Did Maimonides Recommend Reading Averroes’ Commentaries on Aristotle?, 2021
By: Steven Harvey
Title Did Maimonides Recommend Reading Averroes’ Commentaries on Aristotle?
Type Article
Language English
Date 2021
Journal Jewish Studies Quarterly
Volume 28
Issue 2
Pages 159–190
Categories Maimonides, Commentary
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
An article published in 2016 by Doron Forte claimed that the universally cited version of the concluding bibliographical section of Maimonides' letter to the translator of the Guide of the Perplexed, Samuel Ibn Tibbon, is both late and corrupt (Jewish Studies Quarterly 23). This claim entails that Maimonides did not recommend Averroes' commentaries on Aristotle in the letter. The current paper argues against this claim. It comprises seven considerations: two philological (based on testimonia Forte chose to ignore), two terminological and three just common sense. I present these considerations as complementary, one supporting the other, that together make clear that the most-often cited version of the letter is very old, the most reliable and likely the most authentic version. In fact, current evidence now points to Ibn Tibbon as the translator of this version, which shows that Maimonides indeed recommended Averroes' commentaries in this letter.

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Averroes ex Averroe: Uncovering Ṭodros Ṭodrosi’s Method of Commenting on the Commentator, 2021
By: Steven Harvey, Oded Horezky
Title Averroes ex Averroe: Uncovering Ṭodros Ṭodrosi’s Method of Commenting on the Commentator
Type Article
Language English
Date 2021
Journal Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism
Volume 21
Issue 1
Pages 7-78
Categories Commentary, Tradition and Reception
Author(s) Steven Harvey , Oded Horezky
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
Our paper studies one of the most interesting manuscripts of medieval Jewish philosophy, a unicum that is housed in the British Library, Heb MS Add 27559. This fascinating manuscript, in part a version of a work compiled by Ṭodros Ṭodrosi, in Trinquetaille in the 1330s, is a Hebrew anthology of logical and scientific texts, written by Greek and Arabic philosophers, some of which are translated into Hebrew for the first time by Ṭodros. The paper sheds new light on this manuscript through an examination of the section on natural science that Ṭodros devoted to the study and explanation of Aristotle’s Physics and which comprises more than a third of the entire manuscript. We uncover Ṭodros’s aims and methodology in this section on physics (and, to some extent, in other sections as well), and sketch a clear picture of the ways in which Ṭodros intended to assist his contemporary readers in the study of natural science. The paper contributes to our knowledge of the fundamental status of Averroes’s middle commentaries on the Corpus Aristotelicum among medieval Jewish scholars, as well as to our growing awareness and appreciation of the achievements of a remarkable, young, fourteenth-century Provençal scholar, Ṭodros Ṭodrosi. It concludes with three appendices, two of which compare Ṭodros’s text with parallel passages in the Hebrew translations of Averroes’s commentaries, and a third which provides a detailed description of the British Library manuscript.

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Averroes' Middle Commentary on Book I of the Nicomachean Ethics, 2014
By: Steven Harvey, Frédérique Woerther
Title Averroes' Middle Commentary on Book I of the Nicomachean Ethics
Type Article
Language English
Date 2014
Journal Oriens
Volume 42
Issue 1-2
Pages 254-287
Categories Aristotle, Nicomachean ethics, Commentary
Author(s) Steven Harvey , Frédérique Woerther
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
The conventional view of the previous century that Averroes’ middle commentaries (talāḫīṣ) on Aristotle are all of the same form and style is no longer tenable. A full and accurate account of the similarities and differences among Averroes’ talāḫīṣ on Aristotle must consider all of them. Perhaps the least studied and least known of these middle commentaries is the one on the Nicomachean Ethics, a text which is extant today only in a critically edited medieval Hebrew translation and an as yet unedited medieval Latin translation. The two authors of the present article have each studied chapters of this commentary independently of each other and have reached different conclusions concerning its value. In this article they present a careful examination of the first book of Averroes’ commentary via its Hebrew translation and Latin translation (primarily through the two oldest and most reliable manuscripts of it) in comparison with the medieval Arabic translation of the Nicomachean Ethics that was used by Averroes (and in light of Aristotle’s Greek text). This study shows an Averroean middle commentary that is not very original and not particularly helpful, especially, for example, when compared to the quite different middle commentaries on Aristotle’s books on natural science. Indeed, he often seems to do little more than copy—not even paraphrase—the Arabic translation. On the other hand, Averroes does not hesitate to insert words as he copies in order to make the text clearer and easier to understand. Where lengthier explanations are needed, they too are attempted, at times in response to problematic translations in the Arabic text before him.

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Reflections on Ruth Glasner's Averroes' Physics, 2012
By: Steven Harvey
Title Reflections on Ruth Glasner's Averroes' Physics
Type Article
Language English
Date 2012
Journal Aleph. Historical Studies in Science & Judaism
Volume 12
Issue 2
Pages 403–412
Categories Physics, Review
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
Review of Ruth Glasner, Averroes’ Physics: A Turning Point in Medieval Natural Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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On the Nature and Extent of Jewish Averroism. Renan's 'Averroès et l'averroïsme' Revisited, 2000
By: Steven Harvey
Title On the Nature and Extent of Jewish Averroism. Renan's 'Averroès et l'averroïsme' Revisited
Type Article
Language English
Date 2000
Journal Jewish Studies Quarterly
Volume 7
Pages 100–119
Categories Averroism, Jewish Averroism
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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Averroes' Use of Examples in his Middle Commentary on the Prior Analytics and Some Remarks on his Role as Commentator, 1997
By: Steven Harvey
Title Averroes' Use of Examples in his Middle Commentary on the Prior Analytics and Some Remarks on his Role as Commentator
Type Article
Language English
Date 1997
Journal Arabic Sciences and Philosophy
Volume 7
Pages 91–113
Categories Logic
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
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.

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The Hebrew Translation of Averroes' Prooemium to his Long Commentary on Aristotle's Physics, 1985
By: Steven Harvey
Title The Hebrew Translation of Averroes' Prooemium to his Long Commentary on Aristotle's Physics
Type Article
Language English
Date 1985
Journal Proceedings of the American Academy of Jewish Research
Volume 52
Pages 55–84
Categories Physics, Commentary, Aristotle
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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A 14th Century Kabbalist's Excerpt from the Lost Arabic Original of Averroes' Middle Commentary on the Physics, 1985
By: Steven Harvey
Title A 14th Century Kabbalist's Excerpt from the Lost Arabic Original of Averroes' Middle Commentary on the Physics
Type Article
Language English
Date 1985
Journal Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam
Volume 6
Pages 219–227
Categories Physics, Commentary, Aristotle
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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A unique Averroes MS in the British Museum, 1982
By: Steven Harvey
Title A unique Averroes MS in the British Museum
Type Article
Language English
Date 1982
Journal Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
Volume 45
Pages 571–574
Categories Transmission
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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A 14th Century Kabbalist's Excerpt from the Lost Arabic Original of Averroes' Middle Commentary on the Physics, 1985
By: Steven Harvey
Title A 14th Century Kabbalist's Excerpt from the Lost Arabic Original of Averroes' Middle Commentary on the Physics
Type Article
Language English
Date 1985
Journal Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam
Volume 6
Pages 219–227
Categories Physics, Commentary, Aristotle
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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A unique Averroes MS in the British Museum, 1982
By: Steven Harvey
Title A unique Averroes MS in the British Museum
Type Article
Language English
Date 1982
Journal Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
Volume 45
Pages 571–574
Categories Transmission
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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Averroes ex Averroe: Uncovering Ṭodros Ṭodrosi’s Method of Commenting on the Commentator, 2021
By: Steven Harvey, Oded Horezky
Title Averroes ex Averroe: Uncovering Ṭodros Ṭodrosi’s Method of Commenting on the Commentator
Type Article
Language English
Date 2021
Journal Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism
Volume 21
Issue 1
Pages 7-78
Categories Commentary, Tradition and Reception
Author(s) Steven Harvey , Oded Horezky
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
Our paper studies one of the most interesting manuscripts of medieval Jewish philosophy, a unicum that is housed in the British Library, Heb MS Add 27559. This fascinating manuscript, in part a version of a work compiled by Ṭodros Ṭodrosi, in Trinquetaille in the 1330s, is a Hebrew anthology of logical and scientific texts, written by Greek and Arabic philosophers, some of which are translated into Hebrew for the first time by Ṭodros. The paper sheds new light on this manuscript through an examination of the section on natural science that Ṭodros devoted to the study and explanation of Aristotle’s Physics and which comprises more than a third of the entire manuscript. We uncover Ṭodros’s aims and methodology in this section on physics (and, to some extent, in other sections as well), and sketch a clear picture of the ways in which Ṭodros intended to assist his contemporary readers in the study of natural science. The paper contributes to our knowledge of the fundamental status of Averroes’s middle commentaries on the Corpus Aristotelicum among medieval Jewish scholars, as well as to our growing awareness and appreciation of the achievements of a remarkable, young, fourteenth-century Provençal scholar, Ṭodros Ṭodrosi. It concludes with three appendices, two of which compare Ṭodros’s text with parallel passages in the Hebrew translations of Averroes’s commentaries, and a third which provides a detailed description of the British Library manuscript.

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Averroes' Middle Commentary on Book I of the Nicomachean Ethics, 2014
By: Steven Harvey, Frédérique Woerther
Title Averroes' Middle Commentary on Book I of the Nicomachean Ethics
Type Article
Language English
Date 2014
Journal Oriens
Volume 42
Issue 1-2
Pages 254-287
Categories Aristotle, Nicomachean ethics, Commentary
Author(s) Steven Harvey , Frédérique Woerther
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
The conventional view of the previous century that Averroes’ middle commentaries (talāḫīṣ) on Aristotle are all of the same form and style is no longer tenable. A full and accurate account of the similarities and differences among Averroes’ talāḫīṣ on Aristotle must consider all of them. Perhaps the least studied and least known of these middle commentaries is the one on the Nicomachean Ethics, a text which is extant today only in a critically edited medieval Hebrew translation and an as yet unedited medieval Latin translation. The two authors of the present article have each studied chapters of this commentary independently of each other and have reached different conclusions concerning its value. In this article they present a careful examination of the first book of Averroes’ commentary via its Hebrew translation and Latin translation (primarily through the two oldest and most reliable manuscripts of it) in comparison with the medieval Arabic translation of the Nicomachean Ethics that was used by Averroes (and in light of Aristotle’s Greek text). This study shows an Averroean middle commentary that is not very original and not particularly helpful, especially, for example, when compared to the quite different middle commentaries on Aristotle’s books on natural science. Indeed, he often seems to do little more than copy—not even paraphrase—the Arabic translation. On the other hand, Averroes does not hesitate to insert words as he copies in order to make the text clearer and easier to understand. Where lengthier explanations are needed, they too are attempted, at times in response to problematic translations in the Arabic text before him.

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Averroes' Use of Examples in his Middle Commentary on the Prior Analytics and Some Remarks on his Role as Commentator, 1997
By: Steven Harvey
Title Averroes' Use of Examples in his Middle Commentary on the Prior Analytics and Some Remarks on his Role as Commentator
Type Article
Language English
Date 1997
Journal Arabic Sciences and Philosophy
Volume 7
Pages 91–113
Categories Logic
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
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.

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Did Maimonides Recommend Reading Averroes’ Commentaries on Aristotle?, 2021
By: Steven Harvey
Title Did Maimonides Recommend Reading Averroes’ Commentaries on Aristotle?
Type Article
Language English
Date 2021
Journal Jewish Studies Quarterly
Volume 28
Issue 2
Pages 159–190
Categories Maimonides, Commentary
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
An article published in 2016 by Doron Forte claimed that the universally cited version of the concluding bibliographical section of Maimonides' letter to the translator of the Guide of the Perplexed, Samuel Ibn Tibbon, is both late and corrupt (Jewish Studies Quarterly 23). This claim entails that Maimonides did not recommend Averroes' commentaries on Aristotle in the letter. The current paper argues against this claim. It comprises seven considerations: two philological (based on testimonia Forte chose to ignore), two terminological and three just common sense. I present these considerations as complementary, one supporting the other, that together make clear that the most-often cited version of the letter is very old, the most reliable and likely the most authentic version. In fact, current evidence now points to Ibn Tibbon as the translator of this version, which shows that Maimonides indeed recommended Averroes' commentaries in this letter.

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On the Nature and Extent of Jewish Averroism. Renan's 'Averroès et l'averroïsme' Revisited, 2000
By: Steven Harvey
Title On the Nature and Extent of Jewish Averroism. Renan's 'Averroès et l'averroïsme' Revisited
Type Article
Language English
Date 2000
Journal Jewish Studies Quarterly
Volume 7
Pages 100–119
Categories Averroism, Jewish Averroism
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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Reflections on Ruth Glasner's Averroes' Physics, 2012
By: Steven Harvey
Title Reflections on Ruth Glasner's Averroes' Physics
Type Article
Language English
Date 2012
Journal Aleph. Historical Studies in Science & Judaism
Volume 12
Issue 2
Pages 403–412
Categories Physics, Review
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
Review of Ruth Glasner, Averroes’ Physics: A Turning Point in Medieval Natural Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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The Hebrew Translation of Averroes' Prooemium to his Long Commentary on Aristotle's Physics, 1985
By: Steven Harvey
Title The Hebrew Translation of Averroes' Prooemium to his Long Commentary on Aristotle's Physics
Type Article
Language English
Date 1985
Journal Proceedings of the American Academy of Jewish Research
Volume 52
Pages 55–84
Categories Physics, Commentary, Aristotle
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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