About the project

With the support of the Einstein Visiting Fellowship, the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies bring to Berlin a leading international scholar in Graeco-Arabica (i.e., the scientific translations from Greek into Arabic), Dimitri Gutas of Yale University, to edit critically and translate into English Aristotle's Poetics and its commentaries in all languages in which they appeared, together with a study of its cross-cultural reception. For the first time, a key work of world literature and science and one that throws a bridge between Europe and Islam is philologically documented and historically contextualized throughout its entire history. The salient developments in its long transmission from antiquity to the Renaissance took place in the Islamic world, which produced its earliest commentaries. Therefore the core of the project is the cultivation of the Poetics in Arabic-Islamic culture, and BGSMCS is its logical venue. This is intended to become a model for the multilingual edition and study of similar foundational texts.

Gutas co-edited the Greek original in a first critical edition. He now produces further editions (Arabic, Syriac, Latin, and Hebrew versions) together with a group of scholars from the BGSMCS and other institutes of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and the Max Planck Institut for the History of Science. The group also studies the cultural and intellectual history of the Poetics and how the Islamic commentaries shaped its European reception.

In addition, Gutas uses his handbook on editing Arabic texts as a basis for a yearly block seminar for Ph.D. candidates of the BGSMCS and other Berlin students, which is of lasting benefit for the BGSMCS.