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almost entirely independent of the Arabic translations: Buhle CHAP. I. and Tiedemann advocated a contrary opinion ; Tennemann attempted to reconcile the opposing hypotheses; but it was reserved for M. Jourdain, in his essay first published early of M. Amable in the present century, to arrive by a series of lengthened and laborious investigations at those conclusions which have, with a few qualifications, been now almost universally accepted.
The method employed by Jourdain was to take, in turn, Method of the writings of each of the schoolmen, and carefully to tions. compare whatever quotations presented themselves from Aristotle with the earliest Latin versions we possess; thus enabled not only satisfactorily to determine the period to which the introduction of the Aristotelian philosophy must be referred, but also the sources to which each writer was indebted. As regarded the earlier Aristotle, the translations by Augustine and Boethius were, of course, easily distinguishable from those of the later period; for, besides the evidence afforded by the character of the writing and the abbreviations employed, the former translations possessed a certain elegance and freedom, while the latter were characterised by extreme literalness, ----a word for word substitution of Latin for Greek which often greatly added to the obscurity of the original. Technical terms, moreover, were left untranslated, being merely transcribed, though the Latin supplied a perfectly satisfactory equivalent. An equally trustworthy test enabled him to distinguish the versions from the Greek from the versions from the Arabic; for, in the latter, he frequently found that Greek words which, in the absence of an Arabic equivalent, had been retained in the original version, were incorrectly spelt in the Latin translation; sometimes too the translator in ignorance of the precise meaning of an Arabic word, left it standing
1 Mr Hallam's short note (Litera. ture of Europe, 17 69) recognising Jourdain's researches, does but scant justice to their thoroughness and ability. Charles Jourdain, in his preface to the edition of 1813, tells
us that long and tedious labour, on
Results established by his
CHAP. I. untranslated. In many cases again considerable collateral
light was afforded by the divisions of the chapters ; in the Metaphysics, for instance, and the treatise on Meteors, the division of the Arabic version differed from that of the manuscript employed by the translator from the Greek, and the discrepancy, of course, reappeared in the corresponding Latin versions.
The conclusions Jourdain was thus enabled to establish, researches. were, in substance, chiefly as follow :-Up to the com
mencement of the thirteenth century neither the philosophy of Aristotle nor the labours of his Arabian commentators and translators appear to have been known to the Schoolmen. There were, it is true, translations of Avicenna and Alfarabi by Gondisalvi, coming into circulation about the middle of the twelfth century, but they failed to attract the attention of the learned in France and England. Daneus remarks that the name of Aristotle never once occurs in the Master of the Sentences'. But by the year 1272, or two years before the death of Thomas Aquinas, the whole of Aristotle's writings, in versions either from the Greek or the Arabic, had become known to Western Europe. Within a period therefore of less than three quarters of a century, this philosophy, so far as regards Christendom, passes from a state of almost complete obscuration to one of almost perfect revelation. A further attention to ascertained facts enables us yet more accurately to determine the character of these translations and the order of their appearance, and adds considerable illustration to the whole history of the establishment of those relations of the Aristotelian philosophy with the Church which constitute so important a feature in the developement of this age.
With regard to the sources from whence the respective philosophy of
translations were derived, it is in harmony with what we duced from should be disposed to expect from the attention paid by
the Arabians to natural science, that we find it was chiefly the natural philosophy of Aristotle that was made known through their agency to Europe, and constituted consequently
1 Prolegomena in Petri Lomb. Sententias, Lib. 1 Geneva, 1580.
Aristotle chiefly intro
of the ver
the earlier known portion of the newly imported learning. CHAP. L The Physics, the History of Animals, the De Plantis, the treatise on Meteorology, were among the number; the translation by Michael Scot of the De Anima must, when considered in connexion with the Arabic interpretation of the theory of the treatise, be added to the list; a complete translation of the Ethics alone representing the other class of Aristotle's writings. The translations from the Greek, on the other hand, included the earliest version of the De Anima, the Metaphysics, the Magna Moralia, the first four books of the Ethics, the Politics, the Rhetoric and the Poetics; among the scientific treatises were the Parva Naturalia and some others of minor importance.
So soon however as the translations from the Greek Superiority became more generally obtainable, they rapidly displaced sions from the the preceding versions. Of this the reason is not difficult those from to perceive. If the versions from the Greek by James of Venice, John of Basingstoke, and William of Moerbecke, were painful froin their extreme literalness", those from the Arabic by Hermann the German, Adelard of Bath, and Michael Scot, lay under the still more serious defect of having been filtered through the medium of some half-dozen preceding versions. It is an ascertained fact that the Arabic translations were invariably made from Hebrew or Syriac manuscripts?. Even Averroes, who was supposed by Jourdain to have translated Aristotle into Arabic directly from the Greek, has been shown by later investigators to have been entirely ignorant of the latter language. The statement of Renan leaves us almost bewildered as we seek to realise account of the labyrinth which the thought of Aristotle was thus doomed to traverse :-'Quant à la barbarie du langage d'Averroës, peut-on s'en étonner quand on songe que les
1.Où le mot latin couvre le mot arabes sur des versions hébraïques.' grec, de même que les pièces de Averroès et l'Averröisme, p. 203. l'echiquier s'appliquent sur les cases.' 3 Ibn-Rosehd n'a lu Aristote que Jourdain, Recherches Critiques, p. 19. dans les anciennes versions faites du
9 Renan says, “Au XII et au XIII syriaque par Honein Ibn-Ishak, Ishak siècle, les traductions se faisaient ben-Honein, Iahja ben-Adi, etc.' Ibid. toujours directement de l'arabe. Ce
See also Munk, Mélanges de ne fut que beaucoup plus tard qu'on Philosophie Juive et Arabe, pp. 431, se mit à traduire les philosophes 432.
Difficulties of the Church
CHLAP. 1. éditions imprimées de ses œuvres n'offrent qu'une traduction
latine d'une traduction hebraique d'une commentaire fait sur une traduction arabe d'une traduction syriaque d'un texte grec; quand on songe surtout au génie si différent des langues sémitiques et de la langue grecque, et à l'extrême subtilité du texte qu'il s'agissait d'éclaircir '?'
It was naturally to be anticipated that, with the strong with more prepossession in favour of Aristotle which his traditional philosophy. authority as a logician had secured, and which, as Jourdain
remarks, had created a disposition to regard his dicta as well nigh infallible in every field of knowledge”, this new literature would at once command attention and form an important contribution to the speculative philosophy of the age.
When we remember moreover that the Arabians in their commentaries, by the light of which, as we have already seen, this new learning was first studied, extolled or interpreted the Aristotelian decisions with but little regard to their antagonism to the Christian faith, we perceive that there was far greater probability that those decisions would be received and adopted under the impulse of a first enthusiasın rather than upon such reflexion as a more deliberate estimate might suggest. It must also be remembered that the traditional hostility to pagan learning inculcated by Gregory, Alcuin, and Lanfranc, pointed more at the licentiousness of the poets than at the dogmas of the philosophers. The bitter invectives of Tertullian against Greek philosophy would have seemed well nigh unintelligible to an age wherein that philosophy had almost passed from men's memories, or what remained of it had been received into the bosom of the Church ; wherein Boethius passed for a Christian writer, and Plato taught sheltered under the authority of Augustine; while Seneca, if studied, simply enforced the rules of a virtuous life from a somewhat different standpoint; and Cicero, to use the expression of Niebuhr, was a Ocòs åywotos whose attributes were but dimly apprehended. Here however like Minerva from the CHAP. I. bead of Jupiter, had suddenly appeared an entire and symmetrical philosophy,—a system the cunningly contrived fabric of which permitted not the rejection of a part without danger to the stability of the whole ; a theory of ethics, harmonious and admirably developed ; a psychology, somewhat at variance with the schoolman's notions, but coherent and well defined ; conjectural solutions in metaphysics, far less harmonious and intelligible, but full of attraction for the dialectician; theories of government for the statesman; treatises on nearly every class of natural phenomena for the investigator of physical science. It seemed equally perilous to admit and to repudiate stores of learning sanctioned by such authority but yet opening up to such dangerous speculation. The ecclesiastic and the scholar, we may well understand, were torn by contending emotions.
1 Averroès et Averröisme, p. 52.
9 'La réputation dont Aristote jouissait, comme logicien, donnait une telle extension à son autorité
qu'on le regardait comme un maitre infallible en toute espèce de science.' Recherches Critiques, etc., p. 3.
It is due to the intolerant sagacity of the Church of Early hostia Rome to acknowledge that she soon detected the hostile element latent in the new philosophy. Very early in the century her denunciations were distinctly pronounced. In the year 1210, at a council convened at Paris, certain
portions of the scientific treatises were condemned', and it was forbidden either to teach or to read the commentaries by which they were accompanied. M. Jourdain has shown that these were undoubtedly translations from the Arabic, and we may readily admit the hypothesis that their condemnation was the result rather of the pantheistic interpretations of the commentators than of the opinions of Aristotle himself?. It is evident indeed that however much the Crusades may have been instrumental in bringing about that intercourse which led to the introduction of the new learning, the feelings they evoked necessarily disposed the Church to regard all Saracenic thought as hostile to the faith. Nor
1 Launoy (see De Varia Aristotelis in Scholis Protestantium Fortuna, c. 1) relying on the authority of Rigordus has asserted that it was the Metaphysics that were condemned on this occasion; but Jourdain has adduced the sentence itself, wherein it
is expressly stated that they are libri Aristotelis de naturali philosophia. Recherches Critiques, p. 190.
2 See chapter entitled Commentaires sur Aristote in La Philosophie de Saint Thomas d'Aquin, by Charles Jourdain, 1 83.