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CNR: Alamanacco della Scienza


N. 18 - 21 nov 2012
ISSN 2037-4801

International info   a cura di Cecilia Migali


A bridge between Greek and Arabic

The roots of Occidental culture are undoubtedly deep and winding. The transmission of Greek philosophy by the Arabs certainly played a key role in the formation of our common philosophical heritage. However, our knowledge of how this process took place is still very limited. Thanks to an European Research Council advanced grant, Cristina D'Ancona (Pisa University), Gerhard Endress (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) and Andrea Bozzi, director of Cnr-Institute for Computational Linguistics (Ilc) Pisa, are trying to uncover some of the fundamental changes undergone by the Greek thought when transmitted into Arabic.

The project will primarily focus on one of the thought-to-be Aristotle's work, the so-called 'Theology'. For centuries, the 'Theology' was falsely attributed to the famous philosopher Aristotle in the Arabic-speaking world. The creation of the critical edition of this work will not only advance our understanding of one of the main texts in the Arabic Neoplatonic tradition, but also offer a remarkable insight into the thought appropriation process by the Arabs.

Nearly 18 months after beginning its project, the team already comes out with first results: a reliable survey of the extant manuscripts, and an idea of where the problems lie. "It would be daring of us to say that we already know how the textual tradition stands, but things are now less in the dark than they were before", states D'Ancona.

Another objective is to develop an analytical reference dictionary of the translations from Greek into Arabic, thanks to the 'Glossarium Graeco-Arabicum' created and directed by Endress. Through the methodology of Computational Linguistics, under the guidance of Bozzi, the team will create a web-based tool to compare Greek texts and their Arabic translation.

"A design for the treatment of the two Greek and Arabic texts has been implemented within the framework of a collaborative web application", adds Bozzi. "This project is an extremely interesting scientific and technological experience aimed at creating new research tools for digital documents of great cultural value. In the light of the positive results attained, we hope it will be possible to use this method and tool for domains other than the strictly philosophical one in question".


Fonte: Andrea Bozzi, Istituto di linguistica computazionale, Pisa, tel. 050/3152872, email andrea.bozzi@ilc.cnr.it

Per saperne di più: - erc.europa.eu/succes-stories/bridging-greek-and-arabic-philosophical-and-linguistic-heritage