For its tremendous impact on subsequent philosophers and theologians, not only in the Islamic, but also in the Christian and Jewish worlds, Avicenna’s metaphysics represents a turning-point in the history of philosophy until modern times. A reliable edition of his most important metaphysical work, the Ilahiyyat (Divine Things) of the Shifa’ (The Cure), is therefore a major desideratum. Avicenna (Ibn Sina, d. 1037CE), the greatest philosopher in Islamic civilization and an influential physician, intended the Shifa’ as a detailed summa of all parts of philosophy, updating and completing Aristotle’s corpus. The Ilahiyyat (the metaphysical section of this summa) is an enlarged version of Aristotle’s natural theology, incremented with materials taken from Neoplatonic works, and argues for metaphysics as a science that provides a rational interpretation of all monotheistic religions, including Islam.
The project aims at replacing the existing faulty printed versions of this work with a reliable edition, established critically along the standards of classical philology, with facing translation, running commentary, and comprehensive lexica. As a first step, the numerous manuscripts of the work will be systematically investigated, and their census and description, as well as images of their relevant parts, will be published on a web-site. Secondly, editorial technologies designed by computer science for works with a massive manuscript tradition will be applied. Finally, the on-line publication of the results will ensure their wide diffusion and the possibility of a constant updating on the basis of the progress of research. Scholars will thus have a solid – but, at the same time, flexible and adaptable – access to one of the most significant philosophical works that not only realized, but also fostered fruitful dialogue among different cultures (Greek, Arabic, Latin, Hebrew), religions (Islamic, Christian, Jewish), and intellectual endeavours (philosophy, theology, science).
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