The Theology of Aristotle and some other pseudo-Aristotelian texts reconsidered

by Everett K. Rowson
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Title:
The Theology of Aristotle and some other pseudo-Aristotelian texts reconsidered
Author:
Everett K. Rowson
Year: 
1992
Publication: 
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Volume: 
112
Issue: 
3
Start Page: 
478
End Page: 
484
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Language: 
African
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Abstract:

Reviewed work(s): Pseudo-Aristotle in the Middle Ages: The Theology and Other Texts by Jill Kraye; W. F. Ryan; C. B. Schmitt
 
A collection of contributions to a Warburg Institute colloquium focuses on aspects of the pseudo-Aristotelian tradition in Arabic and Latin. F. W. Zimmermann's paper, occupying almost half the volume, undertakes a radical reassessment of the origins of the Arabic Theology of Aristotle and related texts and offers a highly speculative new stemma for their development. Four other contributions deal with other aspects of the Theology and the related De causis. The remaining six papers consider other pseudo-Aristotelian texts. The collection as a whole raises more questions than it answers, but represents an important body of scholarship which should spur further research in a number of areas.
 
It is well known that the Aristotle who represented the essence of the philosophical tradition in both the Islamic and European Middle Ages was not exactly the Aristotle we know today. In both traditions, besides works of the authentic Aristotelian corpus, numerous pseudonymous works, of very varied content, also circulated under the name of the Philosopher, and affected not only the common view of Aristotle himself, but also the interpretations brought to bear on his genuine writings. An earlier symposium at the Warburg Institute resulted in a volume of essays on the most popular of these pseudo-Aristotelian works (and indeed the most popular of all Aristotelian works, genuine or spurious, in the Middle Ages, in both Arabic and Latin), the Sirr al-Asrar or Secretum secretorum (Pseudo-Aristotle, The Secret of Secrets: Sources and Influences, edited by W. F. Ryan and Charles B. Schmitt, Warburg Institute Surveys, 9 [London: The Warburg Institute, University of London, 1982]). The present volume, the product of a colloquium held on May 20-21, 1983, offers a broader look at the phenomenon of the medieval pseudo-Aristotle in general, and while the assembled essays make no attempt at a comprehensive treatment of the relevant works (about a hundred in Latin, a smaller but still substantial number in Arabic), they do represent an important advance in scholarship on both the corpus as a whole and several of the most important and influential works in it.
 
 
The book is divided into two parts. The seven essays in part I deal with more general aspects of the pseudo-Aristotelian corpus and with some specific works within it. The three essays in part 11 are devoted to a single work, which was of particular importance in the Arabic tradition, the Theology of Aristotle.
 
Part I begins with C. B. Schmitt's "Pseudo-Aristotle in the Latin Middle Ages," which surveys the different kinds of works sharing a false attribution to Aristotle and attempts to establish some criteria for classifying them, including original language, time of appearance and popularity, and subject matter. The author's observation that the relatively few works on moral philosophy mostly go back to Greek originals, as opposed to works in the pseudo-sciences, many of which come from Arabic, seems to be valid, although his characterization of subjects such as alchemy, astrology, physiognomy, and chiromancy as "so central to medieval Muslim culture" could be questioned. Most interesting and useful are his comments on the general lack of interaction between the genuine and spurious Aristotelian works, as indicated by the way they are grouped in manuscripts, and his final division of the spuria into two groups on the basis of their appeal to different readerships, the generally Greek-based works such as the Problemata and the Liber de causis appealing to the "university culture," while the more blatantly spurious works attracted a more popular audience, with the Secretum secretorum and De pomo situated somewhere in between.
 
Dimitri Gutas' "The Spurious and the Authentic in the Arabic Lives of Aristotle" is a model of lucidity and probably the strongest contribution in the volume. Launching a stinging but fully documented attack on Ingemar During's Aristotle in the Ancient Biographical Tradition (Goteborg, 1957), Gutas calls for a return to the careful philology of the nineteenth-century orientalists, but at a higher level of sophistication, and then proceeds to do much of the needed work himself, fully displaying the sophistication he calls for, and particularly the requisite sensitivity to historical tendentiousness and its particular rationales. In a few pages and in tabular form, he surveys the Arabic biographies, sorts out their components and their likely origins, and indicates where further research is needed. (With regard to the components of the biography from the Siwan al-hikma, it may be noted that the paragraph attributed to "al-mu allim al-thani Abu Nasr ... al-Farabi qaddas Allah ruhahu l- aziz," while perhaps really due to him, is probably an interpolation in the Muntakhab Siwan al-hikma, since the Siwan hardly granted al-Farabi such honor - if it included him at all - and reserved such phrases for Abu Sulayman al-Sijistani, to whom they are applied in a passage immediately following this paragraph, and a few other luminaries; and the section taken from al-Tawhidi's al-Basa ir wal-dhakha ir seems not to appear in Wadad Kadi's now-completed critical edition [Beirut, 1988] of that imperfectly-preserved work. Al-Mubashshir's description of Aristotle's physical appearance presumably came from the [illustrated?] source he drew on for the appearance of other philosophers as well. Sa id's report that Plato used to call Aristotle "the Intellect" may have come from al- Amiri's al-Amad ala l-abad, from which Sa id drew material for biographies of other philosophers.) The article concludes with a valuable classification of other Arabic sources which include information, real or spurious, on Aristotle's life. (It is questionable, however, whether the attribution of the Liber de pomo to Socrates must be prior to its attribution to Aristotle, as Gutas maintains, as only two closely-related manuscripts of the work, out of six known, do attribute it to Socrates, and of other sources referring to the work only the latest, that of Abi Usaybi a, does so, while the Persian, Hebrew, and Latin translations unanimously make it Aristotle's. The six Arabic manuscripts of the work [see Gutas' note 611 are listed in F. Sezgin, Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums, II: 50, along with a Tehran ms which is apparently a copy of Kashani's Persian translation. The "manuscript" in Santillana's Cairo lecture notes has been published by Ali Sami al-Nashshar and Abbas al-Shirbini, Faydun wa-Kitab al-Tuffaha al-mansub li-Suqrat [third ed., Cairo, 1965], 233-38, and is apparently in fact Santillana's own Arabic translation of Margoliouth's publication of the Persian translation.)
 
In "The Kalam fi mahd al-khair (Liber de causis) in the Islamic Philosophical Milieu," Richard Taylor summarizes recent research, much of it his own, first on the Arabic text of the De causis, and then on its influence on Arabic philosophers and other writers. While rejecting Aquinas' analysis of the work as a "highly structured methodological treatise," Taylor does see it as "indeed a unitary discourse or collection of sayings" which "starts as a carefully composed collection of propositions" but then rather breaks down (in two appendices he outlines Aquinas' and his own analyses); this view puts him in direct opposition to F. W. Zimmermann's (more dogmatic and less argued) contention, later in this volume, that it is a random collection of snippets. More debatable is Taylor's contention that "the Enneads of Plotinus [is] the [De causis'] other identifiable source after the Elements of Theology." Denying, specifically, that De causis propositions 8 and 21 have any parallels in the Elements, he finds their source rather in Plotinus. The parallels he cites from the Enneads for the first of these, at least, are rather compelling, and there is some plausibility in the further parallels to Plotinus he finds in other propositions as well, although he grants that there are no verbatim quotations from the Arabic Plotinus anywhere in the Arabic De causis. But a connection between De causis 8 and 21 and Elements of Theology 121 and 131b, respectively, seems undeniable to me, especially as every single other proposition of the former can be clearly related to the latter. (A third appendix gives Taylor's latest version of the De causis-Elements correlations.) An associated question is that of the relation of the De causis to another Arabic collection of selections from the Elements of Theology, published under the title "Zwanzig Abschnitte" by Gerhard Endress (Proclus Arabus, Beirut, 1973); while Endress maintained that the two texts overlap at one point, paraphrasing a single proposition (viz., 167) of the Elements in two distinct forms, and thus could not be pieces of a single prior Arabic source, Taylor argues (in a fourth appendix) that the De causis is here paraphrasing, not proposition-167, but rather propositions 168 and 169, and that stylistically the two texts could indeed be parts of a single Vorlage. (Here he is supported by Zimmermann, who makes a similar argument in appendix 16 of his contribution.) The general effect of Taylor's reassessment of the sources of the De causis is to tie the various Arabic Plotinus and Proclus texts more tightly together.
 
In the second half of his article, Taylor reviews the surprisingly scanty evidence for influence by the De causis on Arabic authors. These include al- Amiri, Moses Ibn Ezra, Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi, and Ibn Sab in, but exclude the more celebrated al-Farabi Ibn Sina, and Ibn Rushd. Such a pattern poses an interesting problem, but Taylor, at this point anyway, is content to argue for the respectability of the former as philosophers and to hope that unpublished works by the latter may turn up influence after all; if not, he suggests that the De causis was perhaps "dwarfed" by the importance of its cousin, the Theology of Aristotle.
 
In contrast to the Arabic world, there can be no doubt about the impact of the De causis in the Latin West. In "The Pseudo-Aristotelian Liber de causis and Latin Theories of Science in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries," Charles H. Lohr discusses one aspect of this impact, that of the work's methodological implications. Starting from Albertus Magnus' well-known comparison of the De causis to Euclid's geometry, Lohr distinguishes between the axiomatic method of the latter and what he calls the "deductive" method of the former, whose propositions are logically concatenative but do not rest on explicitly stated initial hypotheses. He finds a similar procedure followed by a number of twelfth-and thirteenth-century authors, notably Alanus ab Insulis, and suggests that the perceived danger of this rationalistic approach to theological questions was partly responsible for the subsequent condemnation of Aristotle's natural philosophy and metaphysics at Paris. Since, however, Aristotle's logic was exempted from the ban, the growing appreciation for the methodological rigor of the Posterior Analytics led to increasing doubts about the authenticity of the De causis, until Aquinas, armed with a Latin translation of the Elements of Theology, demonstrated once and for all its non-Aristotelian origin. An assessment of the plausibility of Lohr's argument, which is not easy to follow, must be left to those specializing in this field.
 
 
Quite different, and even harder to follow, is the argument of Marie-Therese d'Alverny's "Pseudo-Aristotle, De elementis." D'Alverny accepts Samuel Stern's hypothetical reconstruction of a pseudo-Aristotelian text underlying various works by Isaac Israeli and Ibn Hasday's, which he called "Ibn Hasday's Neoplatonist." (This reconstruction is rejected by Zimmermann.) D'Alverny finds "echoes" of this text in Peter Alfonsi's Dialogus, in a cosmography attributed to Masha allah and secondary texts dependent on it, and in an acephalous manuscript which, she argues, is possibly also to be attributed to Peter Alfonsi; the latter twice cites a work by Aristotle entitled De elementis, thus giving d'Alverny her title. Unfortunately, in the parallels she adduces among all these texts, she fails to distinguish between Neoplatonic commonplaces found throughout the tradition and distinctive peculiarities of individual works within it. For example, while granting that Peter Alfonsi places Matter below Intellect and Soul in his hierarchy, unlike the Mantua text (attributed by Altmann and Stern to Isaac Israeli and indirectly to Ibn Hasday's Neoplatonist), which put Matter and Form above Intellect, she glosses over this crucial distinction by suggesting that Peter was quoting from memory and "adding reminiscences of the Epistles of the Brethren of Purity" (who do place Matter below Soul). Even more confused is her extended discussion of various eight-, nine-, and ten-sphere cosmographies in Arabic and Latin, in which she fails to take into consideration the conflicts over the precession of the equinoxes and the notorious "trepidation" theory which lie behind these variants. (It is not clear what she means by saying that ps.-Masha allah explained the orbis signorum as "intended for marking out in degrees"; the Latin text reproduced in note 56 simply repeats Ptolemy's value of 1[degree] per 100 years for the rate of precession.) In short, while some of the parallels d'Alverny cites may in fact be of importance for assessing the possible existence and nature of the pseudo-Aristotelian text first posited by Altmann and Stern, this material is in need of a thorough reworking with a much more critical eye.
 
D'Alverny's contribution is also marred by numerous minor errors. Ibn Gabirol lived in the eleventh century, not the tenth; Abraham b. Ezra is perhaps not best described as a "wandering astrologer"; a stray note flag 86, with no corresponding note, appears at the bottom of p. 75; the reference to the Ikhwan al-Safa in note 35 should apparently read "I, p. 116," not "III, p. 186"; and the quotation from Altmann's and Stern's translation of a paragraph from the Longer Theology, given at the top of p. 68, has been badly distorted.
 
There can be no question about the Arabic-Latin parallels in a group of texts correlating the construction of talismans with the lunar mansions cited by C. S. F. Burnett in his "Arabic, Greek, and Latin Works on Astrological Magic Attributed to Aristotle" (and set forth in three appendices). That numerous such texts were translated is well known, however, and rather than addressing questions about this process Burnett turns to the original Arabic source of the particular text he cites, the K. al-Ustuwwatas (or al-Ustutas), which, like a number of other works with similar outlandish titles, purports to have been composed by Aristotle for Alexander, but based on lore derived from Hermes. Asking how and when this association of Aristotle with Hermetic works originated, Burnett then reviews, in a rather desultory fashion, existing scholarship on this question, focussing on the well-known connections between both Aristotle and Hermes and the Sabians ("Sabaeans") of Harran. Entertaining as this material is, one looks in vain for anything new, and Burnett does not try seriously to answer the questions he has posed.
 
The last contribution in part I, W. F. Ryan's "Aristotle and Pseudo-Aristotle in Kievan and Muscovite Russia," is, in the author's words, "a survey intended for non-Slavists," and supplements the author's article in the previous Warburg volume on the Secret of Secrets, dealing with the fortunes of that text in Russia. Aside from the latter, the pickings are slim indeed, and the author concludes that before the seventeenth century Aristotle was known in Russia only from a few pseude-pigraphical and gnomonological scraps, references in polemics, and other bits.
 
Part II opens with F. W. Zimmermann's outsize "The Origins of the So-Called Theology of Aristotle," an extremely important piece of work intended as an exhaustive reconsideration of all the evidence and previous scholarship pertaining to this question, and offering numerous new proposals and theories based on meticulous textual analysis. In essence, it is a work of stemma analysis, unfortunately rendered virtually impenetrable by its form: the author's bare argument is presented in the first twenty-five pages, followed by the evidence itself, argued in twenty-two appendices which span a further ninety pages, with twenty-five additional pages of notes; the stemma itself finally appears at the end of the penultimate appendix.
 
 
Zimmermann's conclusions are succinctly summarized at the end of the article proper (p. 134). His postulated Urquelle is a sort of "metaphysics file" compiled by the circle around al-Kindi, which he labels the (*)Theology. (Zimmermann uses asterisks to indicate "suppositious entities," with which his analysis abounds.) This file consisted of a free paraphrase of much or all of Plotinus' Enneads IV-VI, translated directly from a Greek text essentially identical to the one we have, and preserving that text's original order, as well as comparable paraphrases of at least part of Proclus' Elements of Theology and of several works by Alexander of Aphrodisias; the true authors of all these texts were still known. Through some unknown process, this file was broken up sometime in the late ninth century, and pieces of it were then reconstituted, in an essentially random fashion, into the works we have today: the vulgate version of the Theology of Aristotle, the two other known components of the Arabic "Plotinus Source" (ps.-Farabi's Risala fi l- ilm al-ilahi and the fragments attributed to "al-Shaykh al-Yunani"), the De causis, and the Zwanzig Abschnitte in their various combinations with works by Alexander; in the process, vital information on the authorship of these materials was lost, and a combination of accidental and tendentious factors led to the anomalies in these texts which vex scholars today. Remarkably soon thereafter, an unknown scribe, under the influence of a more primitive Hellenism known to us from the Sirr al-khaliqa, larded the vulgate Theology with additional material and produced the Longer Theology, which was an - and perhaps the - essential source drawn on by al-Nasafi, who introduced Neoplatonism into Isma ili theology.
 
A comprehensive critique of the arguments with which Zimmermann supports these conclusions would be as long, and as unreadable, as his article. But some general comments on his method may be hazarded. It is tempting to apply to it Gutas' description in this volume of the work of Anton Baumstark and other nineteenth-century orientalists: "[T]heir excessively positivistic and reductionist approach, and particularly Baumstark's haste in making specific suggestions despite the presence of many variables, resulted in the creation of an unnecessarily elaborate and, as it turns out, spurious scheme of transmission which through its sheer complexity hampered, in an indirect way, subsequent research conducted by classicists unable to verify it independently." Zimmermann's stemma interposes, for example, no less than five asterisked entities between his original (*)Theology and the best manuscript of the Theology available to us. As most of these "suppositious entities" are created to explain single anomalies in our texts which would also admit of alternative explanations, the accumulated suspension of disbelief required to get to the end of the stemma (or the end of the article) becomes extremely taxing.
 
Ironically, one posited entity which Zimmermann rejects is Stem's "Ibn Hasday's Neoplatonist," which appendix 16 is devoted to demolishing. Yet even here he criticizes Stern for adhering to "the dubious principle that the fewer suppositious entities a stemma involves the closer it is likely to come to the truth," a criticism to which he is himself certainly not liable. On the other hand, he further maintains against Stem that "it is not true that an author's citations of others always presuppose a text in which the cited opinions are expressed in much the same words"; yet he himself constructs an argument for al-Farabi's knowledge of the Longer version of the Theology on the basis of his use of the term "ijad" (which does not occur in the Vulgate version) in a passage adjacent to (but not part of!) a quotation he attributes to the Theology. Elsewhere, dealing with another problematical citation by al-Farabi from the Theology, which is in fact to be found rather in the Zwanzig Abschnitte, and anxious to maintain that al-Farabi must have known that the passage was not Aristotelian, Zimmermann has this to say: "It is true that ... Farabi uses the phrase Aristotle says in his Uthulujiya,' which implies that the work was by him as well as about his views. But I suppose that, wishing to use the Uthulujiya as evidence of Aristotle's views, Farabi pre-empted the question of its reliability by saying 'In his Theology, Aristotle says' where he should have said According to Aristotle's Theology, Aristotle says."' The phrase 'should have said' sums up far too much of Zimmermann's methodology.
 
Zimmermann's cavalier treatment of his predecessors can be illustrated by the way he sets out the parallels between the Longer Theology and Ibn Hasday discussed by Stem: without comment, he reproduces Stem's translation of the latter, but substitutes his own translation of the former, although basing it on Stern's text; the differences between his own translation and Stem's of course support his own argument. (The earlier scholar, we must assume, would not have minded this procedure, since Zimmermann maintains that [i]n the face of the evidence surveyed above, Stern would presumably have been the first to" agree with his conclusions.) Elsewhere, Zimmermann refers to an "error" by Kraus, which in the next sentence becomes an "exaggeration," and on the next page is said to be "to [some] extent ... certainly true." A related "error" is "implied in the extraordinary reluctance shown by those who have recently discussed Isma ili Neoplatonism to locate its source squarely in the (*)Theology," that is, where Zimmermann insists on locating it. (One may also note the gratuitous reference to "the fallible authority of P. Sbath" in note 162.)
 
 
Zimmermann does effectively sweep away a few red herrings which have plagued previous discussions of the Theology. He convincingly dismisses the various arguments that have been proposed to prove the existence of a Syriac intermediary between the Greek Enneads and the Theology (although he hangs far too much on the translator's nisba "al-Himsi" by asking why al-Kindi, in Iraq, should have "recruited a translator from the west unless he was looking for proficiency in Greek"). He also cogently refutes the "Porphyrian hypothesis." The appearance of Porphyry, but not Plotinus, in the work's title, the presence of a series of "headings" at its beginning summarizing a portion of the Enneads only partially reproduced in the text itself, and a number of apparently "Porphyrian" doctrines in the non-Plotinian portions of the text, have all been linked by scholars in various ways with Porphyry's own (rather ambiguously worded) claim to have composed both "headings" and "commentaries" on Plotinus' essays, neither of which appear in the extant Greek text of the Enneads. Although one may quibble here with much of Zimmermann's specific argumentation, the evidence he marshals against any "suppositious" Porphyrian Vorlage to the Theology seems convincing. Whether the "Porphyrian" doctrines can be adequately explained by Proclean influence from other parts of the purported "metaphysics file," however, remains questionable; ideas that look Porphyrian - and not Proclean - keep popping up in various Arabic Neoplatonic works, and would appear to constitute an as yet unsolved puzzle.
 
Perhaps Zimmermann's most impressive argument is the one he presents for the fortuitous nature of the Theology text as we have it. In appendix 9, he sets up a table of correspondences between the Enneads and the Theology which is meant to illustrate how a redactor possessing only a bundle of unbound and partially damaged quires could have put the text together, occasionally getting pages out of order, and himself supplying transitions to splice disparate pieces together, not always appositely. This table works remarkably well, particularly if one assumes (as Zimmermann seems to, although he never says so explicitly) that the quires were standard karrasat of ten folios which tended to lose their first and last pages. Again, many of his specific arguments are very forced, but the theory in toto seems to work better as an explanation of the chaotic form of the extant Theology than any alternative theories that have been proposed. (Unfortunately, Zimmermann then transfers this theory bodily to the De causis and the Zwanzig Abschnitte, abjuring further argument in their case and simply stating, "Surely these are random selections.")
 
Zimmermann's wider conclusions, including the existence of al-Kindi's "metaphysics file" and the priority of the Longer Theology to - and its determining influence on - both Isaac Israeli's works and Isma ili Neoplatonism, remain eminently contestable. Despite his obvious attempt to be comprehensive, some relevant evidence is neglected. The Ikhwan al-Safa , who cited the Theology explicitly, are never mentioned; nor is the notorious ps.-Ammonius doxography, which has since finally been published, by Ulrich Rudolph (Stuttgart, 1989), mentioned in the context of Isma ili Neoplatonism. Zimmermann's work on the Theology will be important for any further research on the topic, but there is still much to be done and debated.
 
A final comment should be made about the cultural frame into which Zimmermann puts the origin of the Theology. This is summed up in his statement that "Arabism bred Hellenism." Taking his cue from Ibn Qutayba, he argues that a growing intolerance of things non-Arabic in the late ninth-century, which had an increasing impact on kalam circle, drove "intellectuals of a more cosmopolitan bent" to seek refuge with Greek philosophy and science. This climate of "parochial Arabism," he maintains, marks the transition from the freewheeling eclecticism represented by al-Kindi and his circle to the professionalism of tenth-century falsafa. There are several things wrong with this picture. Most obviously, it leaves out the Persians, at just the time when they are most crucial to cultural developments in Abbasid Iraq. But more disturbingly, it seems to have more to do with the Greece of the Gymnasium than the Greece of the medieval Baghdadis. Zimmermann criticizes Richard Frank for calling Jahm b. Safwan a Neoplatonist, because Jahm dealt simply with worn coins" of originally Greek thought, without cultivating the Greek legacy or maintaining Hellenism as a "cultural creed"; only after "dogmatic Arabism" began to rear its ugly head did a Hellenism "worth the name" appear with such texts as the Theology. Without denying essential differences between Greek influences on the thought of Jahm and on that of al-Kindi, one is still tempted to ask where the real parochialism lies.
 
 
After Zimmerman's tortuous arguments, Paul B. Fenton's "The Arabic and Hebrew Versions of the Theology of Aristotle" is gratifyingly straightforward. Fenton offers a quick review of the essential scholarship on the Theology, without critical comment, before getting down to his main topic, a description of the available Arabic manuscripts of the Longer version, of which he has promised an edition. Such an edition is certainly long overdue, and the preliminary information offered here can only be welcomed. In addition to the four known Leningrad manuscripts, all fragmentary (the longest consists of 119 folios, the shortest of two), Fenton has discovered further fragments in three more manuscripts in Oxford and New York. All of these manuscripts are written in Hebrew characters, and all come originally from the Cairo Geniza. According to Fenton, they together cover over three-quar-ters of the Latin version (a far from satisfactory sixteenth-century translation which is, however, our only complete exemplum of the Longer version) and virtually the entire Vulgate version; about one third of the text in these fragments has no parallel in the Vulgate. Fenton tabulates the correspondences between the folios of the two longest fragments and the pages of Badawi's edition of the Vulgate. Unfortunately, although he points out that the quires of the former are completely out of order, he organizes his table by their present sequence (to make sense of it, the reader must recast it in the correct order), and in the process discovers a number of errors and omissions. Fenton then appends a table of correspondences between his own draft manuscript ("Fenton Arabic ms 10") and the Badawi and Dieterici editions of the Vulgate, as well as the Latin translation of the Longer version. This procedure is less helpful than first appears, since Fenton's ms is as yet unavailable, and numerous contradictions become apparent when one attempts to collate this table with the first one. (Fenton also notes the lacunae in his manuscript, and estimates their length, in quires and leaves; what is unclear is what these quires and leaves actually belong to, if not an utterly imaginary complete "Fenton" manuscript.) "For the sake of completeness," Fenton further adds a list of known Arabic manuscripts of the Vulgate. To this list should be added eight manuscripts cited by Hans Daiber ("New Manuscript Findings from Indian Libraries," Manuscripts of the Middle East 1 [1986]: 26-48), as well as a 1976 Tehran edition, based on three (unlisted) Iranian manuscripts, also cited by Daiber.
 
Besides reviewing past analyses of the nature of the Sondergut of the Longer version, Fenton offers tantalizing quotations from it and some useful observations of his own. (In his statement that the longest stretch of text unique to the Longer version is thirty-six folios, he means thirty-six pages or eighteen folios; these are folios of his own manuscript.) His note that two widely separated passages "are obviously divergent adaptations of the same original text" will have important implications in any future study of the Longer version's genesis, and his table of six quotations from the Longer version in Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi's epitome of the Theology is significant new information. His further speculations on a possible "Jewish source" for the Longer version are at best premature, but he is right to stress the persistent connections between this text and various Jewish authors, connections whose assessment must await the availability of the text itself.
 
Finally, Jill Kraye's "The Pseudo-Aristotelian Theology in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Europe" reviews the interesting fortunes of the Latin Theology in Europe, from the time of its appearance in the early sixteenth century until Thomas Taylor's demonstration of its dependence on the Enneads in 1812, and including, inter alia, the theories of the ever-fascinating Athanasius Kircher. Her ingenious explanation of a stray editorial comment in the Latin version as a deliberate reminiscence of a passage from Strabo confirms a suspicion of Zimmermann's (p. 163).
 
Altogether, while hardly realizing any ideal of unity or comprehensiveness for a collective volume, this book includes a great deal of important scholarship and will be indispensable for anyone working on pseudo-Aristotelian texts in the Arabic or Latin traditions.
 
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Oriental Society
 

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