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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The Origin and Nature of Language and Logic: Perspectives in Medieval Islamic, Jewish, and Christian Thought, 2020
By: Nadja Germann (Ed.), Steven Harvey (Ed.)
Title The Origin and Nature of Language and Logic: Perspectives in Medieval Islamic, Jewish, and Christian Thought
Type Edited Book
Language undefined
Date 2020
Publication Place Turnhout
Publisher Brepols
Series Rencontres de Philosophie Médiévale
Volume 20
Categories Logic, Theology, Metaphysics, al-Fārābī, Aristotle, Avicenna, Maimonides
Author(s) Nadja Germann , Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
The annual colloquium of the SIEPM in Freiburg, Germany, was groundbreaking in that it featured a more or less equal number of talks on all three medieval cultures that contributed to the formation of Western philosophical thought: the Islamic, Jewish, and Christian traditions. Indeed, the subject of the colloquium, ‘The Origin and Nature of Language and Logic in Medieval Islamic, Jewish, and Christian Thought’, lent itself to such a cross-cultural approach. In all these traditions, partially inspired by ancient Greek philosophy, partially by other sources, language and thought, semantics and logic occupied a central place. As a result, the chapters of the present volume effortlessly traverse philosophical, religious, cultural, and linguistic boundaries and thus in many respects open up new perspectives. It should not be surprising if readers delight in chapters of a philosophical tradition outside of their own as much as they do in those in their area of expertise. Among the topics discussed are the significance of language for logic; the origin of language: inspiration or convention; imposition or coinage; the existence of an original language; the correctness of language; divine discourse; animal language; the meaningfulness of animal sounds; music as communication; the scope of dialectical disputation; the relation between rhetoric and demonstration; the place of logic and rhetoric in theology; the limits of human knowledge; the meaning of categories; the problem of metaphysical entailment; the need to disentangle the metaphysical implications of language; the quantification of predicates; and the significance of linguistic custom for judging logical propositions.

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The Supercommentaries of Gersonides and His Students on Averroes’s Epitomes of the Physics and Meteorology, 2020
By: Steven Harvey, Resianne Fontaine
Title The Supercommentaries of Gersonides and His Students on Averroes’s Epitomes of the Physics and Meteorology
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2020
Published in Gersonides’ Afterlife: Studies on the Reception of Levi ben Gerson’s Philosophical, Halakhic and Scientific Oeuvre in the 14th through 20th Centuries
Pages 47–78
Categories Commentary, Physics, Meteorology, Aristotle
Author(s) Steven Harvey , Resianne Fontaine
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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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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Are the Medieval Hebrew Translations of Averroes‘ Commentaries on Aristotle Still of Value and Worth Editing?, 2012
By: Steven Harvey
Title Are the Medieval Hebrew Translations of Averroes‘ Commentaries on Aristotle Still of Value and Worth Editing?
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2012
Published in The Letter before the Spirit. The Importance of Text Editions for the Study of the Reception of Aristotle
Pages 195–210
Categories no categories
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)

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Alfarabi, Averroes, and the Medieval Islamic Understanding of Phrónesis., 2012
By: Steven Harvey
Title Alfarabi, Averroes, and the Medieval Islamic Understanding of Phrónesis.
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2012
Published in Phrónesis. Die Tugend der Geisteswissenschaften? Beiträge zur rationalen Methode in den Geisteswissenschaften
Pages xxx
Categories al-Fārābī
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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Jewish Philosophy on the Eve of the Age of Averroism. Ibn Daud's Necessary Existent and his Use of Avicennian Science, 2011
By: Resianne Fontaine, Steven Harvey
Title Jewish Philosophy on the Eve of the Age of Averroism. Ibn Daud's Necessary Existent and his Use of Avicennian Science
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2011
Published in In the Age of Averroes. Arabic Philosophy in the Sixth/Twelfth Century
Pages 215-277
Categories Avicenna, Jewish Averroism, Influence
Author(s) Resianne Fontaine , Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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Similarities and differences among Averroes' three commentaries on Aristotle's Physics, 2011
By: Steven Harvey
Title Similarities and differences among Averroes' three commentaries on Aristotle's Physics
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2011
Published in La lumière de l'intellect. La pensée scientifique et philosophique d'Averroès dans son temps. Actes du IVe colloque international de la SIHSPAI (Société internationale d'histoire des sciences et de la philosophie arabes et islamiques). Cordoue, 9–12 décembre 1998
Pages 81–97
Categories Commentary, Physics
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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When Did Jews Begin to Consider Averroes the Commentator?, 2009
By: Steven Harvey
Title When Did Jews Begin to Consider Averroes the Commentator?
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2009
Published in Florilegium mediaevale. Études offertes à Jacqueline Hamesse à l'occasion de son éméritat
Pages 279–296
Categories Commentary, Jewish Averroism
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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Alfarabi, Averroes, and the Medieval Islamic Understanding of Phrónesis., 2012
By: Steven Harvey
Title Alfarabi, Averroes, and the Medieval Islamic Understanding of Phrónesis.
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2012
Published in Phrónesis. Die Tugend der Geisteswissenschaften? Beiträge zur rationalen Methode in den Geisteswissenschaften
Pages xxx
Categories al-Fārābī
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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Arabic into Hebrew. The Hebrew Translation Movement and the Influence of Averroes upon Medieval Jewish Thought, 2003
By: Steven Harvey
Title Arabic into Hebrew. The Hebrew Translation Movement and the Influence of Averroes upon Medieval Jewish Thought
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2003
Published in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Jewish Philosophy
Pages 258–280
Categories Tradition and Reception
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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Are the Medieval Hebrew Translations of Averroes‘ Commentaries on Aristotle Still of Value and Worth Editing?, 2012
By: Steven Harvey
Title Are the Medieval Hebrew Translations of Averroes‘ Commentaries on Aristotle Still of Value and Worth Editing?
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2012
Published in The Letter before the Spirit. The Importance of Text Editions for the Study of the Reception of Aristotle
Pages 195–210
Categories no categories
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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Averroes on the Principles of Nature. The Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Physics I-II, 1977
By: Averroes, Steven Harvey (Ed.)
Title Averroes on the Principles of Nature. The Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Physics I-II
Type Monograph
Language undefined
Date 1977
Publication Place Cambridge (Mass.)
Categories Physics
Author(s) Averroes , Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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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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Conspicuous by His Absence. Averroes' Place Today as an Interpreter of Aristotle, 1999
By: Steven Harvey
Title Conspicuous by His Absence. Averroes' Place Today as an Interpreter of Aristotle
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 1999
Published in Averroes and the Aristotelian Tradition. Sources, Constitution and Reception of the Philosophy of Ibn Rushd (1126–1198). Proceedings of the Fourth Symposium Averroicum (Cologne, 1996)
Pages 32–49
Categories Modern Readings
Author(s) Steven Harvey
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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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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