Potestas Essendi

Gundissalinus’s Psychological Reflection (AAIWF/RS-3)

The third video-lecture of the research seminar The Penetration of Arabic Philosophy into the Latin Philosophical Tradition (1162-1215) is online [GO to the seminar webpage]. The seminar, organised by the Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group (AAIWG) is composed of four video-lectures that will be uploaded on the dedicated Youtube channel during the next weeks.

Following the examination of the main metaphysical problems with which Gundissalinus dealt in his cosmological works (see AAIWG/RS-2), the third lecture of the research seminar is dedicated to the analysis of Gundissalinus’s discussion of psychology. The lecture exposes the main features presented by Gundissalinus in his De anima, and the peculiarities on the use of his Arabic and Latin sources, regarding the four main themes discussed in Gundissalinus’s writing: the existence of the soul, its ontological composition, its origin and immortality, and the psychological faculties.

Rappresentazioni della Natura nel Medioevo

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Cross-Cultura Perspectives on Medieval Philosophy

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Bibliography (Primary sources):

  • Gundissalinus, De processione mundi, English translation by J.A. Laumakis, The Procession of the World, Milwaukee 2002.
  • Ibn Gabirol, The Font of Life, English translation by J.A. Laumakis, Milwaukee 2014.
  • Avicenna, The Metaphysics of the Healing, English translation by M.E. Marmura, Provo 2005.
  • Hermann of Carinthia, De essentiis, critical edition and English translation by Ch. Burnett, Leiden 1982.

Dominicus Gundissalinus: Metaphysics and Cosmology (AAIWG/RS-2)

The second video-lecture of the research seminar The Penetration of Arabic Philosophy into the Latin Philosophical Tradition (1162-1215) is online [GO to the seminar webpage]. The seminar, organised by the Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group (AAIWG) is composed of four video-lectures that will be uploaded on the dedicated Youtube channel during the next weeks.

This lecture examines the metaphysical and cosmological reflection by Dominicus Gundissalinus (1125ca.-1190ca.), translator from Arabic into Latin and original philosopher active in Toledo in the second half of the twelfth century. After a short exposition of the contents and theoretical developments of Gundissalinus’s two cosmological writings – De unitate et uno and De processione mundi – the focus is centred on the peculiarities of Gundissalinus’s interpretation of the Arabic sources he used, and particularly Avicenna and Ibn Gabirol, and Gundissalinus’s attempt at assimilating their metaphysical doctrines into the Latin philosophical tradition. Particular attention is also paid to the progressive problematization of Ibn Gabirol’s ontology (namely, universal hylomorphism) by Gundissalinus. This problematization is accompanied and led by Gundissalinus’s progressive acceptance of the ontology proposed by Avicenna in Liber de philosophia prima, I, marking a theoretical shift between De unitate et uno and De processione mundi, the latter being possibly Gundissalinus’s last treatise to be written.

Lecture in Cordoba

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Porto, January 2017

Filosofia Medieval: em curso e em toda a extensão
Porto (PT), 12-14 January 2017

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The Toledan Translation Movement (AAIWG/RS-1)

The first video-lecture of the research seminar The Penetration of Arabic Philosophy into the Latin Philosophical Tradition (1162-1215) is online [GO to the seminar webpage]. The seminar, organised by the Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group (AAIWG) is composed of four video-lectures that will be uploaded on the dedicated Youtube channel during the next weeks.

The first video-lecture is centred on the rise and development in Toledo of the Arabic-into-Latin translation movement in the second half of the twelfth century. A short presentation of the cultural landscape of the twelfth-century philosophical debate offers the context on which and from which the first translations were realised with the aim of providing new scientific and philosophical texts to the Latin scholars. Mirroring the rising Greek-into-Arabic translations that were taking place between Southern Italy and the Byzantine territories, a first generation of translators spread throughout the Iberian Peninsula (and beyond), making available to the Latin audience a wide number of scientific writings. A fact directly related to the developments of the political situation after the taking of Toledo (1085) and the Almoravid dominion in Al-Andalus.

The passage to the second generation of Arabic-into-Latin translators is marked, too, by the socio-political situation of the Iberian Peninsula. In the second half of the century, the main centre of the translating activity is Toledo, and the lecture considers the different factors that made possible the establishment of the translation movement in that town. Finally, the biographies and contributions of the three most important Toledan translators – Gerard of Cremona, Dominicus Gundissalinus, and Michael Scot – are briefly presented and discussed, pointing out the pivotal role they played in the ‘philosophical revolution’ that was going to take place in Latin Europe thanks to the ‘new’ works translated into Latin.

Essential Bibliography

Primary Sources
Avicenna, Liber de anima seu sextus de naturalibus, ed. S. Van Riet, vol. 1, Brill, Louvain – Leiden: 1968.
Gundissalinus, De scientiis, ed. M. Alonso Alonso, CSIC, Madrid – Granada: 1954.
Plato of Tivoli, Mahometis Albatenii de scientia stellarum liber, Bologna 1645, fol. b. Cfr. M. – Th. D’Alverny, ‘Translations and Translators’, in R. L. Benson– G. Constable (eds.), Reinassance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 1982, 426-433, ivi 451.

Secondary Sources
A. Bertolacci, ‘A Community of Translators: The Latin Medieval Versions of Avicenna’s Book of the Cure’, in C.J. Mews – J.N. Crossley (eds.), Communities of Learning: Networks and the Shaping of Intellectual Identity in Europe 1100-1500, Brepols, Turnhout: 2011, 37-54.
Ch. Burnett, ‘The Institutional Context of Arabic-Latin Translations of the Middle Ages: A Reassessment of the «School of Toledo»’, in O. Weijers (ed.), Vocabulary of Teaching and Research Between Middle Ages and Renaissance. Proceedings of the Colloquium London, Warburg Institute, 11-12 March 1994, Brepols, Turnhout: 1995, 214-235.
Ch. Burnett, ‘The Coherence of the Arabic-Latin Translation Programme in Toledo in the Twelfth Century’, Science in Context 14 (2001), 249-288.
Ch. Burnett, ‘John of Seville and John of Spain: a mise au point’, Bulletin de philosophie médiévale 44 (2002), 59–78
Ch. Burnett, The Gundissalinus’s Circle, forthcoming.
M.Th. D’Alverny, ‘Avendauth?’, in Homenaje a Millás Vallicrosa, vol. 1, CSIC, Barcelona: 1954, 19-43.
F. J. Fernández Conde, La religiosidad medieval en España. Plena Edad Media (siglos XI-XIII), Trea, Gijón: 2011.
Ch. H. Haskins, Studies in the History of Medieval Science, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 1924.
N. Polloni, ‘Elementi per una biografia di Dominicus Gundisalvi’, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge 82 (2015), 7-22.
J.F. Rivera, ‘Nuevos datos sobre los traductores Gundisalvo y Juan Hispano’, Al-Andalus 31 (1966), 267-280.

 

Conference in Porto

Filosofia Medieval: em curso e em toda a extensão
Porto (PT), 12-14 January 2017

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You can find the conference programme HERE

Disseminations and Discussions

During the next four months, I will be giving a research seminar on the dissemination of Arabic-into-Latin texts for the Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group. It will be quite an experience for me: the opportunity of present my new research to such a brilliant group is just priceless. Moreover, the seminar will be recorded and uploaded on Youtube; I will link the videos in this page and anyone who has anything to ask or needs any clarification could write me, and I’ll be more than glad to answer.

The seminar – title: The Penetration of Arabic Philosophy into the Latin Philosophical Tradition (1162-1215) – is articulated into four lectures, one per month, following the historical development of the main topic I will discuss, i.e., the cross-cultural dissemination of knowledge between the end of the twelfth and the beginning of the thirteenth century:

  • First meeting (January 2017): The Toledan Translation Movement
  • Second meeting (February 2017): Dominicus Gundissalinus: Metaphysics and Cosmology
  • Third meeting (March 2017): Dominicus Gundissalinus: Psychology and Epistemology
  • Fourth meeting (April 2017): From Toledo to Paris and Oxford

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New Collaboration

 

Great news!

I’ve just signed a new collaboration to an intriguing research project: Hermenéutica patrística y medieval based at the University of Navarra. I can only imagine how the synergies between such a brilliant research team will contribute to the pursue of this interesting project, under the supervision of Maria Jesús Soto Bruna.

More to come, quite soon…

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