Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Aristotle's Poetics in the West (of India) from Antiquity to the Renaissance

A Multilingual Edition with Studies of the Cultural Contexts of the Syriac, Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin Translations

With the support of the Einstein Visiting Fellowship, the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies was able to bring a leading international scholar in Graeco-Arabica (i.e., the scientific translations from Greek into Arabic), Dimitri Gutas of Yale University, to Freie Universität Berlin. The Greek original of the Poetics has been edited in 2012 with D. Gutas as co-editor of this first critical edition (Leiden, with L. Tarán). The aim of this project is to critically edit Aristotle's Poetics and its commentaries in all languages it existed: Arabic, Syriac, Hebrew, and Latin. All texts will also be translated into English. This will be accompanied by a comparative study of its intellectual history that bridges Islam and Europe.

Gutas has been appointed Einstein Visiting Fellow at the BGSMCS 2016-2019 (project phase I), and 2019-2021 (project phase II). For this project, D. Gutas and B. Gruendler have gathered a group of cooperating scholars from Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science as well as international scholars. These are organized in subteams for each language, focusing on the respective editions of the Arabic, Syriac, Latin, and Hebrew versions, and studying the cultural and intellectual history of the Poetics and how the Islamic commentaries initiated the debate that continued with the European reception.

For the first time, a key work of world literature and science – and one that shows the cultural continuum of Europe, North Africa, and the Near East – is being philologically documented and historically contextualized throughout its entire history. The salient developments in the long transmission from antiquity to the Renaissance took place in the Islamic world where the earliest commentaries to the Aristotelian text were composed. Thus, at the core of the project stands the focus on the Poetics in Arabic-Islamic culture. The project, hosted at BGSMCS, is to become a model for future work on key texts, their multilingual editions and contextual studies.

After a successful first phase, the project was granted a prolongation of further two years until March 2021 by the Einstein Foundation Berlin in December 2018.


Project office:

Freie Universität Berlin, c/o Seminar für Semitistik und Arabistik, Neubau Kleine Fächer ‘Holzlaube’, Fabeckstraße 23/25, R –1.0004, 14195 Berlin

Contact: vasiliki.chamourgiotaki@fu-berlin.de, +49 (0)30-838-64538


The project is funded by the Einstein Foundation Berlin.