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Avicenna, Book of the Healing, Isagoge (“Madḫal”) : Edition of the Arabic text, English translation and Commentary

Abstract : The thesis deals with a section of the major philosophical summa by Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā, d. 1037), namely the Book of the Healing (Kitāb al-Šifāʾ). The summa is structured into four parts, devoted to Logic, Natural Philosophy, Mathematics and Metaphysics; the section at stake is Avicenna’s reworking of Porphyry’s Isagoge (Kitāb al-Madḫal, i.e. “Book of the Introduction”) opening the section of Logic of the Šifāʾ. The thesis is articulated into three main parts, namely (i) an edition of the Arabic text of Avicenna’s Madḫal, (ii) an English translation and (iii) a systematic commentary; these three main parts are preceded by an Introduction (0) divided into two halves: (0a) a General Introduction focused on the doctrinal major innovations of the work and (0b) an Introduction to the Edition of the text, which offers a first comprehensive study of its direct and early indirect tradition and explains the criteria of the edition. (i) The only previous edition of Avicenna’s Madḫal was the one printed in Cairo in 1952 (then reprinted in Tehran in 1983 and in Beirut in 1993), based on ten manuscripts. The huge manuscript tradition of Avicenna’s Madḫal – and, more in general, of Avicenna’s Book of the Healing – is still a matter of investigation. According to the provisional results of the bibliographical research conducted in the present work, it can be estimated that the manuscript tradition of the Madḫal amounts to at least 119 certain witnesses and 14 possible additional witnesses (as explained in the Introduction to the edition, 0b). The text of the Cairo edition, far from being representative of the whole textual tradition, was reconstructed on the basis of ten manuscripts that were not selected on the basis of philological criteria and whose reciprocal stemmatic relations were not clear. Although a critical edition based on all the 119 certain witnesses of the work exceeds the scope of the present work, the edition provided in the thesis takes into account a larger number of manuscripts than the Cairo edition did and, most importantly, selects them by means of a preliminary collation made on portions of the text. The purpose of this preliminary collation is making the selection of the manuscripts employed less arbitrary and providing a reconstruction of their stemmatic relations (in the Introduction, 0b). Overall, 32 manuscripts among the 68 inspected were employed in the edition here proposed, 21 of which were systematically collated and 11 were eliminated as codices descripti. The present edition also assumes as a witness the twelfth-century Latin translation of the work, which is, at the present moment, among the earliest extant witnesses of the text. Hopefully, this editorial work allowed us to improve the text of the Cairo edition in a number of points that are crucial to the correct understanding of Avicenna’s argumentation. (ii) As this project started, complete translations of Avicenna’s Madḫal in modern languages were only available in Turkish and Russian. Chapters of the work had also been translated in other languages, but an English translation of the whole work was still a desideratum. A complete English translation is provided in the thesis, based on the newly-established Arabic text of the work and aiming at preserving the major possible consistency in rendering the relevant philosophical terms. As a complement to the translation, an apparatus of notes is offered to facilitate the immediate understanding of the text. (iii) The third section of the thesis consists in a systematic commentary on Avicenna’s Madḫal, which is meant to support a deeper understanding of the text in its entirety. The commentary deals with both historical and philosophical aspects; more in detail, it includes an analysis and an identification, when possible, of Avicenna’s sources, and underlines the points of major philosophical interest of the work, which are dealt in a more comprehensive manner in the General Introduction (0a).
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Contributor : Silvia Di Vincenzo Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Saturday, July 23, 2022 - 12:23:06 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 28, 2022 - 4:20:11 PM


  • HAL Id : tel-03737116, version 1



Silvia Di Vincenzo. Avicenna, Book of the Healing, Isagoge (“Madḫal”) : Edition of the Arabic text, English translation and Commentary. History, Philosophy and Sociology of Sciences. EPHE-PSL Research University.; Scuola normale superiore (Pise, Italie). Classe di lettere e filosofia, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : ⟩. ⟨tel-03737116⟩



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