Aristotle's Metaphysics

Translations and influence

Some of the earlier scholars of the Metaphysics were Arabs, who relied on Arabic translations from early Syriac translations from the Greek (see Medieval Philosophy). The book was lost in the Latin West from the collapse of Rome until the twelfth century. For a period, scholars relied on Latin translations of the Arabic, particular Michael Scot's translation of Averroes' commentary. These were sometimes inaccurate, having been through so many stages of translation.

In the thirteenth century, following the Fourth Crusade, the original Greek manuscripts became available. One of the first Latin translations was made by William of Moerbeke. William's translations are literal, and were intended faithfully to reflect the Greek word order and style. These formed the basis of the commentaries of Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus. They were also used by modern scholars for Greek editions, as William had access to Greek manuscripts that are now lost. Werner Jaeger lists William's translation in his edition of the Greek text in the Scriptorum Classicorum Bibliotheca Oxoniensis (Oxford 1962).[12]


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