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Accueil > Archives > Journées et colloques des années précédentes > Journées et colloques 2012–2013 > Māshā’allāh, Book of the Sphere : the Arabic Versions and their Circulation in Latin and Hebraic Cultures

Māshā’allāh, Book of the Sphere : the Arabic Versions and their Circulation in Latin and Hebraic Cultures

Thursday, 14 February 2013
 !! exceptionnally : 16:00 – 18:30 !!
Univ. Paris Diderot, building Condorcet,
4 rue Elsa Morante, 75013 Paris,
Room Mondrian (646A)

Nuremberg, 1504 (Johann Weissenburger).
Wood engraving attr. to Albrecht Dürer.

Charles Burnett (Warburg Institute, Londres) and Barbara Obrist (CNRS, Univ. Paris Diderot) :

Introduction : the Latin Versions of the Liber de orbe

Taro Mimura (Univ. of Manchester) :

The Arabic Original of (ps.) Māshā’allāh, Liber de orbe : Date, Authorship, and Content

Shlomo Sela (Univ. of Bar-Ilan) :

The Reception of Māshā’allāh’s Cosmology in Twelfth-Century Jewish Thought

Book of the Sphere. Pennsylvanie, Univ. of Pennsylvania
Rare Book and Manuscript Library, LJS, MS 439 (s. XIV).

Attributed to Māshā’allāh (fl. Baghdad, 762 – ca 813) in the list of Gerard of Cremona’s translations, the short version of the Book of the Sphere (ed. Nuremberg) has been analyzed with regard to its astronomy by D. Pingree. More recently, the influence of its expanded version could be traced in works of authors of the twelfth century, who adopted both its astronomy and its peripatetic physics. S. Sela has demonstrated that Maimonides knew the Book of the Sphere, while T. Mimura was able to identify two Arabic manuscripts.
This document, the importance of which has been recognized only very recently, raises such fundamental questions as those of its ultimate origin and of its elaborations - especially with regard to physics and geography -, of its Latin translations, as well as of its impact. Both the Arabic and the Latin versions are awaiting critical editions.

Bibliography :

- texts :

  • Arabic versions :
    • 1) Berlin, Staatsbibl. zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, MS. Or. Oct. 273 ;
    • 2) Pennsylvanie, Univ. de Pennsylvanie, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, LJS, MS 439.
  • Expanded Latin Version :
    • 1) Florence, Bibl. Naz., MS Conv. Soppr. J. I. 132 ;
    • 2) New York, Columbia Univ. Library, MS Plimpton 16 ;
    • 3) Paris, BNF, MS lat. 15015.
  • Short Latin Version : éds. Nuremberg, 1504 ; 1549.

- studies :

  • B. Obrist, « William of Conches, Māshā’allāh, and Twelfth-Century Cosmology », Archives d’histoire littéraire et doctrinale du Moyen Age, 76 (2009), 29-87 ; EAD, « Twelfth-Century Cosmography, the De scecretis philosophie, and Māshā’allāh (attr. to), Liber de orbe », Traditio, 67 (2012), 235-76.
  • D. Pingree, « Māshā’allāh : Some Sassanian and Syriac Sources », in Essays on Islamic Philosophy and Science, G. F. Hourani éd., New York, 1975, 5-14 ; ID., « The Indian and Pseudo-Indian Passages in Greek and Latin Astronomical and Astrological Texts », Viator, 7 (1976), 141-95.
  • S. Sela, « Maimonides and Māshā’allāh on the Ninth Orb of the Signs and Astrology », Aleph, 12 (2012), 101-34.

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