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The Alexandrian Tradition

Interactions between Science, Religion, and Literature


Edited By Luis Arturo Guichard, Juan Luis García Alonso and María Paz de Hoz

This book is the outcome of the conference «Imperial Alexandria: Interactions between Science, Religion and Literature», held at Salamanca University in October 2011. The conference convened a group of experts from different fields to address the interrelationship between Science, Religion and Literature in the Graeco-Roman world during the Imperial Period, and especially in Alexandria, situating it within the context of the long tradition of knowledge that had been consolidating itself in this city, above all during the Hellenistic era. The encounter’s main aim was to create a forum for interdisciplinary reflection on «the Alexandrian model» of knowledge in the Imperial Period and its background, being attended by philologists and historians specialising in different types of texts (literary, scientific and religious), whose study requires an interdisciplinary approach, with priority being given to the notion of contact and the relationship between these subjects in order to gain a better understanding of the spirit, way of thinking and moral values of a particularly important era in the development of ancient culture.
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Note on a passage of the Arabic translation of Ptolemy’s Planetary Hypotheses: Sébastien Moureau



Note on a passage of the Arabic translation of Ptolemy’s Planetary Hypotheses

I have been asked by Anne Tihon to study a passage of Ptolemy’s Planetary Hypotheses and to analyze in detail the Arabic translation in comparison with the Greek text, in order to examine whether the translation might in a way deviate from the meaning of the Greek text. The question was specifically directed to the translation of the Greek terms ύποϰείμενον and ύπόθεσις. The sentence is found in the beginning of the prologue of the Hypotheses: Ptolemy explains that the celestial movements are usually demonstrated by scientists by the means of celestial spheres, which do not allow one to see the mechanisms underlying the celestial movements. The extracts quoted hereafter present J.-L. Heiberg’s edition of the Greek text, a translation proposed by Anne Tihon, the medieval Arabic translation edited by R. Morelon, and a personal translation of the Arabic text, with a word for word translation in a note to help the non-Arabist reader.

Heiberg, op. min., p. 70, ll. 19–23:

ό γὰρ τοιοῦτος καὶ χωρὶς τοῦ διημαρτῆσθαι τὰς ὑποθέσεις τὸ φαινόμενον παρίστησι μόνον καὶ οὐ τὸ ὑποκείμενον, ὥστε της τέχνης καὶ μή τῶν ὑποθέσεων γίνεσθαι τὴν ἔνδειξιν.

For such a way, apart from the fact that it errs in the hypotheses (ὑποθέσεις), supplies only the appearance of things and not what is underlying (τὸ ὑποϰείμενον), so that there is a demonstration that is technical yet not of the hypotheses (ὑποθέσεων) (transl. Tihon).

Morelon, p. 17, ll. 1–4:

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car cette sorte de sphères, étant donné ce qu’elle...

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