Authors/Aristotle/metaphysics

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Logic Museum

Breviter igitur et capitaliter qui et quomodo de principiis et veritate dixerunt pertransivimus. At tamen ab eis tantum habemus, quia dicentium de principio et causa nullus praeter ea quae sunt in phisicis a nobis determinata dixit- "Our review of those who have spoken about first principles and reality and of the way in which they have spoken, has been concise and summary; but yet we have learnt this much from them, that of those who speak about ‘principle’ and ‘cause’ no one has mentioned any principle except those which have been distinguished in our work on nature"

The Latin version is taken from William of Moerbeke's translation, edited by G. Vuillemin-Diem, 1995 (full reference below). The English is from Ross 1928. Note that Ross was translating from the Greek, not the Latin, so treat the English as a guide only.

All the Aristotle texts in the Logic Museum are anchored. This means you can link to the text anywhere in the Museum, and anywhere in the Internet. Available anchors (examples) include:

The asterisks * indicate where more than three words from the anonmymous translation have been omitted by William. Apart from that, all other apparatus of the edition has been omitted.

Book I (A) HISTORY (980a)
Book II (A1) THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH AND CAUSES (993a)
Book III (B) METAPHYSICAL PROBLEMS (995a)
Book IV (G) THE SUBJECT OF METAPHYSICS (1003a)
Book V (D) DEFINITIONS (1012b)
Book VI (E) THE METHOD OF INVESTIGATING BEING (1025b)
Book VII (Z) SUBSTANCE (1028a)
Book VIII (H) PRINCIPLES OF SENSIBLE SUBSTANCES (1042a)
Book IX (Θ) POTENTIALITY AND ACTUALITY (1045b)
Book X (I) UNITY (1052a)
Book XI (K) RECAPITULATION ON THE NATURE AND SUBJECT OF METAPHYSICS (1059a)
Book XII (Λ) MOBILE AND IMMOBILE SUBSTANCE / THE PRIME MOVER (1069a)

Editions

William of Moerbeke

  • Metaphysica: libri I - X; XII - XIII.2 (translationis ‘mediae’ recensio), Aristoteles Latinus (A.L.) XXV.3, pars secunda, ed. G. Vuillemin-Diem, 1995, p. 11-320
  • Metaphysica: libri XI; XIII.2 - XIV, A.L. XXV.3, pars secunda, ed. G. Vuillemin-Diem, 1995, p. 11-320

James of Venice

  • Metaphysica: libri I - IV.4 (sive translatio ‘vetustissima’), A.L. XXV.1-1a, ed. G. Vuillemin-Diem, 1970, p. 5-73

Anonymous

  • Anonymus saec. XII vel XIII revisor translationis Aristotelis, Metaphysica: libri I - IV.4 (translatio composita sine vetus - Iacobi Venetici translationis recensio), A.L. XXV. 1-1 a, ed. G. Vuillemin-Diem, 1970, p. 89-155.
  • Anonymus saec. XII vel XIII translator Aristotelis, Metaphysica: libri I-X; XII - XIV (sine translatio media), A.L. XXV.2, ed. G. Vuillemin-Diem, 1976, p. 7-275.

Michael Scot

Michael Scot translated the Arabic Metaphysics into Latin in the 1220s, along with an Arabic commentary by Averroes (his “Long Commentary”) to aid in the general interpretation of the Aristotelian material. Bauder writes[1]:

There were three other translations of (parts of) the Metaphysics in the first half of the thirteenth century, all made from the Greek; but they did not circulate widely. The oldest known translation was the “Vetustissima,” done by James of Venice in the twelfth century; and only books I-IV.4 survive. Sometime before the end of the twelfth century, another translation (the “Anonymous” or “Media”) was made of almost the entire Metaphysics. However, we do not have evidence for this translation circulating widely before the mid-thirteenth century. Meanwhile, a third translation known as the “Composite” or Vetus was probably completed sometime between 1220 and 1237. It consists of revisions of the Vetustissima, put together with some of James’s original translation, and it breaks off at the same point that James’s text breaks off. The fourth translation, and the one to become quite popular, was made by Michael Scot in 1220-1224. Scot’s translation was particularly important because for the first half of the thirteenth century it constituted the bulk of the standard version of Aristotle’s Metaphysics. For concise overviews of the translations of the Metaphysics, see Jozef Brams (2003), La riscoperta di Aristotele in Occidente, Milano: Jaca; and Marta Borgo (2014), “Latin Medieval Translations of Aristotle’s Metaphysics,” in Amerini and Galluzzo (eds), A Companion to the Latin Medieval Commentaries on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Leiden: Brill, pp. 19-57.

There is no modern edition of Scot’s translation of either Aristotle’s Metaphysics or Averroes’s “Long Commentary” on the Metaphysics. The best text we have is the early printed Iunctas edition of 1562-1574, which contains Scot’s translation of the “Long Commentary” interspersed with two translations of the Metaphysics, one of which is also Scot’s. See Aristotelis Opera cum Averrois Commentariis, Vol. VIII, Venice: Iunctas, 1562-1574 (reprint: Frankfurt am Main: Minerva, 1962). For those consulting the edition, two oddities should be noted. First, Scot’s translation is the one appearing in italics. Second, the 1562 text divides the chapters of the Metaphysics differently from modern editions. What modern editions number as chapters 10-15 in book VII is chapters 11-17 in the 1562 text.

See also

Notes

  1. Bauder, R., ‘A Thirteenth-Century Debate on Whether Individuals Have Proper Names’ PhD Thesis, Graduate Department of the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto.
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