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Center for Democratic Deliberation Lecture: Lahcen Ezzaher
Aristotle’s Rhetoric Through Arab Eyes: The Commentaries of Al-Farabi, Avicenna, and Averroes

In this paper, drawing upon my work over the last twenty years, I want to share with this distinguished audience some key characteristics in the commentaries of Al-Farabi, Avicenna, and Averroes on Aristotle’s Rhetoric.
• Aristotle’s treatise is a manual of rhetoric that presents the art of persuasion as a minor logical art. It was written for pedagogical purposes.
• The Arabic-Muslim commentators worked from an old translation of the Rhetoric done from Greek through Syriac into Arabic.
• The commentaries seek to provide an explication of Aristotle’s treatise on the art of rhetoric, which explains the fact that the commentaries are shorter or longer than the original treatise. Also, the commentaries present the Rhetoric as a work situated in the context of a logical corpus (the organon/the instrument).
• Aristotle’s treatise is situated in the context of a Greek literary and philosophical tradition (the treatise draws upon Homer and other Greek texts).
• The commentary is situated in an Arabic-Muslim literary and philosophical tradition (references are made to al-Farabi, Avicenna, al-Ghazali, Arabic poets and the Qur’an).
• The Rhetoric is adopted for and adapted to an Arabic-Muslim intellectual context. As a result, Greek logic, in general, becomes a controversial subject among Arabic-Muslim philosophers and men of letters (Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi, Al-Ghazali, and Averroes).

Mar 1, 2023 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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