Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

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Ibn Zurʿa, ʿĪsā ibn Isḥāq

  • Cecilia Martini BonadeoEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1151-5_237-2
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Abstract

‘Īsā ibn Zur‘a was a Jacobite Christian of the tenth-century Baghdad. He was a famous translator from Syriac into Arabic of several Aristotelian works of zoology and logic.

Abū ‘Alī ‘Īsā ibn Isḥāq ibn Zur‘a was born in Baghdad in 943. He was a Jacobite Christian and studied philosophy and Christian theology under the guide of Yaḥyā b. ‘Adī (d. 974). Even though he did not practice medicine, he was acquainted with some doctors of al-ʿAḍudī hospital in Baghdad: Ibn Bakkūs, a translator of medical treatises, Abū l-Ḥusayn Ibn Kaškarāyā, and Abū Manṣūr Ṣāʿid ibn Bišr ʿAbdūs. From Abū Ḥayyān al-Tawḥīdī (d.1023), we know that he was a merchant in trade with Byzantium; for this reason, he was suspected of having plotted intrigues with the Byzantines, and he was judged faulty and lost his properties. He died in Baghdad in 1008. Ibn Zurʿa was the most prominent student of Yaḥyā Ibn ʿAdī, and like his teacher, he was a Christian theologian and apologist.

He was also a good translator from Syriac into Arabic of several Aristotelian works. His Arabic translation of the Sophistici elenchi (Kitāb Sūfisṭīqā naql Abī ʿAlī ʿĪsā ibn Isḥāq Ibn Zurʿa min al-suryānī bi-naql Aṯānis min al-yūnānī) was based on the Syriac version by Athanasius of Balad, and it improved Yaḥyā Ibn ʿAdī’s earlier Arabic translation with additional Syriac material by Theophilus of Edessa. In the MS Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, ar. 2346, the Sophistici elenchi in all likelihood are copied from Ibn al-Samḥ’s copy of ‘Īsā ibn Zur‘a’s autograph. Ibn Zurʿa attributed to this Aristotelian treatise a very important role in the debate between philosophy and theology (Badawī ʿAbd al-Raḥmān. [1980]; ‘Īsā ibn Isḥāq ibn Zur‘a. [1994]).

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Bibliography

Primary Sources

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient WorldUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly