Rhetoric and Philosophy from Greek into Syriac

1st Edition

John W. Watt

Published August 28, 2010
Reference - 330 Pages
ISBN 9781409400202 - CAT# Y238467
Series: Variorum Collected Studies


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Shortly after 500 CE, the Syriac-speaking priest and physician Sergius of Resh'aina, who had studied in Alexandria, wrote the first known exposition of Aristotle in a Semitic language. About four centuries later, Abu Bishr Matta, an alumnus of the monastic school of Dayr Qunna in Iraq, completed in Baghdad the Arabic version of the Aristotelian Organon with translations from the Syriac, and in a famous disputation argued the case for Greek logic as a theory of knowledge against rival claims of Arabic grammarians. The articles collected in this volume are concerned with the transmission and development of the Greek achievement among Syriac scholars of the Fertile Crescent during these four centuries, particularly in the fields of rhetoric and philosophy. Some range broadly over general areas, such as the Syriac appropriation of Greek liberal education or the educational curriculum in Syriac monastic schools, while others focus on themes of particular interest, including the influence of Aristotle's Rhetoric or the concept of the philosopher-king. Cumulatively they show how many aspects of Greek culture were received and elaborated in Syriac, and contribute to understanding the ways in which that culture exercised a powerful influence on the medieval Near East and the burgeoning Islamic civilisation.

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