Volume 8, Issue 2, 2011
A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism
The Convergence of Religious and Metaphysical Concepts
Mofet and Devequt in the Hebrew Translation of Averroës’ Long Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics
Translators of Aristotle’s and Averroës’ metaphysical works into 14th C Hebrew often associated important philosophical concepts with Hebrew terms that were also used to signify central Jewish and Biblical religious concepts. Here I examine how two such terms, “mofet” and “devequt”, were used to refer to extraordinary, divine wonders and to clinging (in particular to God) respectively in the religious texts, but to Aristotelian demonstration and continuity (especially noetic continuity) respectively in the translations of Averroës’ Long Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics. This kind of convergence of metaphysical and religious terms makes possible, indeed encourages, a re-interpretation of the religious concepts along Aristotelian lines. Biblical expressions of God’s wonders are thus to be interpreted to refer to Aristotelian demonstration and the mystical desire to cling to God is to refer to unifi cation with the Active Intellect.
Translatores, qui Aristotelis et Averrois opera metaphysica in linguam Hebraicam saeculi 14. transferebant, notabilibus conceptibus philosophicis saepe nomina Hebraica assignaverut, quibus et principales notiones religiosae Judaicae ac Biblicae solebant exprimi. In hac dissertatione investigatur, quomodo duo talium nominum, scil. “mofet” et “devequt”, quae in textibus religiosis “extra ordinaria miracula divina” et “adhaerentiam” (praecipue ad Deum) proprie significant, in translationibus Averrois Commentarii Magni in Aristotelis Metaphysicam ad demonstrationem Aristotelicam et continuationem (praecipue noeticam) significandas transumebantur. Huiusmodi nominum metaphysicorum cum religiosis coniunctio conceptus religiosos iuxta sensum Aristotelicum denuo explicari permittit, imo suadet. Hinc dicta Biblica quae miracula Dei olim significaverunt ad demonstrationes Aristotelicas relata sunt; item desiderium mysticum adhaerendi ad Deum de unione cum Intellectu Agenti intellectum est.