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' 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' 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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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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