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Averroës to Raphael[*]


Averroës on Aristotle’s Criticism of his Predecessors:

An annotated translation of the long commentary

on Aristotle’s Metaphysics A*


Averroës to Chahine[]





{Notes on reading this work:

(1) In addition to the links between text and endnotes that are standard for HTML documents with notes, the texts in this work themselves contain links to one another in places where this is appropriate; e.g., a link at the end of each numbered set of comments to the corresponding annotation.  However, given that there is more than one link to a given place, in most cases it is not practical to supply return links, so that for that you will need to use your browser’s “Back” button.

(2) Where it is necessary to employ Arabic terms in the work, particularly in the endnotes and in the annotations, the transliteration employs Linguist Software’s Semitic Transliterator™ font (except that for the letters ’alif and ‘ayn I simply employ the closing and opening upper comma, respectively). The text may not be reproduced accurately in your equipment if that font is not installed therein, in particular in the cases of some Arabic consonants whose transliteration employs certain diacritical marks. In order to ameliorate the situation, where the word includes any of these consonants I also give it in Arabic script.

(3) The endnotes also contain Greek words here and there, as well as the usual capital Greek letters to denote the books of Metaphysics.  If the Greek does not appear for you, try adjusting the settings of your browser as explained in the note at the end of the main archaic poetry page (note the link above).}


Links to Contents:


Preface/Introduction (motivation for the work and its general characteristics).

Comments 1-8, on Aristotle, Metaphysics A 5, 986a6-A 6, 988a2 (summary statements on the monists, Empedocles and Anaxagoras, the Pythagoreans, and Plato).

Comments 9-16, on A 6, 988a4-16, A 7, 988b17-A 8, 989b6 (more summary of Plato; criticism of the monists, and of Empedocles and Anaxagoras).

Comments 17-24, on A 8, 989b6-A 9, 990a34 (more criticism of Anaxagoras, and of the Pythagoreans).

(Comments 25-49, on Aristotle’s criticism of Plato in Chapter 9, are not included at the present time.)

Comments 50-51, on A 10, 993a11-27 (general summary of Book A).

Annotations (dealing with errors in the Arabic translation of Aristotle, clarification of Averroës’s comments, references to other commentators, and miscellaneous matters).


Concluding Remarks

Bibliography, including abbreviations used in the endnotes.




*© 2007 E. F. Beall


[*] Detail from Raphael’s fresco Scuola di Atene (“School of Athens”), 1509-10, Apostolic Palace, Vatican City (for an enlargement, click here). The turbaned figure, generally identified as Averroës, is looking over the shoulder of Pythagoras, so identified because a disciple (not shown here) is holding a tablet containing his theory of music in front of him.  The identification of Averroës is for such reasons as that he also contributed to music theory.  (To be sure, so did at least one other individual who presumably wore a turban: Avicenna.)  The portrayal might be thought incongruous since, as is noted herein, Averroës was highly critical of the Pythagoreans.

[] From Le destin (al-Massir, “Destiny”), a film by Youssef Chahine (Egypt/France, 1997), with Nour el-Cherif as Averroës (for an enlargement, go to the “cinopsis” website at this page, and click on the image shown there).  Near the end of the film the protagonist thanks the caliph’s men for burning his books, because “ideas have wings,” i.e., travel better when unencumbered by writing.  Nonetheless, one of his disciples smuggled some copies into France.