Alfarabius: De Platonis Philosophia

Rosenthal, Franz, and Walzer, Richard. Alfarabius: De Platonis Philosophia. London: Warburg Institute, 1943.

Overview:  The original, pioneering edition of the Philosophy of Plato, translated into, and even introduced in, Latin. The introduction contains some useful historical information, as well as example of the same source-hunting approach that Walzer would reiterate in his English edition of the Virtuous City, that would finally come to press a full 42 years later.

Book Review:

“The Warburg Institute has begun a new venture, Plato in Arabic, as part of a bigger whole. The present volume, though the second in the series, is the first to be published; it contains the Arabic text, with translation, introduction, and notes in Latin. The booklet by Alfarabi contains a list of the dialogues with brief summaries and assumes that all of them combine to form a coherent and consistent whole. There is nothing in the text to prove that the logical order was held to be that in which they were written. The text exists in one MS. at Stamboul and Dr. Kraus has corrected the many errors in it; indeed, one feels that his name should be on the title page. The editors take it for granted that this book derives from a Greek original and set out arguments to prove that it came to Alfarabi through a Syriac version. As a possible original they suggest the work of Theon, which is mentioned in the Fihrist. There is no mention of the doctrine of ideas or the immortality of the soul, for Alfarabi rejected them. …. The editors have left little room for criticism; in these days a book written in Latin seems a guarantee of order and stability.”

– (From A.S. Triton, in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol 74, Issue 3-4)