THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE WORKS OF
Ibn-Rushd, like many a philosopher, holds different positions about the same question in his different writings. Which represent his mature opinions? Likewise some of his works treat a question briefly and others more in depth. Are the latter elaborations on the former, or the former summaries of the latter? To assess Ibn-Rushd’s thought accurately, it is essential to determine the chronological order of his works.
In his Teología de Averroes (Madrid, 1947), ch. 4, Manuel Alonso made a thorough study of the Latin corpus, incorporating the earlier work of Renan and Sarton. Since then much of the Hebrew corpus and most of Ibn-Rushd’s surviving Arabic works have been published, making more data available. A good attempt to put his works in chronological order was made by the late Jamâladdîn al-`Alawî in his المتن الرشدي (Dar al-Baydâ’, 1986). It is an excellent job and I wish to present an English summary of his conclusions and supporting evidence. Al-`Alawî, however, confined himself to the corpus of surviving Arabic works of Ibn-Rushd, purposely leaving aside the considerable number of works that have survived only in Latin or Hebrew (as he states on p. 120). He also omits several Arabic texts that were published after he wrote his book.
I wish to incorporate all these works in a comprehensive summary. Since my aim is to present the chronological sequence of Ibn-Rushd’s writings, I do not discuss many of the interesting details of each work. With all the data available, many adjustments and additions are made to the order presented by al-`Alawî. Leaving out, with al-`Alawî, unidentified works in the lists of Ibn-Rushd’s Arab biographers, I have a total of 90 works, against al-`Alawî’s 58.
How can Ibn-Rushd’s works be dated? A few of them contain the date they were finished or give other datable circumstances. Many of them refer to other works, indicating that they were written later; however we also have evidence that some early works were revised later. Works can also be given an approximate date by their style category which belongs to a particular period of Ibn-Rushd’s development. All this enables us to enumerate the major phases of his life and place nearly all of his works in a particular phase, some with precise dates, others in a wider time range.
In the list of Ibn-Rush’s works I refer to the more important editions, sometimes with the abbreviations “A” for Arabic, “L” for Latin, “H” for Hebrew and “ms” for manuscript. For publication details and other editions and translations one can consult Hans Daiber, Bibliography of Islamic philosophy (Brill, 1999), which however has many gaps.
The background of his writing
Grandson of a famous jurist, Abû-l-Walîd Muhammad, Ibn-Rushd (born c. 520/1126) early on distinguished himself for his knowledge of fiqh. We know little of his education, except that besides religious sciences, he also took an interest in literature, medicine and all the human sciences. (1)In all his works he mentions none of his teachers. Except for normal instruction in religion, he appears to have been a self-taught man. His early writings show him as a dedicated follower of al-Fârâbî, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Ibn-Bâjja, and Galen, while Aristotle became more important as time went on. Ibn-Bâjja was responsible for making Aristotle known and respected in Andalusia. The many other authors Ibn-Rushd was familiar with had no formative influence on him.
As a young man, he also witnessed the rise of the Muwahhids, first in Marrakech and southern Spain (1147-50), then the conquest of Seville (1147). The struggle continued as they occupied eastern Spain in 1172 and at Alarcos in 1195 asserted their authority over the whole of Muslim Andalusia. Since he was an educated man from an illustrious family, he would likely have been co-opted by the new regime. It may have been in the service of `Abdalmu'min that he went to Marrakech in 548/1153 and made astronomical observations there. (2) His career would be greatly affected by patronage or hostility of the latter's successors, Abû-Ya`qûb Yûsuf (585-80/1163-84) and Ya`qûb al-Mansûr (580-951/1184-99).
It is apparent from his early works that Ibn-Rushd's profession was mainly teaching, while to a certain extent he also practiced medicine and law. His intellectual development over a period of 40 years can best be pictured by the sequence of his works, as follows:
The early opuscula
- Ibn-Rush's first writings date from his age of 31. They are the works of a teacher simplifying material for the use of students.
- A characteristic of all the works of this early period is their dependence on the thought of others: Aristotle had priority of honour, but he is interpreted through the thought of others whose ideas were often very different: Al-Fârâbî for logic, Ptolemy, Alexander of Aphrodisias and Ibn-Bâjja for natural science, al-Fârâbî and Ibn-Sînâ for an emanationist metaphysics, and Galen for medicine. Thus we can confidently assign to an early period undated works that reflect the thought of these other philosophers.
- The stated aim of the early opuscula was to present the essentials of a subject which are necessary to know "for human perfection" (according to the idea that man will be happy and immortal if he knows the basics of all human sciences). In these works Ibn-Rushd also makes allusion to the political turmoil of the times, when it was not possible to do more than present the basic essentials.
- The opuscula were of two distinct forms: the مختصر and the جوامع A مختصر, though inspired by another book, does not attempt to comment on it or follow its order and divisions. In fact, the مختصر on logic is a summary of al-Fârâbî rather than of Aristotle. The جوامع, on the other hand focuses on a text, attempting “to abstract the scientific statements of Aristotle’s works, omitting his dialectical discussions” (جوامع السماع الطبيعي). Only the جوامع can be considered “commentaries” on Aristotle.
1. المختصر في المنطق— c. 552/1157 (ms A)
Ibn-Rushd’s first venture into philosophy seems to have been his summary of the fundamentals of logic. Its dating can be ascertained from a reference to it in جوامع السماع الطبيعي, which was written in 554/1159. This collection is based on the works of al-Fârâbî, which in turn are based on the Οργανον of Aristotle, with a few additions. There is no evidence that this work, in spite of Ibn-Rushd's great strides forward in this science, was ever revised. Al-`Alawî (p. 156) speculates that this may mean Ibn-Rushd later cancelled or wrote off this work.
1.1 مختصر الإساجوجي, including the مدخل (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b, 36b-38b; H ms)
This was a general introduction to logic, followed by a summary of the Εἰσαγωγή, of Porphyry.
1.2 مختصر المعقولات (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b, 38b-41)
On Aristotle’s Κατηγορίαι, on the ten categories of predicates that can be affirmed of a subject.
1.3 مختصر العبارة (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b, 41-44)
On Aristotle’s Περὶ ἑρμενίας on judgements, their universality and particularity and convertibility.
1.4 مختصر القياس (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b, 44-52)
On Aristotle’s Ἀναλύτικα πρότερα, on the forms and rules of the syllogism.
1.5 مختصر التحليل (ms A)
On al-Fârâbî's hybred of part of Aristotle’s Ἀναλύτικα πρότερα, Book 2, together with parts of his Τοπικά.
1.6 مختصر البرهان (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b, 52-61)
On the Αναλύτικα ὕστερα, on the method of scientific demonstration.
1.7 مختصر السفسطة (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b, 68a-75a; vol. 2, 185a-192a)
On the Σοφιστικοί ἐλέγχοι, on fallacies in argumentation.
1.8 مختصر الجدل (Butterworth, 1977, vol. 1, pars 2b, 62-67)
On the Μετερωλογικά, on dialectical argumentation.
1.9 مختصر الخطابة (Butterworth, 1977)
On the Περῆ ψυχη̃ς, on rhetorical discourse aimed at persuasion.
1.10مختصر الشعر (Butterworth, 1977) on the Ποιητικα, on poetics, especially drama.
2. مختصر المستصفى/ الضروري في أصول الفقه —mid-Dhû-l-hijja 552/18 January 1158 (رفيق العجم، 1994)
The date of this work on fiqh is given at the conclusion. The later بداية المجتهد ونهاية المقتصد refers to it. It takes its name from al-Ghazâlî’s المستصفى من علم الأصول. Like it, it attempts to summarize the essentials of fiqh which are necessary for everyone to know, but this is the first of Ibn-Rushd’s writings where he takes openly differs from positions of the book he is commenting on. First, Ibn-Rushd objected to al-Ghazâlî’s use of logic to make fiqh accord with the views of the mutakallimûn. Secondly, Ibn-Rushd attempts to surmount the differences of the four schools, reducing them to one, and clearing away superfluous accretions. Thirdly, Ibn-Rushd tries to make fiqh scientific, showing how revealed statements can be interpreted and used as principles for legal conclusions.
3. الجوامع الطبيعية —Monday (actually a Tuesday), 16 Rabî` I 554 /7 April 1159
Ibn-Rushd states at the beginning of this dated collection of small works on natural science that he means to “abstract the scientific statements that are part of Aristotle’s teaching and are most sure, leaving aside the opinions of the ancients, since they are not so useful.”
3.1 جوامع السماع الطبيعي (Puig, 1991; رفيق العجم، 1994 ) on Aristotle’s Φυσικη ακάοσις, on the general principles of natural science.
3.2 جوامع السماء والعالم (رفيق العجم، 1994) on Aristotle’s Περι ουρανου, on the geocentric structure of the universe.
3.3 جوامع الكون والفساد (أبو الوفا التفتازاني، 1991 Puig, 1992) on Aristotle’s Περι γενέσεως και φθορας, on chemistry.
3.4 جوامع الآثار العلوية (سهير فضل الله ابو وافية، 1994. رفيع العجم 1994)
This is a summary of Aristotle’s Μετερωλογικά, or meteorology. The date of the whole collection comes at the end of this last work. Later revision is evident by a reference, towards the end of part 2, to an earthquake in Cordoba that happened “in the year 566”/1170-1; the manuscripts point to more than one revision.
4. المختصر في النفس — 553 or 555/1158 or 1160 (الأهواني، 1950 Gomez Nogales, 1985)
The stated intention at the beginning and at the end of this work is to set forth the general teaching of the Peripatetic commentators which concords best with natural science and the intention of Aristotle. Al-Ahwânî and Salvador Gomez Nogales, in their editions, erroneously call it a تلخيص, a term we shall see is reserved for the “medium sized” commentaries. At the end of the chapter on “taste” Ibn-Rushd calls the work a مختصر Al-`Alawî maintains that its style too is more that of a مختصر than that of a جوامع, but the way Ibn-Rushd follows the order of the second two books of Aristotle’s Περι ψυχη̃ς, makes me think of it more as a جوامع or “commentary” on Aristotle, even more so than the جوامع ما بعد الطبيعة.
Two dates are proposed for this work. The earliest one is based on the fact that it is مختصر and the مختصر typified Ibn-Rushd’s earliest stage of writing. The later date is based on the fact that the Περι ψυχη̃ς normally follows the other books of natural science, which are the next to be considered.
5. جوامع ما بعد الطبيعة — c. 556/1161 (عثمان أمين، 1958. رفيع العجم، 1994)
Ibn-Rushd states in the beginning of this work: “Our aim is to extract the scientific statements from Aristotle’s chapters on metaphysics, as we have done in the preceding books.” This puts it clearly in the genus of جوامع, even though one Cairo edition, without any manuscript support, gives it the title تلخيص. This work is not mentioned in the early catalogues of Ibn-Rush’ds writings.
This work differs from the جوامع on natural science in that it does not cover all 14 books of Aristotle’s Μετα τα φυσικά, but of its five projected chapters, the existing four cover the “the things most necessary to know”. After a short introduction, the first chapter covers Book Δ, on metaphysical definitions. At the end of the second chapter he says he has covered “Aristotle’s 6th and 7th books”, i.e. Ζ and Η. At the end of the third chapter he announces that he has finished “the first part of this science”, which is “all ten categories of sensible things as they exist and have properties and come from first principles”. The fourth chapter considers the second part of the science, which is about separated substances.
As a جوامع, this book fits in with the preceding series and in some manuscripts is presented as a part of the preceding series. Yet different manuscripts present different versions, evidence of later editing by the author, and this explains a reference to the much later شرح ما بعد الطبيعة.
6. كتاب الكليات — 557/1162 (Forneas Besteiro, 1987)
This work on medicine, in a discussion on childbirth, says that the matter should come up in his planned commentary on one of Aristotle’s works on animals. The two تلخيص الحيوانات come in 1169. The date becomes more precise from two references it makes to his living contemporary (في زماننا هذا) Abû-Marwân, who died in 557/ 1162.
This work, however, seems to have gone through several editions, since in the Granada manuscript he approves the opinions of Galen totally, but criticizes some of them it in the Madrid manuscript, which has many other changes as well. A Leningrad manuscript has still more changes. The Latin and Hebrew translations represent a late tradition.
Like the بداية المجتهد, this work tries to establish the scientific principles of medicine and get away from the style of books which are full of practical observation and advice but have no consistency or relation to physical principles.
The “middle” commentaries
We now come to another stage in Ibn-Rush’s writings, that of the تلخيص. These date from the time that Ibn-Rushd, already established as a teacher, medical doctor and expert in fiqh, was introduced to the Muwahhid emir, Abû-Ya`qûb Yûsuf, by Ibn-Tufayl. When the prince asked him his opinion on the eternity of the world, Ibn-Rushd shook, but the prince calmed him down and encouraged him to speak freely. Afterwards the prince gave him some money, a robe and a horse, asking him to continue his studies and to make an understandable summary of the works of Aristotle.
So Ibn-Rushd set to work. Several factors influences his writing during this period:
- This was a time of peace and fraternity between philosophy, politics and religion. This enabled Ibn-Rushd to speak his mind freely and also to discuss matters he did not have the liesure to discuss before.
- By this time Ibn-Rushd was convinced that Aristotle was not just one among many authorities, but the best expositor of philosophy, one who provided the principles which could unite all the branches of human knowledge in a single system.
- At the same time Ibn-Rushd became aware of the threat that al-Ghazâlî posed to this whole enterprise. The تلاخيص and the revisions of the جوامع are already an implicit answer to al-Ghazâlî, anticipating the later apologetic works. This is apparent in a revised passage of جوامع الطبيعية, where he refers to al-Ghazâlî’s failure to understand the philosophers in his مقاصد الفلاسفة. (3)
- This period marks a break from dependence on the authorities Ibn-Rushd accepted previously. He now criticizes them freely and takes new positions which he thinks are more in agreement with Aristotle.
- The major works that mark this period are the تلاخيص, but at the same time he made revisions of his earlier works and wrote many مقالات. But his most developed thinking is expressed in the later شروح and the مقالات.
- The تلاخيص, like the جوامع, are not exegesis of a text, but summaries of its ideas. Unlike the جوامع, the تلاخيص do not consider merely the necessary central core of “demonstrated” teaching, but also go into a dialectical discussion of the opinions of other thinkers, both ancient and recent.
- Since the تلاخيص are many and written over a long period of time, their style varies widely; some keep close to the text and its divisions, while others take a freer approach. In either case, they go into their subjects with greater depth than do the جوامع.
- The first of the تلاخيص are on logic. The early catalogues refer to a تلخيص كتاب أرسطو في المنطق, indicating that the logical تلاخيص were viewed as one تلخيص. Nevertheless, because they were written over a long span of time, between 560/1164-5 and 571/1175-6, they should be considered individually.
- At the beginning of the تلخيص المعقولات, Ibn-Rushd states the aim of this series on logic: “Our aim is to summarize the teaching (المعاني ) of Aristotle’s books on logic, as we do with the rest of his books. Let us begin with the first book on this art, which is the Categories.” The phrase “as we do ( كعادتنا) with the rest of his books”, al-`Alawî observes, should be taken as referring to a project he is beginning, and not to any previous تلخيص.
7. بداية المجتهد ونهاية المقتصد — c. 559/1164 (محمد صبحي حسن فلاق، 1994)
The date of this work on fiqh comes from the conclusion of the كتاب الحج “I finished this work on “Wednesday, 7 Jum'âdâ I,584. It is part of the book بداية المجتهد ونهاية المقتصد which I wrote more than 20 years ago”. It seems unlikely that Ibn-Rushd would interrupt his series of scientific تلاخيص to write this work; so it may better be placed before them. Ibn-Rushd may have delayed the كتاب الحج because at this troubled time pilgrimage was out of the question. (4)
This voluminous book indicates that during this period Ibn-Rushd was not occupied solely with philosophy, and that his interest in religious sciences was not just a sideline.
Unlike the casuistic expositions of Mâlikî law current at that time, this book resembles the philosophical works he was writing at this time, by concentrating on the essential foundations of law. As for Mâlikî law, he says: “If God extends my life I will write a book on the details of law (الفروع) according to the school of Mâlik ibn-Anas, discussing them in a practical manner, since this is the school followed in this land of Andalusia. I would do it in such a way as to make the reader a master (مجتهد) in the school of Mâlik, since in my opinion to collect all the traditions is a task that cannot be done in a lifetime.”
Ibn-Rushd goes on to explain what he means by a master in legal science: “A master lawyer is not someone who has memorized questions of فقه, even if he has memorized more than is possible for a human being, as we find lawyers of our time thinking that the best lawyer is the one who has memorized the most questions. These people have the same problem as those who think that the best shoemaker is the one who has the largest quantity of shoes for sale and not the one who can make shoes. But if you go to a shoemaker who has a large stock of shoes and you do not find a pair that fit you, you have to go to another shoemaker who can make one that fits you. This illustration applies to most of those who practice law these days.”
Ibn-Rushd’s approach to fiqh is to make a science of it based on logical demonstrations, even though he is aware that its principles, the statements of revelation, are not demonstrable and are sometimes open to different interpretation.
8. تلخيص كتاب إيساغوجي —c. 560/1165 (Davidson, 1969; ms H)
This summary of the Εισαγωγη can be dated by the fact that it is the first in the logic series. It is noteworthy that Ibn-Rushd differs from Porphyry on a number of questions.
9. تلخيص المعقولات — c. 560 /1165 (Butterworth, 1980; جيرار جهامي، 1982)
This summary of the Κατηγορίαι can be dated from its early position in the logic series, and from the date of the commentary on the Τοπικά, تلخيص كتاب الجدل, which is 563. There are no divergences among manuscripts indicating previous editions of this work, and no later مقالات to correct particular points, as is the case with the other logical works. This تلخيص has two particularities: First, it is divided into parts and then into sub-sections. Secondly, it rarely uses the word قال “he said”, which is a mark of the other تلاخيص.
10. تلخيص العبارة — c. 561/1165 (محمد سليم سالم، 1978. محمد قاسم، 1981)
This work on the Περι ερμενίας can be dated by assuming that its normal position in the Οργανον corresponds to the order in which Ibn-Rushd composed this series. There is no evidence that this work went through any revision, and there are only two late monographs (مقالة) on points belonging to this book: في الكلمة والاسم المشتق and في المحمولات المفردة والمركبة. Like the previous work, this summary does not follow the divisions of Aristotle’s work, but is divided into five sections. Also, he uses the word قال only five times.
11. تلخيص القياس — c. 562/1166, revised after 578/1182 (Butterworth, 1983; جيرار جهامي، 1982. بدوي، 1988)
The dating of this work on the Αναλύτικα πρότερα comes from its traditional position just before the Ποιητικα, and also from the fact that from the year 567 Ibn-Rush was busy revising this book and writing many مقالات on points raised in it. The revised version refers to some of these مقالات. His revisions are mainly criticisms of the interpretations of Alexander of Aphrodisias and of al-Fârâbî, which he accepted without question in the first version.
12. تلخيص الجدل —563/ 1168 (Butterworth, 1979; محمد سليم سالم، 1980. جرار جهامي، 1982)
Ibn-Rushd himself gives us the date of this book Ποιητικα: “Here we finish Part 2 of this book on 17 Rajab, 563.” It is likely that he finished the rest of the book the same year. We have only one version of it, and there is no evidence that this represents a later revision.
The question that comes up is why he commented on this book before the Αναλύτικα πρότερα which comes before it in the classical order. Ibn-Rushd answers that he prefers the order of Themistius and Theophrastus before him to that of Alexander and al-Fârâbî. In fact, Aristotle constantly uses the method of dialectics, giving the pros and cons of every argument before he comes to his own conclusion. Thus the Τοπικά naturally precede the Αναλύτικα ύστερα which treat of scientific demonstration.
As for the order of this book, Part 1 corresponds with Book 1 of Aristotle; Part 2 corresponds with Books 2 to 7, while Part 3 corresponds with Book 8.
13. تلخيص البرهان —c. 564/1169 (Butterworth, 1982; جرار جهامي، 1982. بدوي، 1984)
The dating of this book on the Αναλύτικα ύστερα comes from Ibn-Rushd’s statements on his own preference for the order of the books on logic, and the likelihood that he finished the تلاخيص on the Οργανον before moving on to other works.
The book is rather short, considering the importance of its subject, which is scientific method. This may be because Ibn-Rushd anticipated writing further on it, as he did in his شرح and in several مقالات before and after the شرح.
14. تلخيص كتاب الحيوانات: مقتطفة من كون الحيوان —صفر 565 /November 1169 (Junctas, vol. 6, pars 2, 43b-144a: De generatione animalium; ms H)
This dated work on Aristotle’s Περι ζωων γενέσεως, surviving only in Latin, was “written in Seville, after leaving Cordoba,” where he took up the post of qâḍî. The 1169 date is from the Hebrew ms (See S. Munk, Mélanges de philosophie juive et arabe, p. 422). The Latin has 595/October 1199; this late date is not only unlikely, but is untrustworthy because the Junctas Latin edition gives many wrong dates; in this case a 6 must have been read as a 9. Ibn-Rushd excuses himself for the state of the book, because he had little time with all his work; he hoped to rework the book later.
15.تلخيص كتاب الحيوانات: مقتطفة من أعضاء الحيوان — Junctas, vol. 6, pars 1, 117-203: De partibus animalium; ms H)
This undated compendium of part of Aristotle’s Περι ζωων μοιρων can be grouped with the preceding, because at the end Ibn-Rushd expresses the same dissatisfaction with the work, hoping to come back to it later: The subject needs much more study, which he cannot do at the present place or time because of his occupations and the turmoil in Andalusia.
16. مختصر المجسطي — c. 565/1170 (Juliane Lay, 1991)
Also known as ما يحتاج إليه من كتاب أوقليدس في المجسطي, this now partially edited summary of the “Euclidian” Ptolemy’s Μεγάλη συνταξις της αστονομίας takes its name from the first two words of the Greek title, which were abbreviated to “Almagest”. Although undated, this work can be put in this period because of the severe complaints Ibn-Rushd makes of the distractions he had in writing it.
Like the following work, it is his only writing on this book, and it takes the form of his early summaries. Here Ibn-Rushd does not question Ptolemy’s ideas, as he will later, especially in his تفسير ما بعد الطبيعة, Book Δ.
17. جوامع الحس والمحسوس —565/1170 (بدوي، 1954 (Gtje, 1961)
This work on Περι αισθήσεως και αισθετων, Ibn-Rushd says, “was finished in Ishbîliyya on Tuesday, 10 Rabî` II, 566/ 1 January 1170. In the classical order it normally follows Περι ψυχη̃ς in the group of psychological works. The only oddity is that we find a جوامع after Ibn-Rushd had begun writing a series of تلاخيص.
Although often called a تلخيص, its structure is that of a جوامع, as he explains at the end of the first chapter: “This is as brief a summary as I could make of what is in the Book 1.” And at the end of the second he says, “This is the end of the teaching extracted (المعاني الملتقطة) from this Book.
18. تلخيص السماع الطبيعي —1 Rajab 565 / 21 March 1170 (Junctas, vol. 4, 434-456 L; ms H)
The original Arabic of this summary of Φυσικη ακάοσις is lost, but there is a Hebrew translation and a Latin translation of the first three books. The Hebrew version contains the date (Munk, 422).
19. تلخيص السماء والعالم —566/1171 (العلوي، 1984)
The date for this summary of Περι ουρανου is given in a Hebrew translation. This date also corresponds with its expected place in between the dated تلخيص السماع الطبيعي and تلخيص الكون والفساد.
There are some discrepancies among the manuscripts, indicating later revision, with a reference to the later شرح السماء والعالم.
20. تلخيص الكون والفساد — عقب شهر جمادى الأخيرة567 / 27 February 1172 (العلوي، 1995)
The three manuscripts of this summary of Περι γενέσεως και φθορας have many discrepancies, showing considerable work of revision. In fact, Ibn-Rushd, in his شرح السماء والعالم expressed the hope that one day he would write a شرح on the work, but he never had the chance.
21. تلخيص الآثار العلوية —c. 568/1173 ( العلوي، 1994)
This is on the Μετερωλογικά, the fourth in the traditional series on natural science. The reference in تلخيص السماء والعالم to his كتاب الآثار may refer to the جوامع; if it refers to the تلخيص, then it is an indication of a later revision of تلخيص السماء والعالم.
Like the جوامع الآثار العلوية, this work describes the earthquake of 566/1170-1, which lasted for 40 days in Cordoba, with aftershocks continuing throughout the decade beginning in 570. Thus, like the جوامع الآثار العلوية, this work underwent revision. Ibn-Rushd states that he was in Seville at the time of the earthquake, but visited Cordoba afterwards.
22. تلخيص كتاب النفس —c. 569/1174, first edition (G¨tje, 1985; Ivry, 1994)
This first commentary on the Περι ψυχη̃ς concludes Ibn-Rushd’s تلاخيص on natural science. Its approximate date can be surmised by the fact that the شرح كتاب النفس refers to it, and that revised sections of it refer to the شرح. In fact, this work in its revised form, together with the late appendix to the مختصر كتاب النفس, represent Ibn-Rushd’s most mature thought on the complex questions concerning the intellect.
23. تلخيص مابعد الطبيعة —c. 570/1174 (Venice: apud Cominum de Tridino, 1560, v. 8, 5-233)
This undated Latin version, not found in Junctas and not mentioned in the Arabic lists of Ibn-Rushd’s works, goes from Book 1 to the middle of Book 7. It can be assumed that it concludes the series of scientific تلاخيص. Munk (423) asserts: “Il acheva ses commentaires moyens sur la Rhétorique et sur la Métaphysique dans les premiers mois de l’an 570 (1174)”; he gives no evidence, but perhaps he saw a Hebrew manuscript.
24. تلخيص السفسطة —c. 569/1174 (بدوي، 1953. محمد سليم سالم، 1972. جرار جهاني، 1982)
This summary of the Σοφιστικα έλεγχοι, may have been delayed because if the obscurity of the text, which Ibn-Rushd attributes either to the translation or to Aristotle himself and to the fact that there are few commentaries on it. He expresses the hope to come back to this work later. He never did.
The dating is conjectural, from the fact that Ibn-Rushd interrupted his logic series after the first five تلاخيص and turned to a series on the sciences. We can suppose that this work comes just before the dated تلخيص الخطابة, and the تلخيص الشعر just after it, to finish the logic series.
25. تلخيص كتاب الخطابة —570-1/1175 (بدوي، 1960. محمد سليم سالم، 1968)
This summary of Τέχνη ρητορική is represented by two manuscripts that show no evidence of revision. Nevertheless they each give different dates, one “Friday, 3 Sha`bân 570” / 27 February 1175 (Thursday), the other “Friday, 5 Muharram 571” / 26 July 1175 (Saturday). The Latin gives “tertio mense 510”, which could be a mistake for 570; but the third month is Rabî` I, giving March 1175.
In it Ibn-Rushd complains of the difficulty of the text and the lack of commentators, and expresses the hope that one day he may write aon it — a hope never realized. He never even came back to this work in the form of مقالات.
26. تلخيص الشعر —c. 571/1176 (محمد سليم سالم، 1971 (Butterworth, 1986)
This summary of the Ποιητικα finishes the series of تلاخيص on logic. Its dating can be conjectured from the fact that it must have followed shortly on that on rhetoric. In the two manuscripts there are no differences indicating revision. Ibn-Rushd does complain that the work does not treat the subject adequately and he thinks that the translation may be incomplete.
27. تلخيص كتاب الأخلاق —4 Dhû-l-Qa`da 1172 / 4 May 1177 (Junctas, vol. 3, 1-160; Berman, 1962 A, 1981 H; Korolec, 1992 A)
This dated compendium of Τα εθικα νικομαχεια has survived in Arabic fragments, Hebrew sections and a complete Latin translation. A postscript to this commentary, dated 572/1177, complains that no Arabic translation of Aristotle’s Πολιτεια had reached Andalusia (Munk, 434).
28. تلخيص سياسة أفلاطون/ كتاب الجمهورية -c. 1177 (Rosenthal, 1956 H)
This compendium of Plato’s Πολιτεια probably followed the preceding compendium. It makes no reference to Ibn-Rushd’s other works, but anticipates فصل المقال in distinguishing what may be proposed to the elite as opposed to the masses. Rosenthal proposes the date 1177. Ibn-Rushd says that he opted to comment on Plato’s work, since had not seen the corresponding work by Aristotle. In this commentary Ibn-Rushd differs from Plato on several points.
The early مقالات
- The مقالات begin towards the end of the تلاخيص period and continue to the end of his life. It is only for the sake for of clarity of presentation that I list the earlier ones in this section.
- It would be a great mistake to focus on Ibn-Rushd’s commentaries and relegate his مقالات to role of marginal notes. The مقالات, in fact, are central to the development and expression of Ibn-Rushd’s thought, and almost half the titles in this list are مقالات. As Ibn-Rushd matured, he began to see that his Muslim predecessors, following Alexander of Aphrodisias, had distorted Aristotle, and he gradually begins to distance himself from them. He began expressing his new ideas in the تلاخيص, and continued to develop them much further in the مقالات.
- Although most of the مقالات are on points of logic, those on the sciences show how he recognized and rejected the Platonic or Plotinian orientation of his predecessors, taking positions which he considered “pure” Aristotelianism. Similarly, the مقالات on medicine, like the later تلاخيص, attempt to correct Galen where he deviates from Aristotle.
- The style of the مقالات is close to that of the شروح, in that they are technical or exegetical discussions of particular questions. Most of the philosophical مقالات are additions to or corrections of the تلاخيص and thus prepare for positions taken in the شروح; some are comments on previous مقالات, while others are later corrections of or additional notes to the شروح and thus are very important for knowing Ibn-Rushd’s last thought.
- Often a مقالة takes the place of or stands along side the revision of a جوامع or a تلخيص. The detailing and dating of the work of revision is a challenging and important work that has not yet been done. There is no evidence of revision of a شرح, but many the جوامع and تلاخيص were revised, and some more than once. Some of these revisions were simply short additions or references; others were more thorough. (5)
29. مقالة في المحمولات المفردة والمركبة و نقد مذهب ابن سينا —c. 1172 (العلوي، 1983)
This is one of Ibn-Rushd’s series of articles revising his logical works. The only evidence for dating it is the fact that it would be likely for Ibn-Rushd to begin with the prior works of the logical series, in this case تلخيص العبارة, with reference to the Περι ερμενίας.
The article discusses the conditions for truth and falseness of compound predications, such as “Homer is a poet-man.”
30. مقالة في جهات النتائج في المقاييس المركرة وفي معنى المعول على الكل —Sunday (Monday), 10 Shawwâl 567 / 5 June 1172, in Seville (العلوي، 1983)
This dated note clarifies a point made in his تلخيص القياس. Other مقالات of this period with reference to the Αναλύτικα πρότερα are the following:
31. مقالة في المقدمة الوجودية أو المطلقة —from 1172 (العلوي، 1983)
Another note revising a position taken in the تلخيص القياس, this text makes explicit reference to the تلخيص. One of the manuscripts of theتلخيص, however, which contains later revisions, makes reference to the present مقالة.
32. مقالة في نقد مذهب تامسطيوس في المقاييس الممكنة —from 1172 (العلوي، 1983)
This note reaffirms a criticism of Themistius already made in تلخيص القياس but, unlike the تلخيص, and differs from al-Fârâbî on another point. It precedes the revision of تلخيص القياس.
33. مقالة في القياس الشرطي ونقد مذهب ابن سينا —from 1172 (العلوي، 1983)
Revising his position in his تلخيص كتاب القياس, Ibn-Rushd here differs from Aristotle, al-Fârâbî and Ibn-Sînâ by saying that a hypothetical syllogism cannot be reduced to a categorical one.
This work can be dated by the fact that, while later than the تلخيص, the revised تلخيص refers to this work.
34. مقالة في نقد مذهب ابن سينا في عكس القضايا — from 1172 (العلوي، 1983)
This article represents an additional note to تلخيص كتاب القياس, where Ibn-Rushd criticizes Ibn-Sînâ on two points and reiterates his criticism of Themistius. There are no references in it to the تلخيص, nor does the تلخيص refer to it.
35. تعليق على قول لأبي نصر في كتاب البرهان —from 1172 (العلوي، 1983)
Although this article concerns the Αναλύτικα ύστερα, it does not appear to be an addition or correction to Ibn-Rushd’s مختصر or تلخيص, but a separate article in defense of al-Fârâbî. This devotion to al-Fârâbî is characteristic of the period when Ibn-Rushd wrote his تلاخيص, as well as before that.
36. مقالة في الكلمة والاسم المشتق ونقد مذهب أبي نصر —c. 1174-1178 (العلوي، 1983)
A later note to the تلخيص العبارة, this work belongs to the end of the تخليص period, marked by a break from the thought of al-Fârâbî .
37. مقالة في الحد ونقد مذهبي الأسكندر وأبي نصر —c. 1174-1178 (العلوي، 1983)
Like the following مقالات, this note on the Περι ερμενίας, correcting the تلخيص المعقولات, shows Ibn-Rushd’s growing independence from the thought of al-Fârâbî and Alexander of Aphrodisias.
38. مقالة في كليات الجوهر وكليات الأعراض —c. 1174-1178 (ا#1604;علوي، 1983)
An additional note to تلخيص المعقولات, it compares the positions of Aristotle, al-Fârâbî and Ibn-Sînâ on the definitions of essence and accidents.
39. مقالة في حد الشخص —c. 1174-1178 (العلوي، 1983)
Relating to the Αναλύτικα ύστερα, this work discusses the question, not previously raised, whether an individual can be defined. It prepares the way for the شرح كتاب البرهان.
40. مقالة في ثلاث أنواع المحدود بالنسبة إلى البرهان —c. 1174-1178 (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b (1) 100b-102b: De triplici genere diffinitionum in ordine ad demonstrationum)
This and the following مقالات in Latin translation are all questions relating to Αναλύτικα ύστερα which have not survived in Arabic. They are characterized by corrections of the ideas of al-Fârâbî etc. and fit in this period of revision preceding the شرح كتاب البرنان.
41. مقالة في الحد الأوسط —c. 1174-1178 (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b (2) 102b-103b: De medio demonstrationis, an sit causa maioris extremi)
42. مقالة في شروط مقدمات البرهان —c. 1174-1178 (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b, (3) 103b-111a: De conditionibus praemissarum demonstrationis)
43. مقالة في الشروط اللازمة لضرورية المقدمات —c. 1174-1178 (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b (4) 111b-112b: De conditionibus quae requiruntur ad necessitatem praemissarum demonstrationum)
44. مقالة في كيفية انتقال من صناعة إلى صناعة أخرى —c. 1174-1178 (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b, (5) 112b-114b: Quomodo fiat translatio ab una arte in aliam)
مقالة في براهين الوجود —c. 1174-1178 (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b (6) 114b-116a: De demonstrationibus Quia)
مقالة في كيف الحد أكثر معروف من المحدود —c. 1174-1178 (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b (7) 116a-118b: Quomodo definitio sit notior ipso definito)
47. مقالة في الحدود التي تقال مختلفة بالوضع من البرهان —c. 1174-1178 (Junctas, vol. 1, pars 2b (8) 118b-119a: De definitionibus quae dicuntur positione differentes a demonstratione)
مقالة في زمان النوبة —c. 1174-1178 (Vasquez de Benito, 1984; Anawati, 1986)
This article on a point of medicine may be the first Ibn-Rushd wrote after his
الكليات في الطب. Like the تلاخيص in logic and natural science of this period, it shows Ibn-Rushd taking independent positions, this time distancing himself from Galen.
49. مقالة في حفظ الصحة —c. 1174-1178 (Vasquez de Benito, 1984; Anawati, 1986)
This is a note of advice, with reference to Galen’s Υγιειων λογοι/Τέχνη υγιεινή, on how to preserve health, written at the request of an unnamed person. It adds nothing different from what was said in الكليات في الطب.
50. مقالة في الصحة —c. 1174-1178 (Junctas, Supl. 1, 177b-196a: De sanitate)
This work, surviving only in Latin, may belong to this time also.
51. مقالة في الترياق —c. 1174-1178 (Vasquez de Benito, 1984; Anawati, 1986)
This is another note, with reference to Galen’s Περι θηριακης προς Παμφιλιανον, written at the request of an eminent person on theriaca, an opium based medicine. It criticizes those who harmed the sons of the caliph by administering it to them.
52. مقالة في البذور والزروع —c. 1174-1178 (العلوي، 1983)
A note on the generation of animals related to Aristotle’s Περι ζωων γενέσεως, it belongs to the category of works on natural science. Although not dated, it supposes the work on natural science already done in the تلاخيص on that subject.
53. مسائل في الطبيعة —c. 1174-1178 (Goldstein, 1991)
This work, surviving only in Hebrew translation, may belong to this period.
54. مقالة في جوهر الفلك —574/1178 (Junctas, vol. 9, 1-14: De substantia orbis.)
Related to the Περι ουρανου, it also raises questions that will come up in Books 7 and 8 of شرح السماع الطبيعي, and is the only additional note to تلخيص الآثار العلوية. The date and the place (Morocco) are not found in the Junctas Latin edition, but are in the Cominum de Tridino edition and in an Escorial Arabic ms., referred to by Casiri (Munk, p. 423).
55. مقالة في مفارقة المبدأ الأول —from 1181 (Carlos Steel, 1997): De separatione primi principii.
Against Ibn-Sînâ’s ideas on the First Principle, this مقالة seems to be that referred to in شرح البرهان شرح كتاب السماع الطبيعي تهافت التهافت (Steel, p. 92). It refers to “quod monstratum est nobis in scientia De anima” about a separate agent intellect (p. 110) and to the corruption of the material intellect (p. 118); the latter teaching is characteristic of the المختصر في النفس (and perhaps a first version of the تلخيص كتاب النفس but was repudiated in his شرح كتاب النفس and the final version of the تلخيص.
56. مقالة في الخطابة —c. 1178 (Junctas, vol. 2, 183b-184b: Tractatus de rhetorica demonstrativa, persuasiva)
This is a supplementary note to the تلخيص الخطابة, that has survived in Latin. It is undated and makes no reference to other works, but can be presumed to be posterior to the تلخيص.
مقالة في الشعر —c. 1178 (Junctas, vol. 2, 197a: In librum Poeticae)
A brief Latin survival without date, it may be associated with the preceding.
The apologetic interlude
- This period marks a divide between a period of the philosophical (and legal) works (the جوامع and تلاخيص), together with various revisory notes (مقالات), and the later period of large commentaries (شروح) and final revisions of earlier works.
- The social background of these works was the growing influence of al-Ghazâlî’s works in the hands of conservative Andalusian jurists opposed to philosophy. Thus Ibn-Rushd had to defend the autonomy of philosophy and answer the accusations of al-Ghazâlî.
- A remote influence on Ibn-Rushd’s positions in his apologetic works is the fatwâ issued by his grandfather condemning the insistence of the Ash`arite theologians of his time that every Muslim must learn the elements of faith in their terminology. (6)
Yet in these works Ibn-Rushd does more than simply defend philosophy. He sets about to eliminate innovations corruptive of the faith brought into the science of kalâm by al-Ash`arî and al-Ghazâlî. This may appear to be a tactical counter-attack, but in reality it fits in with Ibn-Rushd’s over-all plan to revise all branches of knowledge, and integrate them in a harmonious whole. The first three of the following works do this on a theological level, whereas the تهافت التهافت does so on a philosophical level. We may observe that in between these works Ibn-Rushd found time to write some medical treatises.
58. مقالة في العلم الإلهي (الضميمة) —c. 574/1178 (Hourani, 1959, best of many, acc. to `Alawî)
Often considered an “appendix” to فصل المقال, it is really an independent work written earlier. The فصل المقال refers to it while discussing whether God knows singulars: “We wrote a special article on that question at the request of some of our companions.”
59. فصل المقال —c. 574/1178 (Hourani, 1959, best of many, acc. to `Alawî)
This is one of the most famous works of Ibn-Rushd and has been the subject of much study. Its purpose is mainly to defend on a theological level the autonomy and harmony of faith and reason.
60. الكشف عن مناهج الأدلة في عقائد الملة —575/1179 (Hourani, 1959, best of many, acc. to `Alawî)
In his شرح السماء والعالم Ibn-Rushd states: “We explained in what we wrote about correcting the beliefs of our revelation (عقائد شريعتنا) how the theologians have gone against the obvious meaning of revelation and have introduced changes in it.” This is a reference to the present work, as well as to the others in this series, showing their main intention.
This dated work intensifies the counter-attack on al-Ghazâlî begun in the previous works, but also passes on to a deeper philosophical study of the issues, being a bridge to the تهافت التهافت.
61. شرح أرجوزة ابن سينا في الطب —16 Ramadân 575 / 14 February 1180 (Vazquez de Benito, 1984)
This dated commentary on Ibn-Sînâ’s poem on medicine was written at the request of the Muwahhid ruler.
62. مقالة في أصناف المزاج ونقد مذهب جالينوس —c. 1180 (Vasquez de Benito, 1984; Anawati, 1986)
In this work on Galen’s Περι κράσεων, Ibn-Rushd takes a stand against Galen’s views on the temperaments which he had accepted in الكليات في الطب. This article is the first time he expresses his own different view, which is repeated in the other two works mentioned and in a revised version of الكليات في الطب (the Madrid manuscript).
Ibn-Rushd refers to this work in his شرح ما بعد الطبيعة. It is odd that he does not refer to it in his تلخيص كتاب المزاج لجالينوس. That may be because the latter work comes shortly after the شرح ما بعد الطبيعة.
63. مقالة في حيلة البرء —c. 1180 (Vasquez de Benito, 1984; Anawati, 1986)
This undated work on convalescence attacks the opinions of Galen expressed in Θεραπευτικη μέθοδος. It has no references to other works, but its style is similar to the previous مقالة and, like it, seems to be a prelude to the later تلاخيص on Galen.
64. تهافت التهافت —c. 576-7/1180-81 (Bouyges, 1930; سليمان دنيا، 1964)
This work takes up the same positions held in the previous apologetic works, differing only in that it is addressed to philosophers and not to the general public. Thus it is longer and more detailed. Being a bridge to the large commentaries on Aristotle, it is an exercise in the method of commenting on a text by reproducing a text section by section, with comment following each section.
Although aimed particularly at al-Ghazâî and his تهافت الفلاسفة, it is equally harsh on Ibn-Sînâ with attacks on al-Fârâbî as well. It criticizes their positions for being both philosophically absurd and corruptive of the faith.
65. مقالة في أن ما يعتقده المشاؤون وما يعتقده المتكلمون من أهل ملتنا في كيفية وجود العالم متقارب في المعنى —c.1181 (Worms, 1900)
This defense of Ibn-Rushd’s ideas on the eternity of the world has survived only in Hebrew. It fits the period of the works just mentioned.
66. مسألة في السماء والعالم — from 1181 (العلوي، 1984)
Printed after the first مقالة of the تلخيص السماء والعالم, this question on how a heavenly body can be eternal if it is a body, there is no reference to it in Ibn-Rushd’s other writings. It is possibly a late work.
The great commentaries and final revisions
- As he began these commentaries, Ibn-Rushd was in a state of both intellectual maturity and political security, having been called to Morocco as personal physician to Abû-Ya`qûb Yûsuf in 578/1182, and shortly afterwards appointed qâḍî of Cordoba. He also at first enjoyed the favour of Ya`qûb al-Mansûr (from 580/1184). This enabled him to undertake ambitious works.
- The great commentaries (شروح) differ from the تلاخيص in that the latter study the text of Aristotle but aim simply to understand the position of Aristotle and present it to students. The شروح, however, are for specialists and go into every textual and technical detail of Aristotle’s text.
- These commentaries discuss not merely the old problems debated by the ancients, but many new questions as well, and show Ibn-Rushd with all his maturity and originality, in spite of his claim simply to represent the mind of Aristotle.
- Along with the commentaries, Ibn-Rushd continued to write مقالات on questions that continued to arise from his previous writings.
- For some strange reason, even before his exile in 1195, Ibn-Rushd left his work on Aristotle unfinished and turned to write about medicine.
67. مقالة في جهة نتائج المقاييس المختلطة من الضروري والمطلق والممكن —c. 1182 (العلوي، 1983)
This is Ibn-Rushd’s third look at a problem pertaining to the Αναλύτικα πρότερα, namely, what kind of conclusion follows from a syllogism where the major is necessary or positive, and the minor is possible. He had discussed this in his تلخيص القياس (562/1166) which the present article refers to, and in a مقالة dated Shawwâl 567 / June 1172. The question comes up again in two later articles.
68. شرح البرهان —c. 579/1183 (Junctas, vol. 2a, 1-568; بدوي، 1984: المقالة الأولى)
This commentary on Aristotle’s Αναλύτικα πρότερα is not dated, but it can be considered Ibn-Rushd’s first شرح, first because of its principal position in the Aristotle’s logic, secondly because there is a reference to it in the series المسائل المنطقية, and the شرح السماع الطبيعي refers to this series. It is noteworthy that this شرح makes no reference to the previous تلخيص or the مختصر; the omission may be intentional, with the idea that here is Ibn-Rushd’s definitive teaching. But, as we shall see, several مقالات continue the discussion of some of its contents.
69. مقالة في لزوم جهات النتائج لجهات المقدمات —from 1183 (العلوي، 1983)
This is the fourth treatment of the syllogistic problem first treated in تلخيص كتاب القياس (#11) and then in two other articles (# 30 & 67). In it he makes no reference to the تلخيص كتاب القياس or any of the previous articles.
70. مقالة في محمولات البراهين —from 1183 (العلوي، 1983)
This is the last of Ibn-Rushd’s writings on demonstration, the subject of the Αναλύτικα ύστερα. In it he refers to the كتاب البرهان, which must be the شرح, and to المسائل المنطقية, where he discussed the point that the predicate should be wider than the subject.
71. شرح السماع الطبيعي —c. 584/1186 (Junctas, vol. 4, 1-433)
This commentary on Aristotle’s Φυσικη ακάοσις has survived in its entirety in Latin; only some fragments have been found of the Arabic. In it he refers to his “tractatus” refuting al-Ghazâlî, which can only be the تهافت التهافت.
72. شرح السماء والعالم —c. 584/1188 (Junctas, vol. 5, 1-271; Endress, 1994)
The chronological position of this commentary on Περι ουρανου naturally falls after شرح السماع الطبيعي, and refers to it several times. Moreover, in the present work Ibn-Rushd expresses the hope to write a شرح on the Μετα τα φυσικά. This work has survived in its entirety in Latin, and only a large part of Book 2 in Arabic has been found.
73. شرح كتاب النفس —c. 586/1190 (Crawford, 1953)
This commentary on the Περι ψυχη̃ς naturally follows the preceding. It refers to the شرح السماع الطبيعي, and is referred to in the شرح ما بعد الطبيعة and also in the revisions of مختصر كتاب النفس and تلخيص كتاب النفس It survived only in Latin and Hebrew translations and in Arabic fragments. A reconstituted Arabic text has been published.
74. تلخيص رسالة الاتصال لابن باجة —c. 1158, 1194 (الأهواني، 1951)
This short commentary on Ibn-Bâjja’s ideas on the intellect was published as an appendix to المختصر في النفس. Originally it should belong to an early period in Ibn-Rushd’s career, such as when he wrote the مختصر كتاب النفس or before, a time when he was enthralled with the teaching of his immediate predecessors. But it was revised later, and the revision refers to the شرح كتاب النبس, putting it at a late period.
75. مقالة في سعادة النفس/ في اتصال العقل المفارق بالإنسان —c. 1194 ((Junctas, vol. 9, 148-155a; alternate version of chs. 2-3: 155b-158a; H ms)
This work on the union of the human intellect with a separated intelligence, survives only in Hebrew and Latin. It has the references: “in commentis meis de Anima”, which can only be the شرح كتاب النفس, and “de magnis reprehensionibus quas de his in aliis narrauimus locis”. These, as well as its teaching on the immateriality and unicity of the “material intellect”, show that it belongs to a late stage in Ibn-Rushd’s thinking, but before the last part of the شرح ما بعد الطبيعة.
76. رسالة الاتصال/ مقالة هل يتصل بالعقل الهيولاني العقل الفعال وهو ملتبس بالجسم —c. 1194 (Kalman P. Bland, 1982)
Yet another work on the same topic, a little longer, it survives in Hebrew translation.
77. شرح مقالة لاسكندر الأفروديسي في العقل — c. 1194 (ms A, H)
The Arabic and Hebrew manuscripts in the Escorial should be interesting when they are published. In the meantime, the work can be grouped with the preceding.
78. شرح ما بعد الطبيعة —588,590 / 1192,1194 (Bouyges, 1938-48)
This final commentary, on the Μετα τα φυσικά, al-`Alawî believes was written in two phases: the first ten books in the first phase, and the book Δ after a break.
This commentary represents Ibn-Rushd’s mature thought on metaphysics. Even though he later revised the جوامع ما بعد الطبيعة, in which he refers to the present شرح, he adds nothing new. Ibn-Rushd claims to present the true metaphysical thought of Aristotle, correcting the deviations of al-Fârâbî and Ibn-Sînâ, particularly their teaching on emanation. It is noteworthy that Ibn-Rushd wrote no مقالات or revisory notes on his metaphysics.
A return to medicine
- Ibn-Rushd had expressed the hope to write commentaries on several other works of Aristotle, but he abruptly switched to writing on medicine for the next two years. Perhaps there were political reasons. He had enemies in high places and there may have been instructions or threats.
- This did not mean a total abandonment of philosophy, because there are two dated مقالات after this medical period, and several of the undated مقالات listed above may belong to a later period.
- Possibly related to his taking a breath from philosophical works was his frustration at solving a satisfactory solution to the question of the movements of the planets. “When I was young I hoped to succeed in this investigation, but now in my old age I have despaired of that.” (7)
- On the other hand, there was a pressing need for new medical works correcting Galen in the light of Aristotle’s physical science. Ibn-Rushd set about doing in the form of readable compendia on each of Galen’s major works.
- In this series Ibn-Rushd uses the method he developed in his شرح series, introducing the words of Galen with قال and his own comment with قلت.
79. تلخيص كتاب الأسطقسات —c. 588/1192 (Vasquez de Benito, 1984; Anawati, 1986)
This work on Περὶ τῶν κατ’ Ἱποκράτην στοιχείων comes first in Galen series, as Ibn-Rushd observes in his commentary.
80. تلخيص كتاب المزاج —Wednesday, Rabî` II 588/1192 (Vasquez de Benito, 1984; Anawati, 1986)
This dated work on Περι κράσεων repeats what Ibn-Rushd said in his مقالة في أصناف المزاج ونقد مذهب جالينوس, correcting his كتاب الكليات. At the end he expresses the hope to finish this series of Galen compendia, “for the teaching of the art of medicine is in the books of this man, but he is wordy, and many students may tire of him.” This art cannot be understood without the philosophical sciences. As Galen says, ‘A good doctor is necessarily a philosopher.’ The meaning of ‘a philosopher’ is someone who loves the truth. An explanation of this term will remove from the unprejudiced listener the bad connotation this term has in our times among people who are immersed in religious sciences and despise what ordinary people know.”
81. تلخيص كتاب القوى الطبيعية —c. 588/1192 (Vasquez de Benito, 1984; Anawati, 1986)
This undated work on Περὶ φυσικῶν δυνάμεων refers to the تلخيص كتاب الأسطقسات and is referred to by the later اختصار العلل والأعراض. In it he criticizes Galen’s bypassing of Aristotle’s four active qualities (hot, cold, wet, dry) and states that he is looking for demonstrated science. “But the opinions expressed in this book on this subject are satisfactory only on the level of dialectics, while some of them do not go beyond the level of rhetoric.
82. اختصار العلل والأعراض —c. 588/1192 (Vasquez de Benito, 1984)
This undated work on Περὶ διαφορᾶς νοσημάτων refers to the تلخيص كتاب المزاج and to the تلخيص كتاب القوى الطبيعية, and in three places he expresses the desire to write a تلخيص كتاب الحميات.
83. تلخيص كتال الحميات —Friday, end of Ramadân 589 /29 September 1193 (Vasquez de Benito, 1984; Anawati, 1986)
This dated work is on Περὶ διαφορᾶς πυρετῶν is the last of Ibn-Rushd’s published تلاخيص on Galen.
84. تلخيص كتاب الأدوية المفردة —c. 1192-1193 (ms A)
This medical work, on Galen’s Περι κράσεως και δυνάμεως φαρμακων, in a still unpublished and unstudied Vatican Arabic manuscript written in Hebrew characters, should fit around this time. Besides al-`Alawî, see H. Ritter & R. Walzer, "Arabische Übersetzungen griechischer Ärzte in Stambuler Bibliotheken," 1934 (Frankfurt am Main, 1999: Islamic Medicine 21), p. 27.
85. مقالة في حميات العفن/ في زمان النوبة —c.1192-1193 (Vasquez de Benito, 1984)
Another medical work that should fit around this time.
86. De ratione curandorum morborum —c. 1192-1193 (Junctas, Supl. 1, 206b-217b)
Another work, surviving only in Latin that may belong to this time.
87. Canones de medicinis laxativis —c. 1192-1193 (ms Bibliothèque Nationale, ms. 6949)
A Latin manuscript that may belong to this period.
Late philosophical revisions
88. مقالة في معنى المقول على الكل وغير ذلك —Tuesday, 15 Rabî` II 591 / Sunday, 14 February 1195 (العلوي، 1983)
This dated article is Ibn-Rushd’s sixth on the same question, discussed before in his تلخيص القياس, in three subsequent مقالات and in his revision of the تلخيص. Oddly, he does not refer to the previous articles, but only to the تلخيص. The style of this work is that of the شرح, going into a detailed analysis of Aristotle’s text.
89. مقالة على المقالة السابعة والثامنة من السماع الطبيعي لأرسطو —Seville, Dhû-l-hijja 592 / November 1196 (العلوي، 1983)
This dated work reviews questions about the first cause of movement in the universe, already raised in the previous commentaries on the Φυσικὴ ἀκάοσις.
It is the only work we have of Ibn-Rushd between his banishment from Cordoba and his death on 9 Safar 595/11 December 1198.
From the beginning Ibn-Rushd was a man of wide interests, who also wanted to gather together all human knowledge into a single system with common principles. From the start, Aristotle seemed to provide the rational framework for such a synthesis. But it would take time for Ibn-Rushd to extricate the ideas of Aristotle’s from his Platonizing Greek and Muslim commentators. Ibn-Rushd largely succeeded, and this earned him the posthumous title of Commentator, a title that Thomas Aquinas generally honours. Only for his inept handling of the question of the human intellect does Thomas call him the Corruptor.
Into this scheme Ibn-Rushd also incorporated, with corrections, Ptolemy’s cosmology, Plato’s politics and Galen’s medicine.
Ibn-Rushd’s ambitions were not limited to the human sciences. The same principles of scientific demonstration that apply to philosophy also apply analogically to the divine sciences. Thus he wrote two important works on the principles that should govern fiqh, and several noteworthy apologetical works to correct errors in the science of kalâm.
His writing was spread over a period from 552/1157 to 592/1196. In an early period of political instability, Ibn-Rushd wrote a series of مختصرات and جوامع that were highly dependent on previous masters. In a second period of relative political stability he wrote a series of تلاخيص that showed a relative independence from his early masters and championed a purer Aristotelianism; this culminated in a bold challenging of al-Ghazâlî and a revision of his kalâm. In a third period of greater political security and intellectual maturity Ibn-Rushd wrote a series of monumental شروح on philosophy and a series of تلاخيص on medicine.
Ibn-Rushd’s ambition was to bring philosophy to its perfection. In general he though he did so. But he was never satisfied with his writings. He was constantly revising his جوامع and تلاخيص and writing مقالات as post-publication notes on his other writings.
Al-`Alawî states that his own work is only a provisional overview. The same can be said of this article. What particularly remains to be done is to determine the exact phases of the revisions of Ibn-Rushd’s جوامع and تلاخيص, as al-`Alawî began to do. This requires a re-look at the manuscripts and an inventory of what was added or changed at what time. A closer look at details in the whole corpus may also give more clues to the time of composition of undated works.
 For the sources and details of his life, see R. Arnaldez, “Ibn-Rushd,” EI2.
 As he says in his تلخيص السماء والعالم, Book 3, p. 275.
 See al-`Alawî, op cit., p.221.
R. Brunschvig explains this in detail in his “Averroès juriste,” Etudes d’orientalisme dédiées à la mémoire de Lévi-Provençal, I (Paris, 1962), 35-68.
 See al-`Alawî, op. cit., pp. 154-167, for a good preliminary exploration of the question.
 See the text in al-`Alawî, op. cit., pp. 198-199.
 تفسير ما بعد الطبيعة, Δ (Bouyges, p. 1664).