Zürich, Zentralbibliothek, Ms. Heidenheim 166
Creative Commons License

Dr. Justine Isserles, Associate Researcher, EPHE-SAPRAT, Paris, 2020.

Titre du manuscrit: Averroes, Hebrew translation by Qalonymos ben Qalonymos of the Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics
Origine: Italy
Période: 15th century
Support: Watermarked paper of a crossbow in a circle (Briquet n°758)‎
Volume: II + 46 + I
Format: 323 x 223 mm‎
Numérotation des pages: Foliation from right to left in Arabic numerals in grey pencil situated in the left top corner of each folio.
Composition des cahiers: 6 quires of 2 quinions and 2 ternions, ending with 1 senion and 1 bifolio.‎ I quinion (1r-10v); II ternion (11r-16v); III quinion (17r-26v) ; IV ternion (27r-32v) ; V senion (33r-44v) ; VI bifolio (45r-46v).‎ When the paper of these quires was restored, some lone folios were glued to various quires, thus no longer permitting the counting of the folios per quire.
‎ Presence of catchwords in the bottom margin on the verso of most folios in the manuscript.
Etat: Well-preserved manuscript, albeit heavily restored paper around the edges. Some humidity and water (?) stains resulting in some fading of the text (e.g. ff. 32v-33r). Some traces of bookworm holes throughout the manuscript but especially from folio 37 onwards until the end of the manuscript.‎
Mise en page: No pricking or ruling. 41 written lines. Letter elongation and compression at the end of lines as well as the placement of the last letter of a word in exponential mode above it, touching the justification column.‎ Layout in two columns. Inner and outer indentations of the text around the initial words.
Type d'écritures et copistes: Italian bookhand script in medium module for the initial words and in small module for the main text. One scribe copied this manuscript.‎
Décoration: No decoration, except for a manicule in a lateral margin (f. 15v) and a decoratively written marginal gloss in the shape of an hour glass (f. 37v) or triangles (ff. 33v, 35r).‎
Ajouts: Various words and notes in the margins.‎
Reliure: New cream coloured cardboard binding (2020) measuring 330 x 235 mm, with a spine made of brown material and new flyleaves.‎
This almost complete Italian 15th century paper copy is composed of Books II to VIII of the Hebrew translation of Averroes’ Middle Commentary on the Physics by Aristotle. The learned Andalusian polymath, jurist and imam, Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Rushd – or Averroes (1126-1198), known as the Commentator, devoted his entire life on expounding and restoring Aristotle’s original teachings, and writing commentaries on nearly all of Aristotle’s works. These have been classified by modern scholars into three kinds of commentaries as short, middle and long commentaries. Known as the last great representative of Aristotelian philosophy in Islam, Averroes’ commentaries had a limited impact on later Muslim philosophers, resulting in the loss today of several of his most important commentaries in Arabic (Harvey, “Reflections”, p. 404). Among these no longer extant works, are the Long and the Middle Commentaries on Aristotle’s Physics, which explains why few studies have focused on Averroes’ physical writings (Harvey, “Reflections”, pp. 405, 411). However, Averroes was considered one of the most influential philosophic authorities of the Middle Ages, not only among the Latin Scholastics, but particularly among Jews, for the understanding of Aristotelian science through the Hebrew translations of his commentaries (Harvey, “Reflections”, p. 405; Harvey, “Averroes the Commentator”, pp. 279-296).
‎The Middle Commentary is the least known of Averroes’ commentaries on the Physics and exists today in two complete Hebrew translations and one partial 16th century Hebrew-to-Latin translation of the first three books by Jacob Mantino (Glasner, 2009, pp. 11-13, 30). The Arabic to Hebrew translations of this work were made by two translators: the Spanish Jewish physician and philosopher Zeraḥya ben Isaac ben Shaltiel Halevi (active last quarter of the 13th century; Steinschneider, p. 114), who translated the work in 1284, and of which only two manuscripts are extant (Harvey, 1977), and by the Provençal Jewish philosopher Qalonymos ben Qalonymos (1286-d. after 1328) (Steinschneider, pp. 114-115). It is the latter’s translation of 1316, entitled Bi᷾ ur ha-Shema’ (the name Sefer Shema’ ha-Ṭiv᷾ i is also found in other manuscript copies) which was the most widely copied (extant in more than 40 copies) (Glasner, 2009, p. 11), and which is found in the Italian copy of Zurich, Ms Heid. 166. It is also noteworthy to add that Moritz Steinschneider did not know of the existence of the Zurich copy, as it is not listed with the other extant manuscripts enclosing the Hebrew translation of this work by Qalonymos ben Qalonymos (Steinschneider, p. 114-115). Lastly, the Middle Commentary on the Physics is not a paraphrase – contrarily to other middle commentaries by Averroes, which are paraphrases clarifying and simplifying Aristotle's original text (Taylor, 2005) – but contains new interpretations and arguments with other commentators, with each subject organized in a structured form, ultimately reflecting a “highly systematic character” (Glasner, 2009, p.12).‎
  • The beginning is missing the table of contents and Book I.‎
  • Book II (‎המאמר השני‎) :‎
    • (f. 1r/v) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)‎
    • (ff. 1v-2v) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)‎
    • (ff. 2v-3r) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
    • (f. 3r/v) : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרבעי‎)‎
  • Book III‏ ‏‎(‎המאמר השלישי‎) :
    • (f. 3v) : Rule one (‎הכלל הראשון‎) and Rule two (‎הכלל השני‎)
      • (f. 3v) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)‎
      • (f. 4r) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)‎
      • (f. 4r) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
      • (f. 4r/v)  : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרביעי‎)‎
      • (f. 4v) : Chapter five (‎הפרק החמישי‎)‎
      • (f. 4v) : Chapter six (‎הפרק השישי‎)
    • (ff. 4v-5r) : Rule three (‎הכלל השלישי‎)‎
      • (f. 5r) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)‎
      • (f. 5r) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)‎
      • (f. 5v) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)
      • (f. 5v) : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרבעי‎)‎
        • (f. 5v) : Part one (‎החלק הראשון‎) and Part two (‎החלק השני‎)‎
      • (ff. 6v-7v) : Chapter five (‎הפרק החמישי‎)‎
      • (f. 7v) : Chapter six (‎הפרק השישי‎)‎
      • (f. 7v) : Chapter seven (‎הפרק השביעי‎)‎
      • (f. 8r) : Chapter eight (‎הפרק השמיני‎)‎
  • Book IV (‎המאמר הרביעי‎) :
    • (f. 8r) : Rule one (‎הכלל הראשון‎)‎
      • (f. 8r) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)
      • (f. 8v) : Chapter six (‎הפרק השישי‎) (scribal error ?)
      • (f. 8v)  : Chapter seven (‎הפרק השביעי‎) (scribal error ?)‎
      • (f. 9r) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)
      • (f. 9r) : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרביעי‎)‎
      • (f. 9v) : Chapter five (‎הפרק החמישי‎)‎
      • (f. 9v) : Chapter six (‎הפרק השישי‎)
      • (f. 9v) : Chapter seven (‎הפרק השביעי‎)
      • (ff. 9v-10v) : Chapter eight (‎הפרק השמיני‎)‎
      • (ff. 10v-11r) : Chapter nine (‎הפרק התשיעי‎)‎
      • (f. 11r) : Chapter ten (‎הפרק העשירי‎)‎
    • (f. 11v) : Rule two (‎הכלל השני‎)
      • (f. 11v) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)
      • (ff. 11v-12r) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)
      • (f. 12r) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
      • (f. 12r/v) : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרביעי‎)‎
      • (ff. 12v-14r) : Chapter five (‎הפרק החמישי‎)
      • (f. 14r) : Chapter six (‎הפרק השישי‎)‎
    • (f. 14r) : Rule three (‎הכלל השלישי‎)‎
      • (f. 14r) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)‎
      • (f. 14r) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)‎
      • (ff. 14v-15r) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
      • (ff. 15r-16v) : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרביעי‎)‎
      • (ff. 16v-17r) : Chapter five (‎הפרק החמישי‎)‎
      • (f. 17r) : Chapter six (‎הפרק השישי‎)‎
      • (f. 17r/v) : Chapter seven (‎הפרק השביעי‎)‎
      • (ff. 17v-18r) : Chapter eight (‎הפרק השמיני‎)‎
  • Book V (‎המאמר החמישי‎) :
    • (f. 18r) : Rule one (‎הכלל הראשון‎)‎
      • (f. 18r) Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)
      • (f. 18r/v) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)
      • (f. 18v) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
    • (f. 18v) : Rule two (‎הכלל השני‎)‎
      • (f. 18v) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)
      • (ff. 18v-19r) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)
      • (f. 19r) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
      • (f. 19r/v) : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרביעי‎)‎
      • (ff. 19v-20r) : Chapter five (‎הפרק החמישי‎)‎
      • (f. 20r) : Chapter six (‎הפרק השישי‎)‎
    • (f. 20r) : Rule three (‎הכלל השלישי‎)‎
      • (f. 20r) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)
      • (f. 20r) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)‎
      • (f. 20r) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
      • (f. 20r) : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרביעי‎)‎
      • (f. 20r/v) : Chapter five (‎הפרק החמישי‎)‎
      • (f. 20v) : Chapter six (‎הפרק השישי‎)
    • (f. 20v) : Rule four (‎הכלל רביעי‎)‎
      • (ff. 20v-21r) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)‎
      • (f. 21r) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)
      • (f. 21v) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
    • (f. 21v) : Rule five (‎הכלל רביעי‎)‎
      • (ff. 21v-22r) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)‎
      • (f. 22r/v) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)
      • (f. 22v) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)
  • Book VI (‎המאמר החמישי‎) :‎
    • (f. 23r) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)
    • (ff. 23v-24r) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)
    • (f. 24r/v) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
    • (f. 24v) : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרביעי‎)‎
    • (f. 25r) : Chapter five (‎הפרק החמישי‎)‎
    • (f. 25r) : Chapter six (‎הפרק השישי‎)‎
    • (ff. 25r-26v) : Chapter seven (‎הפרק השביעי‎)
    • (ff. 26v-27r) : Chapter eight (‎הפרק השמיני‎)
    • (f. 27r) : Chapter nine (‎הפרק התשיעי‎)
    • (ff. 27v-28v) : Chapter ten (‎הפרק העשירי‎)
    • (ff. 28v-29v) : Chapter eleven (‎הפרק ה''יא‎)‎
    • (f. 29v) : Chapter twelve (‎הפרק ה''יב‎)‎
    • (f. 29v) : Chapter thirteen (‎הפרק ה''יג‎)
  • Book VII (‎המאמר השביעי‎) :
    • (f. 30r/v) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)‎
    • (ff. 30v-31r) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)
    • (f. 31r/v) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)
    • (ff. 31v-32v) : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרביעי‎)‎
    • (ff. 32v-33r) : Chapter five (‎הפרק החמישי‎)‎
    • (f. 33r/v) : Chapter six (‎הפרק השישי‎)
  • Book VIII (‎המאמר השמיני‎):
    • (f. 33v) : Rule one (‎הכלל הראשון‎)‎
      • (f. 33v) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)‎
      • (f. 34r) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)
      • (f. 34r) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
    • (f. 34r) : Rule two (‎הכלל השני‎)‎
      • (f. 34r) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)‎
      • (ff. 34r-35r) : Chapter two (‎הפרק ה''ב‎)‎
      • (f. 35r/v) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎) (scribal error ?)
      • (f. 35v) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)
      • (f. 36r) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
      • (f. 36r/v) : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרביעי‎)
      • (ff. 36v-37r) : Chapter five (‎הפרק החמישי‎)‎
    • (f. 37r) : Rule three (‎הכלל השלישי‎)
      • (f. 37r) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)
      • (f. 37r/v) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)‎
    • (f. 37v) : Rule four (‎הכלל הרביעי‎)
      • (f. 37v) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)‎
      • (ff. 37v-38r) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)‎
      • (f. 38r) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
      • (f. 38r) : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרביעי‎)
    • (f. 41r) : Rule five (‎הכלל החמישי‎)
      • (ff. 41r-42r) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)‎
      • (f. 42r) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)‎
      • (ff. 42r-43v) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
      • (f. 43v) : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרביעי‎)
    • (f. 44r) : Rule six (‎הפרק השישי‎)
      • (f. 44r) : Chapter one (‎הפרק הראשון‎)‎
      • (f. 44r/v) : Chapter two (‎הפרק השני‎)‎
      • (f. 44v) : Chapter three (‎הפרק השלישי‎)‎
      • (f. 44v) : Chapter four (‎הפרק הרביעי‎)‎
      • (ff. 44v-45r) : Chapter five (‎הפרק החמישי‎)
        Colophon: On folio 45r, last sentence of Book VIII, chapter 5:
        נלשמה העתקת באיור השמע למבאר החשובן רושד
        והיא העתקת קלונימוס בר' קלונימוס בר מאיר
        Completion of the copying of Bi ᷾ur ha-Shema’ for explaining the important Rushd
        And it was copied by Qalonymos bar Qalonymos bar Meir.
    • (ff. 45v-46r) : Blank pages‎
Provenance du manuscrit:
  • Hebrew Owner’s notes in the manuscript:
    Flyleaf II at the beginning of the volume: ‎
    • Title of work in a cursive script in large module:
      ‎ Transcription:‎ ביאור השמע [....] אבן רשד פילסיפי על [הוורה/היירה]‏
      Translation:‎ Explanation of the Physics… Ibn Rushd Philosopher on […]‎
    • Owner’s note‎ below in a tiny module cursive script:‎‎
      Transcription: הלוויתי זה הספר באיור השמע לאבן רשד מן מה' אייזיק שתדלן יצ''ו ‏
      Translation:‎ I borrowed this book on the explanation of the Physics by Ibn Rushd, belonging to Izik Shtadlan/Shtadlen may his Rock keep him and grant him life.
  • This manuscript was part of the collection of Moritz Heidenheim (1824-1898), a German Jewish scholar from Worms, who converted to Anglicanism. After several years studying in London, Heidenheim came to Zurich in 1864 and became an Anglican chaplain, where stayed until his death in 1898.
Acquisition du manuscrit: In 1899, the collection of 211 Hebrew manuscripts (189 paper and 22 parchment manuscripts) and 2587 printed books entered the Zentralbibliothek in Zurich. This collection encompasses a wide variety of subjects, including biblical, exegetical, halakhic, liturgical, grammatical, lexicographical, cabbalistic, astronomical and apologetical literature, and conveys above all, Moritz Heidenheim’s scholarly and scientific interests as a 19th century bibliophile (O. Franz-Klauser, 2006, pp.116, 241, 246).
On flyleaf II at the beginning of the volume, number 488 written in grey pencil at the top of the page, followed underneath by the number N. 11, written in brown ink and framed in a square. Small paper description of a manuscript of similar content glued on this same flyleaf: 665 Aristotles de physica, in Hebrew: MSS. Of this class are very uncommon. Fol. 88 pp.
Manuscript catalogues:
  • J. Prijs, Die hebraïschen Handschriften der Zentralbibliothek Zürich. Im Auftrag der Verwaltung der Zentralbibliothek beschrieben von Joseph Prijs (7 vols.), vol. 4, Nr. 168, pp. 337-338.‎
  • A. Schechter, Die hebraïschen Manuscripte der Zentralbibliothek zu Zürich (Abt. Heidenheim) von Abraham Schechter. Abgeschlossen am 15. September 1921, (Hebrew), pp. 199-200 .‎
Printed catalogues and secondary literature:‎
  • Averroes, Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics. Hebrew trans. Qalonymus b. Qalonymus, Books One and Two, ed. and trans. S. Harvey, « Averroes on the Principles of Nature: The Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics I-II » (PhD diss., Harvard University, 1977).‎
  • C. M. Briquet, Les filigranes. Dictionnaire historique des marques du papier dès leur apparition vers 1282 jusqu’en 1600. A Facsimile of the 1907 Edition with Supplementary Material Contributed by a Number of Scholars, A. Stevenson (ed.) (Amsterdam: The Paper Publications Society, 1968), 4 vols.‎
  • Ch. Burnett, « Arabic into Latin: The Reception of Arabic Philosophy into Western Europe », in The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, P. Adamson and R. Taylor (eds.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 370–404.‎
  • Ch. Burnett, « Translation from Arabic into Latin in the Middle Ages » and « Aristotle in Translation in Medieval Europe », in Übersetzung-Translation-Traduction, H. Kittel, et al. (eds.) (Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 2007), pp. 1231–1237 and 1308–1310.‎
  • O. Franz-Klauser, Ein Leben zwischen Judentum und Christentum. Moritz Heidenheim (1824-1898) (Zurich: Chronos Verlag, 2008).‎
  • R. Glasner, Averroes’ Physics: A Turning Point in Medieval Natural Philosophy (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2009).‎
  • S. Harvey, Averroes on the Principles of Nature : The Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics I-II (PhD Diss., Harvard University, Cambridge (Mass.), 1977).‎
  • S. Harvey, «When Did Jews Begin to Consider Averroes the Commentator? », in Florilegium mediaevale, J. Meirinhos and O. Weijers (eds.) (Louvain-la-Neuve: Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médievales, 2009), pp. 279-296.‎
  • S. Harvey, « Logic, Theology, and the Beginning of Medieval Jewish Philosophy », in The Word in Medieval Logic, Theology, and Psychology, T. Shimizu and Ch. Burnett (eds.) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2009), pp. 233-244.‎
  • S. Harvey, « Reflections on Ruth Glasner’s Averroes’ Physics », Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism 12.2 (2012), pp. 403-412.‎
  • S. Harvey, « Jewish Philosophy in Hebrew », in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy, J. Marcuton (ed.) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 148-165.‎
  • S. Harvey, « Are the Medieval Hebrew Translations of Averroes’ Commentaries on Aristotle Still of Value and Worth Editing? », in The Letter before the Spirit: The Importance of Text Editions for the Study of the Reception of Aristotle, A. M. I. van Oppenraay and R. Fontaine (eds.) (Leiden: Brill, 2012), pp. 195-210.‎
  • J. Prijs, Die hebräischen Handschriften in der Schweiz: Katalog der hebräischen Handschriften in den Schweizer öffentlichen Bibliotheken … redigiert auf Grund der Beschreibungen von Joseph Prijs (Basel, Benei Beraq: Sefer Verlag, 2018), pp. 210-211.‎
  • M. Steinschneider, Die Hebraeischen Uebersetzungen des Mittelalters und die Juden als Dolmetscher. Ein Beitrag zur Literaturgeschichte des Mittelalters, Meist nach Handschriftlichen Quellen (Berlin: 1893), pp. 114-115.‎
  • R. C. Taylor, « Averroes: Religious Dialectic and Aristotelian Philosophical Thought », in The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, P. Adamson and R. C. Taylor (eds.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 180–200.