Essay on Arabic Philosophy Lexicography
By Mauro Zonta
We would like to recommend a precious essay on the development of philosophical lexicon in Arab world. On June 2014, Prof. Mauro Zonta published in Italy his work entitled “Saggio di lessicografia filosofica araba” (Paideia), in which he demonstrates as many terms of medieval Arabic philosophy, later utilized also by European intellectuals, are expression of that extraordinary richness of contacts among Arabic culture (and language) and neighboring Regions’ cultures.
Since the first centuries of his expansion (600-1000 AD), Arab world came in contact with Near East Christian communities – in Syria, Caucasus, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Ethiopia – and, at same time, with Oriental regions – Iran, Central Asia and, directly or indirectly, India and China.
Mauro Zonta analyses the most relevant philosophical terms, like Substance, Matter, Soul, Demonstration and many others. He investigates – for the first time – the influence of various cultural traditions on Arabic philosophical lexicon, exploring as Arabic terms developed from Syriac, Persian, Sanskrit, Armenian, Chinese, etc.
What appear to us is an inclusive picture of the complexity of cultural (but also politic and economic) relationships all around Asia in the Middle Age. This fascinating and rigorous work show us as cultural interaction between West and East were intense and strong in that period, and could be still a spark for a reflection on modern dialogue in the area.
Mauro Zonta is Associate Professor of “History of Hebrew Philosophy” and “History of Arabic Philosophy” to the Department of Philosophy of University of Rome “La Sapienza”. He published many studies, we remember in particular his Italian translation of Guide of Perplex of Moshe Maimonides (2003) and the first critic edition of Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics by Avverroes (2011).