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Hansberger to R&R as Visiting Scholar

News: Mar 29, 2017

We are happy to announce that Dr. Rotraud Hansberger will be joining Representation and Reality for three months (April 24th to July 29th) to work on the unique manuscript of the Arabic “translation” of Aristotle’s Parva Naturalia (Kitāb al-Ḥiss wa-al-maḥsūs). She is the authority on this text, and this visiting fellowship at Representation and Reality will provide her with the resources, time, and critical engagement required for preparing an edition. Our programme is devoted to the study of the Aristotelian tradition across linguistic boundaries, and our research flourishes in the interdisciplinary history of textual reception. Since its discovery in 1985, an edition of this particular text has been a desideratum for scholars working on the reception of the Greek Parva Naturalia in Syriac and Arabic, as well as for scholars working on the history of Arabic philosophy of mind. While excerpts were known from later citations, Dr. Hansberger has established that the text itself is an unusually fascinating instance of “transposed” Aristotelian thought: the “translator” freely adapted the Greek original, reflecting the concerns and presuppositions of 9th Century medical and psychological sciences. Dr. Hansberger has already published several articles on the textual history and contents of the work, but a residence at Gothenburg would allow her to make substantial progress in preparing the edition of the text itself for publication while—most importantly, from our perspective—opening up the text to those of us working on the Greco-Arabic tradition.

Access to this text will ensure that our research on the topics of Parva Naturalia, particularly on sensation and on sleep and dreams, will include the earliest Arabic Aristotelian material available. Our research programme will be able to coordinate our efforts in establishing the significant philosophical problems rooted in the text and their interpretation over time. In conjunction with the other work our researchers are doing on early Arabic models of sense perception and dreams, Dr. Hansberger’s research will encourage a comprehensive study of these topics as they were transformed by the introduction of Aristotelian theory in this deliberately adaptive form. With her expertise in the Greek and Arabic Aristotelian traditions, Dr. Hansberger will be a vital member of the team during her fellowship, allowing us to attain our publishing goals while hosting workshops to mine the text for new insights into the creative sophistication of the Arabic reception of Aristotle. Dr. Hansberger’s other current research endeavours, on the internal faculties in Arabic philosophy, are also directly related to the aims of the programme, and we expect a mutually beneficial relationship during her tenure here.



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