Reason and Revelation in Byzantine Antioch

The Christian Translation Program of Abdallah ibn al-Fadl

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Alexandre M. Roberts
Berkeley Series in Postclassical Islamic Scholarship
  • Berkeley: 
    University of California Press
    , January
     352 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


This book investigates the medieval legacy of ancient science and philosophy in the Eastern Roman ('Byzantine') Empire and the Islamic World, and how Abrahamic religions shaped and were shaped by scholars' reception and adaptation of ancient educational traditions. It carries out this investigation through the lens of an eleventh-century Christian theologian and prodigious translator from Greek into Arabic, ʻAbdallāh ibn-al-Faḍl al-Anṭākī. Living in Antioch-on-the-Orontes in Northern Syria, under Byzantine rule from 969 until 1084, Ibn-al-Faḍl was poised between the Byzantine Empire that controlled his city and the Arabophone cultural universe of Syria-Palestine, Fatimid Egypt, Mirdasid Aleppo, and Abbasid-Buyid Iraq. A close look at Ibn-al-Faḍl's literary output, and especially his ambitious Greek-Arabic, Christian translation program, as preserved in medieval and early-modern manuscripts, demonstrates his engagement with ancient Greek and contemporary Byzantine and Arabic philosophy, science, and literary culture. This opens a window onto a shared scholarly culture of robust intellectual curiosity in the service of tradition that had a lasting role in Eurasian intellectual history.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Alexandre M. Roberts teaches in the Department of Classics at the University of Southern California.



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