Arabic and Greek Science and Philosophy: Form and Style in the Transmission to the Latin West

Professor Charles Burnett, The Warburg Institute, University of London

These lectures will examine evidence from manuscripts in the Schoenberg Collection of University of Pennsylvania Library of the process of translation of Arabic, Greek and Latin manuscripts.

November 11-14, 2019
Lecture Open to the public
Ptolemy, [Almagest], LJS 268, 132v

All lectures begin at 5:30pm

  • Monday, November 11: Fides Interpres
    The different styles and approaches of the medieval translators from Arabic and Greek into Latin; from the literal to the paraphrastic; from the complete work to the epitome; revision and correction; the significance of the audience.
  • Tuesday, November 12: Sensus huius litterae est
    The varieties in glossing technique; scholia versus readers’ glosses; images as glosses; conversations in the margin; continuities from Greek and Arabic into Latin; the university setting.
  • Thursday, November 14: Intentio mea in hoc libro
    Long, medium and short commentaries; verse commentaries; commentaries on single books versus summae of several books; the ‘ego’ of the commentator; the scientific textbook. 

The lectures will draw on evidence from manuscripts in the Schoenberg Collection of University of Pennsylvania Library, and will be illustrated by examples from Arabic, Greek and Latin manuscripts and early printed books. The subject matter will range from mathematics, physics and metaphysics, to medicine, astrology and magic. Attention will be paid especially to the words of the translators, glossators and commentators themselves, as they endeavour to work out the most appropriate and clearest way of conveying the subject matter of their texts to their respective audiences.

Event Series

A.S.W. Rosenbah

The A.S.W. Rosenbach Lectures in Bibliography

The Rosenbach Fellowship in Bibliography, established by the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania in 1928, honors a gift for that purpose from A.S.W. Rosenbach, one of America's greatest book dealers and collectors.

Featured image: Ptolemy, [Almagest: manuscript, Spain], A.H. 783 (1381), LJS 268, 132v