). On the use of the parable of the mirror, see Hayoun, “Moïse de Narbonne sur les sefirot, les sphères, et les intellects séparés,” pp. 105–6 and the Hebrew text in Narboni's commentary on pp. 117–18. See also Altmann A., Studies in Religious Philosophy and Mysticism (London and Ithaca N.Y., 1969), p. 86 , n. 45; and Vajda Georges, Recherches sur la philosophie et la kabbale dans la pensée juive du moyen âge (Paris and The Hague, 1962), pp. 396403 (pp. 397–9).

30 See Ḥayy, ed. Gauthier, pp. 128-9, and Ibn Tufayl's Hayy ibn Yaqzān, trans. Goodman, p. 152. Cf. Hayoun, “Moïse de Narbonne sur les sefirot, les sphères, et les intellects séparés,” pp. 116–17.

31 “U-kemo she-ha-ḥakham ben sinʾa himshilo ʾel ha-shemesh ke-she-hayah medaber be-ʾotan ha-meʾorot ha-ʾelohiyot ba-filosofiʾa ha-mizraḥit […] u-ke-she-yiheye lo shum ribui ke-divrei ʾabu ḥaʾamid ve-loʾ yiheye paḥot min shnaim […] ve-le-kakh ʾamar ʾabu ḥamid hayah mah she-hayah mimah she-loʾ ʾazkireinu. Ve-ḥashov ṭov ve-loʾ tishʾal she-ʾagideinu.” See Hecht, “The polemical exchange,” p. 365 (folio 20b) and the translation on pp. 169-70, which I have altered slightly. All Hebrew citations follow Hecht's edition. The Castilian reads: “Et como el ssabio Auicena le asemejó al sol quando fablaua en aquellas luminarias diuinales en la ‘Philosophia Oriental’ […] Et auiendo en él alguna muchedu[n]bre, como dixo el Algazel, e la muchedunbre no es menos de dos […] Et por esso dixo el Algazel: ‘Es lo que es de lo que non nonbraré. E pienssa bien, e non preguntes que te lo diga.’” See Teshuvot, ed. Mettmann, pp. 33–4 (folio 50a). Cf. Mostrador, vol. II, p. 55 (folio 164r).

32 See Ḥayy, ed. Gauthier, p. 4, and Ibn Tufayl's Hayy ibn Yaqzān, trans. Goodman, p. 96.

33 “E por parte destas tres perssonas escriuió el Algazel en el ‘Libro de las lluminarias’ que aparesçió en su estudio profundado que la sustançia seruida […] es tollida della la unidat […] Ca aquel que es servido, el qual su conparaçion a todas las lunbrarias divinales ssegunt conparaçion del sol a todas las lunbrarias sentibles, non es otro ssinon Dios […].” See Mostrador, vol. I, p. 160 (folio 85v).

34 Al-Ghazālī, The Niche of Lights, ed. and trans. Buchman David (Provo, Utah, 1998), pp. 44 and 50 .

35 “To them it has been disclosed that the one who is obeyed is described by an attribute that contradicts sheer oneness and utmost perfection […] [It is also disclosed] that the relationship of this one who is obeyed is that of the sun among the lights.” See al-Ghazālī, The Niche of Lights, p. 51.

36 See Steinschneider, Die hebraeischen Uebersetzungen, pp. 345–8. The text was available in the translation of one Isaac ben Joseph al Fāsī from the 13th century, under the title “Maskit ha-ʾOrot be-Pardes ha-Niẓanim.”

37 Ibn Ṭufayl states, “After discussing those ‘veiled by light,’ [Al-Ghazālī] goes on to speak of those who achieve communion with the divine. He says they know this Being as characterized by an attribute which would tend to negate His utter unity.” See Ḥayy, ed. Gauthier, pp. 17–18, and Ibn Tufayl's Hayy ibn Yaqzān, trans. Goodman, p. 102.

38 “Aquel que es seruido […] non es otro ssinon Dios […] Platon le llamó ‘Uierbo de Dios,’ assi como el Auiçena le asemejó al sol en la ‘Filosofia oriental.’” Mostrador, vol. I, p. 160 (folio 85v).

39 See Hecht, “The polemical exchange,” p. 365 (folio 20b) and the translation on p. 169. For the Castilian, see Teshuvot, ed. Mettmann, pp. 33–4 (folio 50ra).

40 “E escriuió el Avicena que las intelligençias separadas non son Dios mismo, nin otra cosa, e que non son ellas almas de las esperas, nin otra cosa. E aseméjalas a la luz del sol, que esclaresçe sobre los cuerpos, que ello non es otra cosa sinon la luz del sol proporcionada al cuerpo. Que ssi se tolliese el cuerpo, tollerse-ýa su luz, de sin tollerse la luz.” See Mostrador, vol. I, p. 222 (folio 117r).

41 See Ḥayy, ed. Gauthier, p. 123, and Ibn Tufayl's Hayy ibn Yaqzān, trans. Goodman, p. 150. Cf. Hayoun, “Moïse de Narbonne sur les sefirot, les sphères, et les intellects séparés,” p. 120.

42 In a parallel passage in Libro de la ley, Abner states: “And as the sage Ibn Sīnā wrote, when the body on which the sun was shining was taken away, [the sun's] light was removed without removing its light. And also when it shines on it, its light will return without its light being returned.” (“E como lo escrivió el savio Aviçena que quando se tollió el cuerpo sobre que esclareçió el sol, tolliosse la su luz de ssin que sse tollió la luz; e assi quando esclareçiere sobrél, renovarse-a la su luz de ssin que sse renueve la luz.”) See Ofrenda, 99 (Ley folio 5v). This directly matches the rest of the passage from Ibn Ṭufayl cited above, although Abner seems to have misunderstood the text. Ibn Ṭufayl's explanation continues: “If an object comes along capable of taking on this type of light, then it receives it; if no such object is present there is no reflecting and no occasion for it.” See Ḥayy, ed. Gauthier, p. 123, and Ibn Tufayl's Hayy ibn Yaqzān, trans. Goodman, p. 150.

43 “Ve-khen katav ben sinʾa be-filosofiʾa ha-mizraḥit she-ʾamitut ʿeẓem ha-ʾadam ha-shalem hiʾ ʾamitut ʿeẓam ha-ʾeloha bli shum shinui ve-ḥiluf.” See Hecht, “The polemical exchange,” p. 371 (folio 23v) and the translation on pp. 180–1. The Castilian reads, “E assi escriuió el Auicena en la ‘Philosophia Oriental’ que la uerdaderia de la substancia del omne conplido, aquella es la uerdaderia de Dios, sin ningun mudamiento nin contrariedat.” See Teshuvot, ed. Mettmann, p. 38 (folio 51vb).

44 See Ofrenda de zelos, p. 111 (folio 10r), where he again mentions “filosofía oriental” explicitly.

45 “[…] la uerdaderia de la sustancia del omne conplido es la verdaderia de dios, ssin ningun demudamiento, como es prouado en la ‘Filosofía oriental.’” See Mostrador, vol. II, p. 55 (folio 164r).

46 “Dixo el Auicena por Hiel ben Huriel […] que el omne conplido es mester sin dubda que sea llamado ‘dios.’” Mostrador, vol. II, pp. 10–11 (folio 144r).

47 Ibn Sīnā's text is available in Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān, ed. Ahmad Amīn (Cairo, 1952), and has been translated by Corbin, Avicenna and the Visionary Recital, pp. 137–50. On Ibn ʿEzraʾ's translation, see Steinschneider, Die hebraeischen Uebersetzungen, pp. 285–6; and Aaron W. Hughes, The Texture of the Divine, pp. 21–3 and 119–25, as well as his English translation of the text on pp. 189–207. The Hebrew text, available in multiple manuscripts, has been published as ʾIggeret Ḥay ben Mekitz, ed. Israel Levin (Tel Aviv, 1983). For an example of Narboni's use of this title in his commentary on Ibn Ṭufayl's text, see the edition of Maurice-Ruben Hayoun, “Moses Narbonis (1300–1362) Kommentar zum Hayy ibn Yaqzan des ibn Tufayl (ob. 1185),” Trumah, 12 (2002): German Section, pp. 199–204 and Hebrew section, pp. 1–25 (Hebrew p. 2). The German introduction was printed in expanded form under the same title in Arnold Werner and Bobzin Hartmut (eds.), “Sprich doch mit deinen Knechten aramäisch, wir verstehen es!” 60 Beiträge zur Semitistik. Festschrift für Otto Jastrow zum 60. Geburtstag (Weisbaden, 2002), pp. 217235 .

48 Hayoun, “Moses Narbonis (1300–1362),” Hebrew p. 2. Because the date of the Castilian translation of the Mostrador from the original Hebrew is uncertain, and because Narboni is known to have completed his commentary in 1349, Abner's use of this title, “Yeḥiʾel ben ʿUriʾel” in the Mostrador could potentially be misunderstood as a change added into the Castilian translation in light of Narboni's text, thus dating the Castilian version of the Mostrador to after 1348. However, Abner uses this same name in the original Hebrew Teshuvot (See Hecht, “The polemical exchange,” p. 382 (folio 29b) and the translation on p. 210, and the Castilian Teshuvot, ed. Mettmann, p. 59 (folio 58ra)), in a section of the text found near another passage that closely repeats a passage from the Mostrador. These details indicate that Abner almost certainly used this title, “Yeḥiʾel ben ʿUriʾel,” in the original Hebrew of the Mostrador, the Moreh Ẓedek, thus suggesting that the use of this name for Ibn Ṭufayl's text predated Narboni's commentary by almost thirty years at least. Although we cannot say if this title was first used by Abner or in the Hebrew translator of Ibn Ṭufayl's text, we can conclude that Moses Narboni certainly took the title from an earlier source. See also the comments of Idel Moshe, Golem. Jewish Magical and Mystical Traditions on the Artificial Anthropoid (Albany, 1990), p. 190 , n. 49. We can also note that despite the suggestion a century and a half ago by Steinschneider (Die hebraeischen Uebersetzungen, p. 365) that the Hebrew translation of Ibn Ṭufayl's Ḥayy was anonymous and could be dated to the early fourteenth century, the error still persists that Narboni himself undertook this translation as part of his commentary in 1348–9. However, as Maurice-Ruben Hayoun notes, Narboni did not translate any of the works he commented upon, and the evidence provided by Abner's texts, above all the noteworthy mention of this Hebrew title by Narboni three decades later, further supports this chronology. See Hayoun Maurice-Ruben, “Le commentaire de Moïse de Narbonne (1300-1362) sur le Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān d'Ibn Ṭufayl (mort en 1185),” Archives d'histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge, 62 (Paris, 1988): 2398 (p. 26, n. 1); and id., La philosophie et la théologie de Moïse de Narbonne (1300–1362) (Tübingen, 1989), p. 39. Elsewhere in the Mostrador (vol. I, p. 22, folio 17r), Abner shows familiarity with the Arabic title as well, which he calls “Hay ben Yacsami.” Finally, we can emphasize that the question of the influence of Abner's ideas about Ibn Ṭufayl and Arabic philosophy in general on Narboni have yet to be investigated, but given Narboni's well-known direct response to Abner's determinisitic philosophy, such an influence is by no means unlikely. On Narboni's response to Abner's philosophy, see above, n. 21.

49 “E assi dixo el Auiçena que el omne conplido ha intelligençia separada, que si pudiesse ser que rrescibiesse partimiento la intelligencia postrimera […] que es dicha en nonbre proprio entendimiento obrador, diriamos que era parte della. E ssinon porque fue nueuamient despues que non fue, diriamos que ella es misma, e sinon porque sse aproprió en su cuerpo quando fue fecha de nueuo, diriamos que non fue fecha de nueuo, e que en esta manera son sustançias que fueron e despues sse arremataron, e que son con él en el ser ssin dubda, e que son sin fin en cuento, si pudiese sser dicho cuento en ellas, e que son todas vna, si pudiese ser dicho vna en ellas.” See Mostrador, vol. I, p. 223 (folio 117v).

50 See Ḥayy, ed. Gauthier, p. 130, and Ibn Tufayl's Hayy ibn Yaqzān, trans. Goodman, p. 153.

51 Another example of citations of Ibn Ṭufayl attributed to Ibn Sīnā without mention of the “Oriental philosophy” is Mostrador, vol. II, p. 16 (folio 146v), which seems to correspond to Ḥayy, ed. Gauthier, pp. 127–8, and Ibn Tufayl's Hayy ibn Yaqzān, trans. Goodman, p. 152. See above, n. 25, for another example from the Teshuvot.

52 For Narboni's mention of Ibn Sīnā and the “Oriental philosophy,” see Hayoun, “Moses Narbonis (1300–1362) Kommentar zum Hayy ibn Yaqzan,” Hebrew p. 3. See also Hayoun's comments on German p. 202.

53 There are well over a dozen manuscript copies of the Hebrew translation with Narboni's commentary. For a more complete listing, see Freimann Aaron, Union Catalog of Hebrew Manuscripts and Their Location, 2 vols. (New York, 1964 and 1973 ), vol. II, p. 39 (#943), p. 91 (#2395), and p. 119 (#3104-5); Maurice-Ruben Hayoun, “Le commentaire de Moïse de Narbonne,” pp. 28–9; and id., “Moses Narbonis (1300–1362) Kommentar zum Hayy ibn Yaqzan,” German pp. 201–2. On the text of Narboni's commentary, see also G. Vajda, “Comment le philosophe juif Moïse de Narbonne, commentateur d'Ibn Tufayl, comprenait-il les paroles extatiques (Šaṭaḥāt) des Soufis?” Actas del Primer Congreso de Estudios Árabes e Islámicos (Madrid, 1964), pp. 129–35; rpt. Mélanges Georges Vajda (Hildesheim, 1982), pp. 275–81; and Steinschneider, Die hebraeischen Uebersetzungen, pp. 363–66. The fullest consideration of the content of Narboni's commentary on Ibn Ṭufayl is Hayoun, “Le commentaire de Moïse de Narbonne”; and id., La philosophie et la théologie de Moïse de Narbonne (1300–1362), pp. 39–41, 137–9, 168–71, 179–85, 207–13, 242–45. The text itself was partly edited by Hayoun, “Moses Narbonis (1300-1362) Kommentar zum Hayy ibn Yaqzan,” Hebrew pp. 1–25.

54 “E assi como ffizo el ssabio Ben Tuffayl, quando contó ffazienda de Hylel ben Huriel, que en comienço del libro como que despreciaua al que dixo: ‘Alabado sso e enxalçado. ¡Quánto grande es el mi grado!’ e al que dixo: ‘Yo sso Dios.’ E despues alabaua mucho a lo que alcançó Yehiel en la ffin del ssu grant estudio santo que la uerdaderia de su sustancia era la uerdaderia de Dios ssin demudamiento ninguno.” See Mostrador, vol. II, p. 54 (folios 163v–164r). This passage closely resembles an earlier passage in the Mostrador, vol. I, p. 178 (folio 94r). Abner also repeats these citations again and names Ibn Ṭufayl directly on the following folio, Mostrador, vol. II, p. 57 (folio 164v), following the general allusion to this passage in vol. I, p. 196 (folio 104r). He elsewhere cites this without naming a source, for which see Hecht, “The polemical exchange,” p. 372 (folio 24r-v) and the translation on p. 183. For the Castilian, see Teshuvot, ed. Mettmann, p. 39 (folio 52ra).

55 For Abner's association of Ibn Sīnā with the title Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān, see Mostrador, vol. II, pp. 10–11 (folio 144r). On Ibn Sīnā's text, see above, n. 47.

56 A further example of this could possibly be provided by Abner's citations of Ibn Bājja, in which he seems to summarize, in confused fashion, Ibn Ṭufayl's references to him. Compare Mostrador, vol. I, p. 200 (folio 106r) and vol. I, p. 218 (folio 115); Libro de la ley, folio 10r, printed in Ofrenda, p. 111; Ofrenda, pp. 59–60, (folios 28vb–29ra); and Ḥayy, ed. Gauthier, p. 5 and Ibn Tufayl's Hayy ibn Yaqzān, trans. Goodman, p. 96. This possibility is supported by the fact that Abner clearly took his other citations from Ibn Bājja from Maimonides's Guide of the Perplexed, 1:74, suggesting that his direct exposure to Ibn Bājja's ideas may have been limited to what he found in other sources. Compare Mostrador, I, 212 (folio 112r) and Teshuvot in Hecht, pp. 351–2 (folio 14r) and the translation on p. 140, along with the Castilian in Teshuvot, ed. Mettmann, p. 23 (folio 46rb), and Maimonides, Dalālat al-ḥāʾirīn, text established by S. Munk, ed. Issachar Joel (Jerusalem, 5691/1930-1), p. 155; and Guide of the Perplexed, trans. S. Pines, (Chicago, 1963), See also Hecht's note, “The polemical exchange,” p. 140, n. 224.

57 Steinschneider notes that he cites it in his commentary on the Kawanot ha-filosofim, a Hebrew translation of al-Ghazālī's Maqāṣid al-Falāsifa, surviving in a multitude of manuscripts. See Steinschneider, Die hebraeischen Uebersetzungen, pp. 181 and 311–16.

58 Gutas explores this characterization in “Ibn Ṭufayl on Ibn Sīnā's eastern philosophy.”

59 On Abner's determinism and its alleged connection to Ibn Sīnā, see above n. 21.

* This research is part of a collaborative project entitled, “The Intellectual and Material Legacies of Late Medieval Sephardic Judaism: An Interdisciplinary Approach,” directed by Dr. Esperanza Alfonso (CSIC). I wish to thank the European Research Council for its support of this project with a four-year Starting Grant and to thank Dr. Alfonso for her ongoing coordination as Principle Investigator of the project and for inviting me to present on this research at the CSIC in October, 2009. I also wish to thank Edward Casey and Nathan Torreano for their editorial suggestions, Suzanne Akbari for organizing the “Semitic/Romance” panel at the 2008 MLA meeting where I read an earlier version of this essay, and the Yale Near Eastern Studies Colloquium where I first presented this material.

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