1 For an argument to this effect, see Zimmerman 1986, especially 115-135.

2 An Arabic edition of almost all this material was published as Badaw! 1955. This is the Arabic text which I use here. Geoffrey Lewis has provided us with an English translation of all three texts, which is available in Henry and Schwyzer 1959. I will cite all three texts by the section numbers in Lewis' translation along with page citations from Badawl. All translations are my own.

3 As Cristina D'Ancona Costa has pointed out, the same doctrine can be found in the Liber de

Causis, Prop. 5: "And thus it happens that the First is the one for which description fails. And this is only like this because there is above it no cause through which it is known. And each thing is only known and described from its cause. And when the thing is only a cause and not an effect, it is not known by a prior cause, and is not described because it is higher than description, and speech does not reach it." See D'Ancona Costa 1993, 18.

4 For example, on the assumption that AP was produced in al-Kindl's circle, the Adaptor would have known Ustath's translation of the Metaphysics. See Zimmermann, appendix III (p. 136). See also my article "Aristotelianism and the Soul in the Arabic Plotinus," forthcoming in The Journal ofthe History of Ideas.

5 Richard Taylor has suggested to me that this conclusion could be reached from Aristotelian premises as follows. If (a) the intellect is identical to its intelligible object, and (b) the intellect could only have demonstrative propter quid knowledge of God by knowing the cause of God, then it follows (c) that the intellect would have to be the cause of God to know God demonstratively. (For the use Averroes makes of this line of reasoning, see Taylor 1998.) Even though point (b) is Aristotelian, as I argued above, point (a) is Plotinian as well as Aristotelian. See, for example, Th.A 11.21, which follows Plotinus closely in asserting that the intellect takes on the form it knows. The Adaptor seems to recognize the Aristotelian heritage of this view, since he adds that the mind becomes like its object "in act." However, even if we are to admit that the intellect's knowledge of God can be reached by Aristotelian principles, the intellect's knowledge of its own effects is harder to explain without assuming some source other than Aristotle: see the next two points presented in the main text.

6 See Badawl 1955, 99 footnote 9.

7 This is partially based on Aristotle's discussion of the grades of actuality in De Anima II.5:

when a sighted person sees, or when someone with knowledge uses that knowledge, this is not a change in the person doing the seeing or knowing. As Aristotle puts it, the transition from potency to act here is "either not a being altered.. .or is some other type of alteration" (417b). See also the Arabic paraphrase of the De Anima: Arnzen 1998. 245.

8 See Arnzen 1998. 215. In.5. 217 In.4 ff. Unlike ^ '"which translates energeia both in Plotinus and Aristotle, tamam is a piece of technical terminology taken from readings of Aristotle.

9 Again, the language has parallels in the De Anima paraphrase: see for example Arnzen 1998,

255 ln.15 and 17, which use the verb athara to describe the influence of a sensible on the sense organ.

10 Here I read 'r ' with Lewis, which seems a better reading given the parallel Greek text.

11 For other passages which associate actuality with the intellect, see Th.A X.51-2, GS II.15. The first of these is especially emphatic: "it is repugnant that there be anything sensitive in potency [in the intellect], and that it then be in this world sensitive in act." But this may not clash directly with Th.A VIII.52-68, since it has to do only with sensation, not perception generally.

12 The verb taqwayu is the same root as quwa, and more or less forces us to read the quwa as a reference to an ability or power.

13 The other passage is GS 1.25 [B 187]: "[The First Principle] has no motion, because He is before motion, before thought (fikr), and before knowledge (there is nothing in Him which He would want to know, as the knower knows, but rather He is the knowledge which does not need to know by any other knowledge, because He is the pure, ultimate knowledge containing all knowledge, and [is] the cause of the sciences

(al-'ulum; literally 'the knowledges')." See below, section III for further discussion of this text.

14 See Ibn Sina, 1960, VI.8. French translation: Ibn Sina, 1978; al-Ghazali, 1997, 128-133.

15 Here I will simply assume that this text has in fact been attributed correctly to Porphyry, which some have disputed. For a defense of its authenticity, see Hadot, 1968, 1:102 ff. I will cite the passage by section and line number from volume 2 of the same work; the fragments can be found in their entirety in that volume, 64-113, with an accompanying French translation.

16 It should be noted here that the text in this section is largely corrupted, and I am often following Thillet's conclusions as to the proper reading of the remaining Greek. The ellipses in my translation mark completely corrupted sections of the text.

17 For this passage see also above, footnote 13.

18 See D'Ancona Costa 1997.


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D'Ancona Costa, C. 1993. "Il tema della 'docta ignorantia' nel neoplatonismo arabo. Un contribute ail'analisi delle fonti di Teologia di Aristotele,' mîmar II." In Concordia Discors: Studi offerti a Giovanni Santinello (Medioevo e Umanismo 84), pp. 3-22. Padua: Editrice Antenore.

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