A Fragment of the Syriac Translation of Aristotle’s Poetics Preserved by Jacob Bar Shakko
The fragment of the Syriac translation of Aristotle’s Poetics preserved by Jacob (Severus) Bar Shakko (d. 1241) comprises Poet. VI 1449b24–1450a10. In spite of its small size, it serves as an important witness both to the Greek text of the Poetics, and to the reception of this work in the Christian Orient and, later on, in the Muslim world. The fragment derives from a translation, which most likely appeared in West Syriac circles in the 7th/8th centuries AD and later served as the basis for the Arabic translation of the Poetics made by Abū Bishr Mattā ibn Yūnus in the 10th century. The present article includes a new edition of the Syriac text preserved by Bar Shakko, which is based on the collation of six manuscripts and is accompanied by an English translation. The article also provides a detailed analysis of the Syriac fragment as compared to the transmitted Greek text of the Poetics, on the one hand, and to the Arabic translation of it by Abū Bishr, on the other. This comparison allows an assumption that the Syriac version is most likely based on a Greek manuscript, which may have contained glosses and scholia. A Greek and Syriac glossary is attached at the end of the article.
Aristotle’s Poetics, Syriac translation from the Greek, Arabic translations from the Syriac
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