For the first time, a fundamental text by one of the most important philosophers in history, ‘Metaphysics’ by Avicenna, will be republished by Scuola Normale Superiore and become accessible to scholars and the public at large. One of the greatest thinkers in the history of Islamic philosophy, Avicenna wrote some 450 works of which 240 on philosophy and medicine have survived. Avicenna – the Latinized name for Ibn Sina – was of Persian extraction but wrote in Arabic. The European Research Council has funded with over 1.1 million euros a project supervised by Amos Bertolacci, a professor of Islamic philosophy.
Bertolacci will work with a team of 10 researchers in the next five years to try and fill the gap in the bibliography of the most famous philosopher in Islamic culture who lived at the turn of the first millennium. Up until today, no complete and trustworthy edition has been published of Aviecenna’s Ilahiyyat, his most important work on metaphysics and a turning point in the history of philosophy until modern age.
The project means to replace existing versions so far published, considered partly incomplete or flawed, with a trustworthy edition with an English translation, comment and lexicons.
As a text representing a crossroads for the Greek, Arab, Latin and Jewish culture, as well as Islam, Christianity and Judaism and different intellectual approaches – philosophy, theology and sciences – Avicenna’s work is key to understanding the complex nature of Medieval thought and to providing a contemporary positive example for inter-cultural and multi-faith dialogue in a number of disciplines.
Born close to Bukhara, in today’s Uzbekistan, Avicenna was a leading thinker of eastern Islam – a philosopher, political advisor and doctor whose Book of Healing was a standard medical text in the Middle Ages.
His complex body of work inspired by Greek culture and Islamic faith has contributed to his longstanding charisma and leading influence in the Arab and Western world across the centuries.
His ‘Metaphysics’, translated into Latin in the 12th century, was, along with Aristotle’s work, the most influential reference point for Scholastic theologians which contributed to momentous choices in Western philosophy.