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Title: Alexander of Aphrodisias' On the Principles of the Universe in a Syriac Adaptation
Author(s): KING, Daniel
Journal: Le Muséon
Volume: 123    Issue: 1-2   Date: 2010   
Pages: 159-191
DOI: 10.2143/MUS.123.1.2052769

Abstract :
Alexander of Aphrodisias’ On the Principles of the Universe (Mabadi’) is extant in a Syriac adaptation as well as its better known Arabic translation. This adaptation, made by the sixth century polymath and doctor Sergius of Reshaina, yields important clues as to the latter’s special concerns and background. The paper shows how Sergius omitted from the Peripatetic text all references to the world’s eternity, a concern that is known from other contemporary Christian philosophical works. However, Sergius does adopt Alexander’s doctrine of celestial motion and influence on the sublunar realm. This cosmology could be, and was, used to buttress modified forms of astrological doctrine, and this appears also to have been Sergius’ own purpose in translating and circulating this influential work. A proper knowledge of the heavens and their sublunar influence allowed the mind to ascend to the higher levels of the contemplation of God.

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