Union Académique Internationale

Averrois Opera (Corpus Philosophorum Medii Aevi)

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Project nº9-4, adopted in 1974

Former project

The publication plan followed the general layout and structure sketched by H. A. Wolfson in 1931, to serve as a basis for his plan for the publication of a Corpus Commentariorum Averrois in Aristotelem, submitted to UAI by the Mediæval Academy of America, revised in 1963. The first edition of the Corpus Commentariorum was published by the Mediæval Academy of America in 1949. This work was continued from 1980 to 1996 under the general editorship of Albert Zimmermann (Köln), by the American, Egyptian, Israeli, Polish, Spanish and German academies engaged in the project, under the more comprehensive title Averrois Opera (including works of Averroes beside his commentaries of Aristotle) and the project was reorganized in three sections : Arabic, in charge of the Academy of the Arabic language, Cairo ; Latin, in charge of the Nordrhein-West-fälische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Düsseldorf ; and Hebrew, in charge of the Isral Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem.

Actual project

The Averroes Edition is a project of the North-Rhine Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts and the Thomas-Institut at the University of Cologne. It is directed by Andreas Speer and David Wirmer and pursued by a multilingual team of editors. The project has been established as part of the Akademienprogramm of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German federal states for a period of 25 years beginning in 2016. It forms part of an international collaborative corpus edition – Averrois Opera (Corpus Philosophorum Medii Aevi) – overseen by the Union Académique Internationale.

The commentaries on Aristotle by Ibn Rušd or Averroes (1126–1198) are a summa of the late antique and Arabic reception of Greek philosophy. As such, they have – above all in their translations into Latin and Hebrew – had great influence on the course of intellectual history for centuries, especially in the field of natural philosophy.

The subject of this project is a hitherto untreated section of Ibn Rušd’s philosophy of nature, which can also be considered a cross-section of the three linguistic branches of the text transmission. The manifold interconnections within the Arabic, Hebrew and Latin transmissions of the texts will be reflected by the trilingual structure of the entire edition, which will be organized in several sub projects.

The project addresses four key areas that have guided the selection of texts to be edited:

  1. Thematically, the focus lies on the complete edition of all commentaries by Ibn Rušd on Aristotle’s Physics.
  2. Methodologically, the focus lies on the study of Ibn Rušd’s first commentary series, the Short Commentaries or “epitomai” which have to date hardly received any critical edition.
  3. A solid base for the study of this latter series of commentaries is provided by editing previously the corresponding commentaries by Ibn Bāǧǧa (ca. 1075–1139), Averroes’s Andalusian predecessor, which constituted one of his major sources.
  4. Regarding the Latin transmission, the focus lies on the completion of the critical edition of all Arabic-to-Latin translations of Ibn Rušd’s works on natural philosophy from the 13th century, predating the wave of Renaissance translations from Hebrew to Latin.