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Intellect

BYU's Maxwell Institute publishes new volume in METI series

Middle Eastern Texts Initiative focuses on Arabic scholars

The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University announced the publication of the newest title in its Middle Eastern Texts Initiative. “Avicenna: The Physics of ‘The Healing,’” was translated by Jon McGinnis, an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy of the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

The Middle Eastern Texts Initiative publishes texts and accompanying English translations of important works of philosophy, theology, science and mysticism from the classical Islamic period (roughly the ninth through 14th centuries A.D.).

Avicenna, who died in 1037 A. D., was perhaps the greatest of the Islamic philosophers. Written as a prelude to his “Metaphysics of ‘The Healing’” (which BYU published in 2005 with a translation by Michael E. Marmura), “Physics” is a brilliant synthesis of Aristotelian ideas and Avicenna’s own philosophy and is a crucial text for understanding many of the concepts Avicenna develops more fully in the “Metaphysics,” according to METI director Morgan Davis.

“Both texts are part of a larger, encyclopedic work by Avicenna called ‘The Healing,’ which contained his treatment of the whole range of Aristotelian topics — everything from meteorology to ethics, from music to anatomy,” said Davis.

“Physics” has been published in two volumes that are sold together. The Arabic text and the English translation are given on facing pages. Some 30 figures and illustrations accompany the work, some of which are original to Avicenna’s text, while others are provided by the translator in his notes to help make difficult concepts more understandable. There is also a complete index and a glossary of terms that details how certain technical words in Arabic were interpreted into English by professor McGinnis.

“Physics” is the seventh volume in the Islamic Translation Series and the 16th work to be published by BYU’s Middle Eastern Texts Initiative. In addition to the Islamic Translation Series, the Initiative also includes the Eastern Christian Texts series and a series of the Medical Works of Moses Maimonides, the eminent Jewish rabbi and physician.

METI continues to benefit from the diligent effort and good will of scholars and sponsors across the world and across many cultural, linguistic and religious frontiers. All METI titles are published by BYU Press and distributed by the University of Chicago Press.

For more information, contact Morgan Davis at (801) 422-8644.

Writer: Morgan Davis

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