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By Isaac Husik, University of Pennsylvania. 

It is an occasion for wonder and admiration that at this stage 
and under these conditions of the world's history, when the 
material, practical and immediate hold the attention of thinkers, 
authors and publishers alike, there existed a scholar who was 
willing to give his time to translate a mediaeval and scholastic 
work, such as is the MUhamot ha-Skem of Gersonides, into a 
modern language, and that a publisher should have been found 
who had the courage to give this to the scholarly world. 
And yet this most improbable thing has happened. Benzion 
Kellermann has undertaken this difficult piece of work, and the 
first part of his translation has been published by the Berlin 
Lehranstalt fur die Wissenschaft des Judenthums. 1 This first 
part contains only the first section of Gersonides's treatise, con- 
stituting about one-fifth of the work as it appears in the published 
editions of the original. For be it noted that the published 
editions of the original Hebrew are not complete, leaving out as 
they do the first part of the fifth section, a lengthy composition 
devoted to astronomical questions. 

Dr. Kellermann is a disciple of Hermann Cohen, the famous 
Neo-Kantian philosopher, recently of the University of Marburg, 
and the founder of the so-called Marburg school. Kellermann 
shows a deep interest in philosophical problems and a wide 
reading in philosophy, mediaeval and modern. He believes that 
a historical work is valuable only in so far as the historian relates 

1 Die K'dtnpfe Gottes von Lewi ben Gerson, Uebersetzung und Erklarung 
des handschriftlich revidierten Textes von Benzion Kellermann. Erster 
Teil. Berlin, Mayer und Mttller, 1914, 8°, pp. xvi + 309 (Schriften der 
Lehranstalt fur die Wissenschaft des Judenthums, Band III, Heft 1-3). 

VOL. VII. 553 O O 


the period of which he treats to the development of thought that 
preceded and led up to it, as well as to the ideas that grew out of 
it, leading up to the current philosophy of the day. Moreover, he 
is of the opinion that a philosophical method of treating a historical 
subject in the domain of philosophy should itself spring out of the 
historian's own philosophical point of view. Not merely the validity 
of the thought under discussion but the exposition thereof, too, 
should be viewed from a definite philosophical standpoint as a basis. 
True, such a method lends itself to the charge of being subjective, 
but it is better frankly and deliberately to embrace subjectivity than 
to claim its opposite, which cannot be realized, for pure objectivity 
does not exist. And Kellermann goes as far as to claim this free 
privilege not only for the historian but for the translator as well. 
Accordingly he inserts now and then in his translation a phrase 
or expression harking forward to Cohen and Neo-Kantianism, 
and in his notes, some of them very long, and especially in his 
excursuses at the end of the book, he discusses Gersonides's 
doctrines sub specie aeternitatis, so to speak or, to be more exact, 
sub specie Hermanni Cohen. 

It is not my intention here to argue this debatable question, 
particularly since a translation as such cannot be much affected 
by notes and excursuses. Provided the text is rendered correctly, 
the careful reader who is familiar with the subject has the where- 
withal to make himself independent of the translator's notes. In 
this particular instance the translator deserves our special com- 
mendation for having been brave enough to rush in where many 
a student would have feared to tread, not so much by reason of 
the difficulty of the undertaking as because of the feeling of 
isolation that overtakes one when he finds that the great majority 
even of students of philosophy are busy with other things and 
scarcely lend an ear to one's lucubrations. Another service that 
Kellermann has done, which will be appreciated even by those 
who can read the original, is that he consulted several manuscripts, 
which enabled him in a number of passages to correct the printed 
readings and to supply omissions which made the printed text 


As to the main point, the translation itself, our judgement 
cannot be an unqualified approval. There are a great many 
errors, some more serious, some less so. I have marked no less 
than 311 passages where the rendering of words or phrases or 
sentences seem to me incorrect or misleading. These errors 
seem to be due to various causes. Sometimes the translator 
mistakes one meaning of an ordinary word for another. Some- 
times he misses the exact meaning of a technical term or does not 
know that it is a technical term. Or he fails to see the sequence 
of an argument and connects the sentences incorrectly. In some 
cases, too, the error arises from the fact that the text is corrupt in 
the manuscripts as well as in the printed editions, and the emen- 
dation obviously required by the context did not suggest itself 
to Kellermann. Considering that it will be a long time before 
another modern translation will be undertaken of the Milhamot, 
it seemed proper to take up the passages rendered, as it appears to 
me. icnorrectly by Kellermann, and set them right. The emended 
passages in the text will also be of value to the future editor of 
the original Hebrew. 

The following references to the Hebrew text are to the page 
and line of the Leipzig edition (L.) : 

1. (L. 2, 31) 

awj» naio nWn mn *n»jp xbw udd tby> tbw wii 
axjn wwt nivn <a /Mipsin mDn -torn bio jdruh awip 
nsiio r6nnn hjdd nww "ipbk >k nth /iko ntpi^n ruwtnn naon 
an nWn ma dnwyn ib>bkb> dTiaion d3»a /n'pnn nsn 
annsno bwjio awpb anc b"i ftran rww 'nam jibd 

.rrtnn nNT^ 

Es darf uns jedoch nicht verborgen bleiben, dass uns 
in diesem Problem kein Beweis Uber* das Vorweltliche zur 
Verfugung steht .... 

2 Italics mine. 

O O 2 


I take it for granted that Kellermann had the same text as 
in the Leipzig edition, since he does not indicate a variant. And 
yet he renders the particle D in D'onp DWyo ' tiber ' instead of 
' von', thus destroying the entire sense of the author. Gersonides 
does not say that in this problem (viz. the origin of the world) 
there is no proof for premundane things, as for example the First 
Cause, but, as the sequel shows, that in the arguments concerning 
the origin of the world we cannot make inferences from things 
that are prior to the world, say the first cause. He is discussing 
a matter of applied logic or methodology. The best kind of 
syllogistic proof in logic is what is known as irp n wxorn H3Dn naio, 
i. e. a syllogism in which the middle term is by nature prior to the 
last term and the cause of it. Such a proof is known as an 
absolute demonstration D7niO DSID. An example would be the 
following : All men are mortal, A is a man, therefore A is mortal. 
The middle term, 'man', is prior to 'mortal' and the cause of it. 

Now take the following example : All wetness is the result of 
a liquid, this spot is wet, therefore there was a liquid here. 
The middle term here is ' wetness ', which is not the cause of the 
last term, 'liquid', but the consequence thereof. We proved an 
event in this case by inferring the cause from the consequence. 
A proof of this kind is regarded as inferior and is known as JIBID 
niK'SDn, and more properly as iTK") (Ar. aJib, Greek (n?ju.eiov). 
Averroes in his compendium of logic, Hebrew translation, Riva, 
1560, defines these two kinds of proof respectively as follows : 

ay wp^nn }d pon nra rnana a»rav . . . : nwxDni roDn naio 
i>oan nvw ty /uon nr oy jrw nvnoxn mznrb W10 wn 
tfhm /win nam "ma nynvi V'n txnan *xh mo n ^xoxn 
naD D3on w »ysD«n i?iajn »a nwvDn naioa jyj>n xby »rw no 

3 . . . mb\rb nh mb m^na inwb 

The meaning is that in a real demonstration the middle term 
is not only the cause of our inferring the conclusion, but is in 
reality the cause of it, whereas in the so-called ?wn the middle 

3 jronn nat6o *o, p. 36 a. 


term is in reality the result of the conclusion, though it is the 
cause of our knowing it. Further on Averroes characterizes the 

nwx»n naiD as follows: 

rrM> hid ia nw t6 ij«DNn haan , , . nwvcn naio q^ini 
nomp njrra 11 ruonipn nvr sh nai> unjn^ nao rrni djdn 5>3K 
no ppmn Nim ano ira? ,aw w -iwin nra -ibw nwxoa 
nwvoa aiipn Ton u -iKan , > ib>n pen sin nwT v^y iowk> 
nna mw nxajB> nt pw Tijrra aiip nvi newa ia -manna 
4 .»vrrvn micro n»y nw niajn mierin 

To come back to Gersonides, he tells us that we cannot prove 
the origin of the world by means of a real demonstration, i. e. by 
arguing from a thing prior to the thing we want to prove, as for 
example from the First Cause, because our knowledge of the 
First Cause is very imperfect. We are limited to the inferior 
proof known as fiW, which argues from the consequent to the 

Averroes makes the same remark in his compendium of the 
Metaphysics 5 regarding the proofs employed in that science : 

l»3l Li 5 1 Ji5b ddi^sii ijp L&jl jus XJl»jc«Jlt i^l^Jl pljil Ulj 

<• Ax^jajl .lie 

Or, as the Hebrew translation of Moses Tibbon has it : 8 

npi run o nvN-i can an p bj o awn naicn yc a^iNi 
ncx ayyjjn fo u^xn dw *inv an ntrN awyn p Ton irsn ia 

.men !»« aw nnv an 

2. (L. 3, 24) 

-iKannt? pjran aiwp no ii^aa ua-ixn no moipoa rum 

. . . u win no nai nr^ warn ,unS>ir naia 

(K. 4 , 16) 

Doch manche Stelle haben wir deshalb in unserer Erorterung 

* Ibid., 40 b. 6 Ed. Caird, pp. 5, 8. 6 MS. copy in my possession. 


breiter behandelt, weil der Leser vermuten konnte, dass es sich 
dabei um die Erorterung fremder Ansichten handelt .... 

Here Kellermann misses the point. Gersonides says that 
although he has endeavoured in general to be brief, nevertheless 
in some cases he discusses a subject at length, though it may 
seem to the reader that the subject has been sufficiently treated 
by others, because he has something new to say on the subject. 

3- ( L - 4, 7) 

.iBTim ohyn manpa inpn ncnnS nv» nirj£ ub idw om 

Kellermann (5, 19) translates nD^nn by ' Zerstorungssucht ', 
from Din, to destroy. The correct meaning is in this case 
rashness, presumption, and it is related to the phrase in Exodus 
(19. 21) 'H ?S ,D "!0?. f?. The term was first used by Samuel Ibn 
Tibbon, at the suggestion of Maimonides himself, to render 
the Arabic nSKiin (6th conj. of nan), which means to fall over 
one another, to rush headlong into danger. See Munk, Guide, I, 
p. 23, note 1. 

4. (L. 4, 20) 

•a nmn nn *?)& i6 n*rpnn nxr <a netrop "mm nvi ebm 
■•n riNUin iTn ^3:6 jnvB» noB> nox'' ^a cm 13 jm^ dk 
nsann cpnon nr ^3n w iiy .jvyn yno D3n^> injm* nBtix 
.|Wi "j-no D3n^> wiyn* juon nto 3W1 nwnjn ima vKob 

(K. 6, 3) 

Indes konnten sie sagen, dass bei einer derartigen Forschung 
nur einem Propheten sich die Wahrheit erschliessen kann ; denn 
sie k6nnten vielleicht sagen : Was sich einem Propheten auf dem 
Wege derProphetie erschloss, das kann unmoglich einem Gelehrten 
auf spekulativem Wege offenbar werden : Ferner gibt es einige, die 
sagen: 1 Wiirde dies Problem einem Propheten auf dem Wege 
der Prophetie erschlossen werden, so wiirde sich gerade die 
Unmoglichkeit des Erschliessens fur einen Gelehrten auf speku- 
lativem Wege ergeben. 

7 Italics mine. 


Kellermann confuses the passage, which is very simple and 
clear. For he makes Gersonides give the same identical argument 
twice and present it as two distinct arguments. And the mistake 
is due simply to a misunderstanding of the overlined words 
UB» 115?. K. read them evidently tifj "liV, and not knowing 
what to make of them rendered them 'Ferner gibt es einige 
die sagen', and the mischief was done. The following words 
had to be a new argument, and so he was obliged to render 
1N3nn and awi as conditional, despite the i>3N at the 

As a matter of fact the words which troubled Kellermann 
should be read Vf) 1iJ> = Then they say again. We have here 
an argument of this form : 

If a is b, then b is c; 
But a is b, therefore b is c. 

In this particular case the argument is as follows : These 
people may argue, says G., 'That which the prophet acquires 
through prophetic revelation, the philosopher cannot know by 
means of speculation ', (This is the first part of the conditional 
syllogism.) Then they continue (Uf^ 1iV), 'But the question 
at issue (viz. the creation of the world) was revealed to the 
prophet. Therefore it follows that it cannot be acquired by 
the philosopher by means of speculation'. It is one argument 
and not two. 

5- (L- 5, 18) 
rujns rwK ppuen n» niwn worn j>"3 nro wai mn -ihe> noi 
nxn nniDn ^rso im uod 3*niw no ^na "waro *6 dn ,w5>j> 

.mpp i»s m<pnn 

(K. 7> fin.) 

Was aber die Entscheidung des Maimonides betrifft : Die 
Perzeption dieses Problemes sei unmoglich, — so ist dies kein 
Einwand gegen uns, es musste denn sein, dass sich eine bestimmte 
Absurditat erweisen Hesse, insofern sich hieraus einander kontra- 
dizierende Teile in dieser Forschung ergeben, wie vorausgeschickt 


This translation is quite impossible, and Gersonides meant to 
say something entirely different. As the expression mpt? 103 
indicates, he is referring to the following passage on p. 4, 17. 

n ue>rw no nw D'pnw vn dn iTvpnn nun unaiB> nun 

VH K^> OKI * CDTlpn |D B^lUtP HO 13JOT Dti 101^ mm jrasff ma, 

.man lwcy na^ ainn nxnotr -inud ton y D»pnw 

He is trying to defend himself here against those conservatives 
who are opposed to every new undertaking, assuming that what 
the ancients have not succeeded in proving, the moderns surely 
cannot, and hence they accuse every new thinker of presumption. 
Gersonides answers these critics as follows : You must not condemn 
my attempt in advance. See the result first. If I succeed in 
proving my point, i.e. in solving the problem of the origin of the 
world, which has not hitherto been solved, I shall deserve com- 
mendation instead of condemnation. And if my solution is a 
failure, I shall deserve condemnation to be sure, not for attempting 
to. solve, but for failing to do so. 

Now in the passage under discussion he refers to Maimonides' 
well-known statement in the Guide of the Perplexed that the 
question of the eternity or creation of the world is one that 
cannot be scientifically proven. This judgement of the matter, 
Gersonides then says, need not be regarded as condemning my 
undertaking in advance, unless you can invalidate my disjunctive 
("iniDn »p!>no inx) mentioned before. In other words, G. means, 
either I succeed or I fail. If I succeed I deserve praise and not 
blame for solving what the great Maimonides thought insoluble. 
If I fail you can blame me for failing but not for making the 
attempt. In advance you must not judge me. 

6. (L. 6, 7) 

unanx nnn •osniw unana pwh , ini |w *wao Kin pi 
.rmon (read nana!?) maoa wot by pyoi> frwb uruvm mis 
.ana unnt? no unaio pa' vbw rao nw ^ik jnt "o 


(K. 9, 6) 

Ebenso ist erwiesen, dass der Leser unseres Buches uns nicht 
dafiir, dass wir ihn lieben und ihm nutzen wollen, verfolgen 
darf, indem er unseren Worten streitsiichtige Motive unterschiebt. 
Dies mochte vielleicht darin begriindet sein, 8 dass er gar nicht 
versteht, was wir damit beabsichtigen. 

This translation is inaccurate. What Gersonides says is that 
the reader must not approach the book with a disputatious 
attitude (n«»n 113^6 Unn by jytb), because the prejudice 
arising therefrom may prevent him from understanding the 
meaning of the author. 

7. L. 7, 12) 

tae> no mbs: n-ityn noun nxo5> u-w»n dwih tbx nvp3i 

.mim nto 

(K- ii, 5) 

Bei einigen Untersuchungen leitet sie (sc. die Speculation) 
uns dazu an, die richtige und hervorragende Wahrheit dessen 
zu finden, was hiervon in der Thora vorkommt. 

This is the very opposite of what Gersonides intended to say. 
His words above quoted must be construed as follows : N3K> HO 

noKn kvo5> naba: rrwn uTB*n miro nto. That is, the teaching 

of the Bible often guided Gersonides in a remarkable way in 
seeing the truth in philosophical problems. The sequel confirms 

ba nn Dnrunori yirb jnan minntr ^sb p rwrb n<n <ik-ii 
vm p pyn mvui . , , -ipbkp no n^am rwutwi mo^n 
'lN-in p run ,0.-1^ nj«nn an^ rwp> ind Deploy wn tso3 

.oririox bx Virb n-iinn mdik tb»w n^n 

8. (L. 7, 28) 

nenpa .nxpi? jnoa anvp nvT noTip owyy at? e» <a ,nnNn 
nnK noam bn nn ,ano m^inon mhnn nyn^ moipnn njr>i» 
WD3 anv-p anpn B«*noi>n Bwync ioa /noon W3 aw 

8 Italics mine. 


•o m ,-iriNn p ^13 nnv inan nbw dm / t3«yaon cwwb 

.yjnsnD Kiniy nvo u -nprv xw 

(K. 11, fin.) 

Erstens: Es gibt Gegenstande, bei welchen von Natur aus 
die Kenntnis des einen der Kenntnis der anderen vorangehen 
muss, wie die Kenntnis der Pramissen der Kenntnis des aus 
ihnen gefolgerten Schlusses, und dies ist bald bei einer, bald bei 
zwei Wissenschaften der Fall. So muss die Kenntnis mathema- 
tischer Dinge von Natur aus der Kenntnis physikalischer Dinge 
vorangehen, obgleich der eine Trdger (sc. der Wissenschaft) mehr 
enthalt als der andere ; s so untersucht die mathematische Wissen- 
schaft den absoluten Korper und ebenso die physikalische, nur 
untersucht diese ihn in bezug auf seine Bewegung . . . 

The italicized passage is difficult and should have had a note. 
The meaning is apparently that mathematics is prior by nature to 
physics, even though the subject of the former is more compre- 
hensive (i^D nnv) than that of the latter. For mathematics 
deals with body in the abstract, whereas physics has for its 
subject body as affected by motion. Body as such is more com- 
prehensive or more universal because it embraces all bodies 
without exception, or because it abstracts from any of the 
qualities of body. Now the concessive form of the clause would 
indicate that one would ordinarily expect the more universal 
subject to come later by nature than the more particular, but 
this is clearly opposed to the opinion of Aristotle, who says time 
and again that whereas for us individual men (rj/uv) the particular 
(to ko.6' e/caora) is better known than (yvrnpifimrepov), and hence 
prior to (irporepov) the universal (to ko.$6Xov), by nature {<f>v<ru), or 
absolutely (cfo-Xois), the universal is prior. The clearest passage is 
the one in the Posterior Analytics, i, ch. 2, p. 71 b 33, ed. Bekker : 
wporepa 8' iorl Kal yva>pt.fJW>Tepa 8i\S>i' ov yap Tdvrov irporepov tq 
<fyu<TU Kal Trpos rj/ms irporepov, ov8k yv<opift,ii>T€pov Kal rj/uv yvmpt- 
fuorepov. Aeyai 8k irpbs r)/ms p.h> Trporepa Kal yvuipipMTtpa ra 
iyyvrepov rip aurOyrrems, cwrXois 8k irporepa Kal yviopipMrepa ra. 
9 Italics mine. 


iroppwrepov. earn Be ■n-oppmrdra) uev to ko.06X.ov /aoAioto, eyyvraro) 
Be to ko.6 tKojara. 

Accordingly we should expect G. to say that mathematics is 
prior by nature to physics because (not although) the subject of 
mathematics is more universal than that of physics. It seemed 
therefore at first that the clause nnxn JO W>w 1T\V insn KBW1 DN1 
should be translated, 'and also when the one subject is more 
universal than the other', as a second condition of priority by 
nature in addition to the priority of the premises to the conclusion 
mentioned before. In this case we should expect this clause to 
come before the illustration of mathematics and physics. It is 
not in fact impossible that it was misplaced by some copyist, 
who found it in the margin of his copy and did not know where 
it belonged. For there is another objection to construing the 
clause concessively, and that is that we then desiderate a reason 
why mathematics is by nature prior to physics. 

There is, however, a way of defending the concessive interpre- 
tation as follows. There is a passage in the Physics which has 
given the commentators of Aristotle a good deal of trouble 
because it seems to contradict the relation between the universal 
and particular expressed above. The passage reads as follows 
(Phys. i. I, p. 184 a 16): ire<pvKe Be eK rS>v yviapipjarepiav fi/uv r) 
680s Kal o-a<peorrep(i)V «ri ra arafpeorepa rfj tpvo-ei koX yviopi/xwrepa' oi 
yap ravra. rj/uv re yvo>pip.a Kal airXw. Biorrep dvdyKrj tov rpoirov 
rovrov irpodyeiv eK ru>v aora<pe<rrepa>v p.ev rfj <j>vorei rj/uv Be <ra<pe<rrepu>v 
eirl to o-afftearepa ry fyvcrei Kal ■yvtopifworepa. eari B> rjfuv irpwrov 
BrjXa Kal <ra<j}r) ra. crvyKeyyii.eva yJaXXov' varrepov B' in rovruiv ylverai 
yviapi/xa to oroi^eia tea! a£ ap^ai 8ioipoixn. Tavra. 810 eK r<bv koB&Xov 
hn ra. Kaff eKacrra Bei wpoievau rb yap oXov Kara rrjv aurOrjo-iv 
yviapiji^nepov, rb Be KaOoXov oXov rl earriv' iroXXa yap irepiXap.(5avei 
(OS p-eprj to KaOoXov. 

This seems to say in the underlined part that we should begin 
with the universal because that is better known to us, though not 
better known by nature, a direct contradiction of the authentic 
views of Aristotle elsewhere, as shown before. The commentators 


solve this difficulty by pointing out that KaBoXov and Kaff eKaora 
are used here in a different sense from the ordinary, which 
reverses their meaning. Ka66\ov is equivalent to <rvyKexvi»*vov 
and o\ov, namely, a sensible whole of which ko.0' eWora are the 
conceptual parts (see Waitz, Organon, II, p. 306 ad 71 b 21; 
Trendelenburg, De Anima, p. 338; Zeller, Philos. d. Griechen, 
II, 2, 3rd ed., p. 197, note 2). But it would seem as if Averroes 
did not understand it this way, for in his compendium of the 
Physics (Heb. translation, ed. Riva di Trento, 1560, p. 3 a) we find 
the following : 

DUUjjn jd ^nnj t&mv Toy:} run m nsyjun nicta -hd d^ini 
ab in jnon bitx d^itd nn vw pa dw -inv i^xx tan -itw 
*ib>sk irm nppaa i:^vn niyrr *iw nkban nhrmnn vni w 
T-nn itan n^ni onis jroen ni^an -reo hrvron on^y nejut? 
jujjn n^nnD icnnn 11 tk owinn '3 irwon p pit ~iw ij^xk 
D'yvrn o p won ^vx pjj?n pxi onaa &6i qhisj Tib nweim 
nwjnon nucwa paya omnn w dhd *ib>k onnvon on jnon ha< 
. . , D»j»on tp'vivb ni^an nibnnni )V>jn i^nrut? a^inon p n^n 

This passage says plainly that by nature the particular is 
better known than the universal. Gersonides did not read 
Aristotle. He read Averroes, and the passage just quoted 
probably influenced him, so that he might have said that 
mathematics comes before physics, even though, as the more 
universal subject, it is by nature less known. But the difficulty 
still remains — why is mathematics prior by nature to physics? 
I do think the suggestion I made above may be the correct one. 
This is confirmed by G. himself in the following paragraph 
(L., p. 8 init.) where he tells us that universals come before 
particulars, DHnven D\j«jj6 D^bttn D'ouyn nmpn. 

9. (L. 7, fin.) 

,f«j»m pyn tsd a«ine nonpn jd pen nn 
(K. 12, 12) 

Diese Art des Vorsetzens ergibt sick. 10 von seiten des Gegen- 
standes und des Lesers. 

10 Italics mine. 


'Ergibt sich' is not a correct translation of a^lriD in this place. 
Gersonides is speaking of the proper order of investigation and 
exposition. He says there are seven conditions determining 
correct order. Some of these conditions make a given order 
absolutely necessary (n^ino pvnn Ti ^J?), some merely make it 
preferable (3113 "iniV) TS ^V). Each of these may again be 
subdivided. A given order may be essential (a^ino) for the 
subject-matter (ppn Tio), or for the reader or investigator 
(pyon TiD), or for both at once (pSJDn ISDI pyn *TCD). Similarly 
a given order may be merely preferable (21D "UTlTi *TC ?Jf) in the 
same three ways. In the sequel he gives an example first of 
the order of priority which is essential for subject-matter and reader 
({"SfDiTl pjm TSQ 1"\no). K., by rendering a^ino by ' ergibt 
sich', destroys the meaning. 

10. (L. 8, 1 ff.) 

1"nn not? ^sb p^nvon awy*? atyyan wiyn nmpn mwm 
eikib>j lKtw jnwwn ann ffjwjjn not6 nimpi>n nimpnn ru«nn 
tan nonpn p pen nn 3a3n nn mp' 1 «i>i ino ti*id 'kcij i>y 
wn nsn ^v xw n»i BTrxn wo 3«w Nine no p 'dxdn 1»3 
own w omvn >3&o anno "lnvn nvi bni ,Bmyn >:wo aiD 

(K. 12, 13) 

Zweitens: Allgemeine BegrifFe gehen speziellen vorauf, weil 
die auf diese Art zur Aufhellung jener Inhalte gewonnenen 
Pramissen zuerst stehen mtissen, um auf eine bestimmte Art ihr 
Pradikat dem Subjekte zu vindizieren, ohne dass hierbei eine 
Vordoppelung entsteht (Syllogismus). Eine solche Art des Vor- 
setzens ist etwa das Mittlere zwischen dem, was sich aus zwei 
Seiten ergibt und demjenigen, was auf einer Seite steht (sc. einer 
Relation zugeordnet ist), die weit besser ist als die beiden Seiten ; 
wenn aber das Bessere aus den zwei Relationen sich ergibt, so ist 
es um so gilnstiger. 

This translation makes the entire paragraph unintelligible. To 
render the meaning of Gersonides clear, it is necessary to explain 
that ruitWl nOTpn means here a primary proposition or premise, 


i. e. a proposition or premise which is not itself derived from a 
previous one in a given science. Thus the proposition, 'a triangle 
is a three-sided plane figure ', might be called a nwcfPl rtnipn ; 
whereas the proposition, ' a scalene triangle is a three-sided plane 
figure ', is not a MltWl HEttpn because the proposition in question 
applies primarily to triangle in general. It applies to a specific 
kind of triangle by virtue of the latter being included in triangle 
in general. In the former proposition the predicate (Nltw) as 
applied to the subject (NE>u) answers the question, ' What is it ? ' 
(}np = tl Zotl; = quid est f), i. e. it denotes the essence (nino) of 
the subject. 

Now the point of Gersonides's remark is that if we are 
studying or • teaching geometry we should treat of triangle in 
general first, and of right triangle and isosceles triangle and 
scalene triangle afterwards, for the reason that in proving the 
properties of triangle in general (onn DWjjn) we shall make use 
of primary and essential propositions (DNltM 1KtW nuiCPNI nimpn 
Vl» 1*HD (B.TW1J ?) N&"IJ bv (DiTKlBO ?)), and hence it will not be 
necessary to prove the same properties over again (nD mp' vb 
•D3n) when we come to treat of specific kinds of triangles (wyj; 
Q^nVCfi); for we have proved those properties of triangle qua 
triangle, which includes all kinds. But if we treat of scalene 
triangle first and prove among other things, say, that the sum of 
its angles is equal to two right angles, we shall have to make use 
of the second proposition above mentioned, which is not primary 
and essential since it is not the proper answer to the question, 
' What is a scalene triangle ? ' in the technical sense of ' what is ?' 
and, moreover, since scalene triangle does not embrace all triangle, 
we shall have to prove the same property for triangle in general, 
and for isosceles triangle, and so on. 

Then Gersonides harks back to his classification of order of 
precedence, of which we spoke before," and says that the pre- 
cedence just spoken of stands midway between the essential in 
both respects (Dmvn WD rririD mm no), i. e. for subject matter 
and reader (| w j»ni jyjjn "IXD), and the merely preferable in both 

11 See No. 9. 


respects (D'Tixn WD 310 "invn Tf i>y Kirn? no), although it rather 
belongs to the former than to the latter. 

n. (L. 8, 6) 

yewrb i>3K 1DV$& nan 11 vbv -ikhd Kin nanon *a /w^pm 
na jw i*na mxi -nD$> irnhntw aw? 1^> »ik*i nth "in^ 
•no^n 5»row ii> 3W nr ^sdi ,Kinn -iaD3 rovon jvi^n bn p»j»n 
nonpn jd pen nn .axya nnxnon jthid QTipn rrn vb dki ^pa 
nrvn & wk pyon nxoi pno "wn iv i>s> idxjd pyn nxo xin 
, , . S'lno iD3 xm Ninn iSDn -inns n:uan 

(K. 12, 24) 

Drittens : Es ist erwiesen, dass der Verfasser nicht fur sich 
schreibt, sondern um auf andere seine Kenntnisse ausstr6men zu 
lassen. Deshalb muss er bestrebt sein, seine Worte nach einer 
Methode zu ordnen, durch welche der Leser den in unserem 
Buche beabsichtigten Zweck erreicht, und aus diesem Grande 
muss die Belehrung mit dem Leichten beginnen, es milssle denn 
das Vorhergehende das Folgende substantiell involvieren (sc. dann 
ware bei der Identttat des Vorhergehenden mit dem Nachfolgenden 
die Methode vom Leichteren sum Schwereren uberflilssig)} 2 Diese 
Art des Vorsetzens ist auch inbezug auf den Inhalt selbst die 
beste, n wahrend es inbezug auf den Leser, dem ja die Abfassung 
dieses Buches gilt, gleichsam notwendig ist . . . 

The italicized passages in the translation are incorrect and 
conceal the thought of Gersonides instead of revealing it. 
What he says is that since the writer does not write for himself 
but for the reader, he should proceed from the easier to the more 
difficult, even though, in following this order, the things treated first 
do not prove those which follow in a strictly essential, i.e. thoroughly 
scientific, form. 

In other words he means, it is sometimes necessary for the 
sake of clearness to pass from the particular to general, even 
though the particular cannot prove the general. It may, however, 

12 Italics mine. 


illustrate it and make its meaning clear, and then one can proceed in 
a strictly scientific manner. Then he adds, this class of precedence 
belongs to the kind which so far as the subject matter is concerned 
is merely preferable (11D "iniTt IX by), whereas for the reader it is 
practically essential (a'lriD). 

12. (L. 8, 32 ) 

.jnno? ew»m 
(K. 14, 6) 

' Oder das Dreifache dem Vierfachen.' 
The Hebrew words denote triangle and square respectively. 

13. (L. 8, fin.) 

,31D -invn nx by p»jmm jy»n iv» Kin nonpn |o pon nn 

(K. i 4) 11) 

Und diese Art der Vorsetzung ist sowohl mit Bezug auf den 
Gegenstand als auch mit Bezug auf den Leser besonders vorteil- 

The italicized expression gives a wrong idea of G.'s meaning, 
and loses sight of the fact that 31D "ifllTl IX by is a technical 
term (see No. 9). The correct translation is as follows : ' This 
kind of precedence belongs to the class of the " preferable " (i. e. 
not to the " necessary " or "essential").' See also No. 10, last 

14. (L. 9, 29) 

-nyw noi^ ran /in no -mD •b twm 1 onn nuiroa aai 

. , , mym ayo tw n^N pron micx-i 

(K. is, 30) 

Und auch in Bezug auf die Nahrung muss der Autor eine 
bestimmte Ordnung innehalten, ich meine, die Nahrung muss 
ihm so entzogen werden, dass er nicht viel davon merkt. 1 * 

The italicized passage is not precise. G. says in the preceding 
context that in undermining an opponent's position one must do 
ls Italics mine. 14 Italics mine. 


it negatively by withdrawing tacitly the support of that position or, 
as G. expresses it, by withholding the food that serves as nourish- 
ment to his opponent's idea. Now he adds, this withdrawal of 
the support must also be done in a certain order. He must first 
withdraw that food which the opponent will miss least, and so 
gradually by removing one kind of food after another he will 
leave the opposite position without any support. 

15. (L. 9, 32) 

jiro nanon iru^ Ninn tntwi jd no jiro mymw nip* dni 

. . . nnv in nTP mo'ipi' nw in vrayv nrb 

(K. is, fin.] 

Wenn es nun dem Verfasser gelingt, ihm 15 bei der Entziehung 
der Nahrung filr jenes Prinzip gleichzeitig solche zu reichen, die 
dem entspricht, was der Autor bestatigt oder bestatigen will . . . 
dann ist es um so besser. 

Here also the italicized words do not render maw correctly. 
ina^B" does not mean to give food to the opponent, but to turn the 
food withheld from the opponent into sustenance for one's own 

16. (L. 10, 1) 

oyoai pita -invn is by pyon nvo sin nonpn jo pen nti 

.nat vrnpw no ^ a«ino Nine 
(K. 16, 7) 

Diese Art der Antizipation ist filr den Leser besonders wertvoll, 
und es ist kaum no'tig, 1 * sie nach dem Vorausgeschickten noch 
besonders zu erwahnen. 

In rendering aio "invn TH ?y by the words 'besonders 
wertvoll', K. makes the same mistake as in No. 13, to which 
the reader is referred. In the latter part of the translation it is 
difficult to see how he manages to translate 3 W 1PID NW DJ>oai 
1*DT Uonpne no *B? 'es ist kaum notig, sie nach dem Voraus- 

16 Italics mine. 16 Italics mine. 

VOL. VII. P p 


geschickten noch besonders zu erwahnen'. The meaning of 
course is that this kind of precedence is more than merely 
preferable (310 "invn *nt *?$), as he has just said. It is almost 
necessary (a^lTO Kinc BJJD2), according to our former classifica- 
tion (ra wmpntf mo >a!>). 

17. (L. io, 26) 

an:nn « ■bhi t6 isdh rw unrna j^yon id a^y xfe <uni 

•no^n n-ppnn -inx !>23B> no a i>w ^n ,|Vj; nimo 

(K. 17, 15) 

Es darf auch dem Leser unseres Buches nicht verborgen 
bleiben, dass in unserem Buch nur spekulative Dinge enthalten 
sind" welche aber erst nach einer solchen abschliessenden Unter- 
suchung zum Ausdruck gelangen, die . . . 

The italicized words are clearly a blunder, due to the assump- 
tion that p'jj is always a technical term meaning theoretical 
speculation as a discipline. G. simply says here that the ideas 
laid down in this book were not put there without having been 
carefully thought out (fVy nhto). The sentiment corresponds to 
the words of Maimonides in the introduction of the Moreh (ed. 
Warsaw, p. 9 a) : tibtt ,fD*lM *1B*0 D»"OTi 13 )bs» t6 fttn "IBKOn 

ran mvetti bra pnpna. 

18. (L. 12, ch. 1, beg.) 
m-wnn 13 zmw wssn *pbno <itn nnvn bt?n nw 113573 

. . . B»a:n »pi»n -ikw 'a!' /nrixam 

(K. 19, beg.) 

Da der Intellekt insofern der vorzflglichste Teil der Seele ist, 
als man ihn fur unsterblich und ewig halt, wahrend die anderen 
Teile der Seele . , . 

The first part of the sentence is incorrect. ' Vorzflglichste ' is 

not the meaning of *l&n "lfivn in this case, and this makes the 

entire translation erroneous. G. does not say that the intellect is 

the most excellent of the parts of the soul because it is regarded 

17 Italics mine. 


as immortal, whereas the other parts are not. He says that of all 
the parts of the soul the most fitting to be thought immortal 
(nnNETin 13 S&TW 'ltn nnvn) is the intellect, for the other parts 
are obviously mortal. 

19. (L. 13, 2) 

The word roan in the characterizations of the material intellect 
Kellermann renders (p. 19 fin. and passim) ' Entelechie '. He tells 
us (p. 305) that Steinschneider is his authority for this rendering, 
though he admits that 'Anlage' would be more correct. It is 
indeed very unfortunate that K. has adopted this term, which 
signifies the very opposite of the Hebrew word nun. Entelechy 
(«/TeAex«a) in Aristotle is practically synonymous with evipyeia = 
activity, actuality, perfection. The difference between them need 
not for the present concern us. 8wa/us (= power, potentiality) 
is opposed to both, and is related to matter (15X17) as tvipytw- and 
«vTcX«x eia are related to form (fwp<f>rj, e?8os). To be sure, there is 
a twofold evTeA.€x £ia > a nrst an d a second. And the first entelechy 
is related to the second somewhat as Swa/us is to evepyeuu Thus 
the soul in a sleeping man is potentially what it is actually in 
the man awake. Hence Aristotle defines the soul as the first 
entelechy of a potentially living body, because the definition must 
include the sleeping as well as the waking person. But it is clear 
that hnikiyiw. is always on the side of actuality and perfection 
as contrasted with potentiality and lack of realization. 

Now when we speak of the 'material intellect' in man, we 
are not viewing it with reference to its relation to the body. 
From that point of view it is part of the soul, and as such an 
entelechy. We are here considering the material intellect (i>3E>n 
»3N^Vnn) in its relation to the active intellect (i>J)1Bn ^OB>), and from 
this point of view it is in the position of matter, it is potential, 
hence entelechy is a misnomer. Moreover, eire\ex e(a ' s rendered 
in Hebrew by the word Yftxfoo — perfection, nun means pre- 
paration, readiness, disposition, and corresponds to 8iW/j.«, which 
is the opposite of lireXex«.a. (See Trendelenburg, De Anima, 
p. 295 ff.) 

p p a 


20. (L. 13, It) 

.inc din bs 

K. (20, 13) translates, 'Jeder Mensch spricht\ nno here 
means ' rational '. It corresponds to the Greek XoyiKov. 

21. (L. 13, 26) 

13 ,mw tod nn /Jt6rn 5»3t? mix sop DitaaD-iKe 'bi» 
1^ 131 r6 ^3n ,h33 batra ru<K ruann ntm? nx-v wbombiK 

.■towi (read tiniu) name thdo 


. . . weil ihn (sc. den menschlichen Intellekt) auch Aristoteles 
hylischen Intellekt nennt ; dies beweist, dass nach des Aristoteles 
Meinung die Entelechie nicht im separaten Intellekt ist (sc. wohl 
aber im Trager), dass aber eine hylische Stufe von ihr ausgeht}* 

The italicized words are incorrect. The phrase ruDO "|7* 
^lTin JiJTlD is an Arabism, which K. seems not to have 
understood. It means, 'stands to it in the relation of matter'. 
The overlined words in the Hebrew, ^lTin . , . t>3K, signify 
' There is something which stands to it (viz. the disposition (roan)), 
in the relation of matter '. The Arabic idiom referred to is ^ Jjj 
. . . SJlu A. Thus Averroes in his compendium of metaphysics 
(ed. Cairo, p. 4, 1. 20) has JyS ^jjJI jy!)\ l^i _^jj i*>UJI SlUitj 
clyill jLLu icLaJl t'sn, ^y> Jjitl _£jil ^. This is rendered by 

Moses Ibn Tibbon" pi>nn jo «!» -ne* nwjyn 13 maw w nowon 

D^nsn "IT1 riNm nation JO jwsnn. The meaning evidently is 
this : ' In the second book we shall treat of those things which 
stand in the relation of species to the (topics treated in the) first 
part of this discipline.' 

22. (L. 14, 10) 

.Nine no m xin -ik>n mm 

(K. 21, 36) 

Die Form irgerid eines bestimmten Dinges. 
18 Italics mine. ,9 MS. copy in my possession. 


The correct translation is, ' The form by virtue of which he 
(sc. man, as is clear from the context) is what he is '. Further 
discussion of this point is not necessary for any one who is 
familiar with Aristotelian ideas and the philosophical phraseology 
of the mediaeval Jewish writers. 

23. (L. 14, 13) 

103 idsii t6) nm vbz nhai rnivn nx? nrow -ipso tb\tv\ 
HDani mxn nvrn ,ptn ^02 nm yirv nin proDon nx-w 


(K. 22, 3) 

Wenn jedoch — wie Themistius annimmt — die Form eine 
separate sein soil, ohne Entstehen und Vergehen, so ergibt sich 
hieraus insofern eine grosse Absurditat, als der Mensch unbedingt 
vergehen muss. 10 

Here K.'s mistake is perhaps not to be blamed. He did his 
best to translate his text intelligibly. But the reader will notice 
that the italicized passage is not a literal translation of the original, 
overlined above. The literal translation would read, 'Since 
man and his dissolution can in no manner be gotten away from '. 
And this is not what the argument requires G. to say. He should 
have said, 'Since man's generation and dissolution can in no 
manner be gotten away from '. K., it will be seen, concealed the 
difficulty by a free translation which, while it does away with 
' man ' as something to be escaped, still desiderates 'generation '. 

The truth is that the text requires a slight and obvious 
emendation, nvra should read iwna, and there should be no 
punctuation mark after ptn, but rather after VTDSJfl. The phrase 
D'OB D1E>3 1J0C vbdX\ pK refers to ^1D3. We shall therefore 
rewrite the last part of the original as follows: niD 3W run 

ess dib>3 i3oo vbnn ft? ^iDsni mxn mro ptn hna. And the 

translation is, 'There would follow from this a great absurdity 
regarding man's generation and dissolution, which (sc. the 
absurdity) cannot be escaped in any manner'. 
20 Italics mine. 


24. (L. 15, 1) 

wk nip:n bn ^jb w ^y pv nor6 nin33n mm mpan'. . , 
jaita uw a^jnta snrn naae^ i>yian iwn nipan ido /dsjo 
D^acn nipan ids ,w»jn nip3n bni 7 runp miv an$> sin rrrw 
nipan icoi pri? nynp~rrws noxw ant? a»Dwn B»Q-ui> nmaart 
,ij^ nanp mw sw wooon njn »a^ 133 y»5»vnn iwn nr 

(K. 23, 9) 

... die Verbindung der separaten Form mit der Materie auf 
zwei Weisen verstanden werden kann. Entweder ist die Verbin- 
dung nicht substantiell — wie die Verbindung des aktiven Intellekts 
mit dem Samenerguss und den Spermatozoen,* 1 die ja nicht derartig 
ist, dass er eine ihnen verwandte Form annimmt? 1 oder die Verbin- 
dung ist substantiell — wie die Verbindung der separaten Intellekte 
mit den Himmelskorpern, dennjene besitzen in ihrer substantiellen 
Verbindung eine diesen verwandte Form 21 — entsprechend der 
nach Ansicht des Themistius sich vollziehenden Verbindung 
zwischen uns und dem hylischen Intellekt, der ja eine uns 
verwandte Form annimmt? 1 

The italicized passages are in every case incorrect. B'JJI^ 
means simply plant seeds, not 'Spermatozoen'. T\S\ip mis means 
'■proximate form ', not ' verwandte Form '. A proximate form is 
one which is the immediate cause of the genesis of a given object, 
or rather it is the form which is immediately united with a given 
matter to constitute a given object. This is illustrated by G.'s 
own examples. The ' separate Intelligences ' are the immediate 
forms of the heavenly bodies or spheres, which are their bodies 
and which they move, as the human soul is the form of the human 
body and moves it. The material intellect similarly, according to 
Themistius, is the immediate intellectual form of man. Such 

union G. calls essential (IDVJD mp3T = KaO' avro). Proximate 
form may be contrasted with ' remote form ' (npim mix). This 
would be one which is the cause, directly or indirectly, of a 
proximate form, but is not identical with it. Thus, to use again 

21 Italics mine. 


G.'s own illustration, the Active Intellect is a form which causes 
or produces the form of semen or seed, but is not identical with it. 
Such relation G. calls non-essential union (1D¥5>3 WN nip31). 

I will not take the time to do more than indicate the lack of 
precision in K.'s rendering of the last clause beginning mp3T 1031 
133 *3t6vnn ^3ETt nt, which is simply another illustration of 
essential union. 

23. (L. 15, 10) 

^33 nni>ij» nwi t6v /bin rnixn 2a nSr tapaeo ,rre"u bs 

. . . nvax^nn nmro pyn ids «bu 

(K. 23, 27) 

Wir aber meinen : Wenn wir die 23 Form eine separate nennen, 
so darf sich ihre Tatigkeit nicht mittels korperlicher Organe 
entfalten, wie dies bei den hylischen Formen der Fall ist. 

The manner of introduction in this sentence — 'Wir aber 
meinen' — and particularly the rendering of nNT by 'die' destroys, 
it seems to me, the meaning of G.'s statement, and especially its 
connexion with the argument. G. does not say, as would appear 
from K.'s translation, that his own opinion is that when we call 
a form 'separate', we mean that its activity is not developed by 
means of corporeal organs. He is not giving his own opinion at 
all, and is not referring to the meaning of form in general. He is 
interpreting the sense in which the word ' separate ' is used by 
Themistius when he speaks of the material intellect as a 'separate 
form ', pointing out that it is not used in the same sense as when 
we speak of the active intellect as a separate form. The con- 
nexion of this statement with the argument is as follows : 

G., in accordance with his method, has been defending 
tentatively the opinion of Alexander of Aphrodisias concerning 
the nature of the material intellect in man, and ipso facto opposing 
the opinion of Themistius. His argument was — to give only the 
substance of it briefly — that if we adopt Themistius's view that 
the material intellect is a 'separate form not subject to generation 

n Overlining mine. 2 ' Italics mine. 


and destruction', the absurd conclusion would follow that all 
matters subject to generation and destruction are endowed with 
human intellect. He then considers for a moment a possible 
defence of Themistius on the ground that the absurdity just 
mentioned would not necessarily fpllow from Themistius's view, 
any more than from the unanimous view that the Active Intellect 
is a separate form, not subject to generation and decay. His 
answer to this attempted defence of Themistius is that there is 
no similarity between the non-essential relation of the Active 
Intellect with the human seed and the essential union of the 
material intellect with man, required by Themistius. And if you 
object that in this case Themistius has no right to call the 
material intellect ' separate ', I answer, says G., that he has, for 
in calling this form (mixn nw), i.e. the material intellect, 
separate, he means simply that it does not carry on its activity 
by means of corporeal organs, as the material forms do. 

I do not know whether K. meant to indicate all this in his 
translation, and ' die ' is merely a slip or misprint for ' diese ', but 
I can judge only from what is before me, and that seems to me 
to conceal the drift of the argument rather than to bring it into 

26. (L. 15, 24) 

n»a ^wt&vin nmsn ntaacat? nniweno »a ntr? "iaae> nun 
naat? rm .y^nn iwn t>"i mwn nwa tiinsd: /iton^ti ant? 
uraw noa oxmrw /rnvbm aw noa jwstfcmn nnwa ntn» 
p fia-v rum .tmw '"ana nia-ino ontn /iiosya *wb "]W22 13 
pv ton »a ,« Nv»n -\m -i»nn "i:e6 ie>»i nernrr misn nxta 
p dj nth y mixn nw u mow mip ennm rornn na bipb rbm 
mw nhr K»n Jwo -pi jutn rrnxt? n» nwun 'lana na-ino 

.naDoa jwde> 

(K. 24, 16) 

Ferner zeigt sich doch, dass dann ganz bestimmte, spezifische 
hylische JFormen, soweit sie ilberhaupt hylischen Charakter haben, 
in dieser Form, d.h. im hylischen Intellect, enthalten sind. u Zeigt 
M Italics mine. 


sich doch bei den hylischen Formen, soweit sie uberhaupt 
hylisch sind, dass ihre Entstehung am Orte ihrer Existenz mit 
der Veranderung (sc. des Ortes) substantiell zusammenhangt, so 
dass auch sie 2B kraft der Pluralitat der Trager zur Vielheit werden. 
So ergibt sich also bei dieser Form, dass ihre Entstehung mit der 
Veranderlichkeit™ der Materie zusammenhangt, in der sie existiert, 
denn sie (sc. die Materie) ist vorerst nur so lange vorbereitet, die 
Possibiliiat der Ernahrung und der Sinnlichkeit anzunehmen, als 
in ihr die Form noch nicht zur Erscheinung kommt.™ Sie aber (sc. 
die Form) vermehrt sich gleichfalls 25 mit der Vervielfaltigung der 
Trager, bis 2B beispielsweise die Form des Ruben numerisch eine 
andere als die des Simon ist. 

Here also K.'s translation, especially in the passages italicized, 
is either absolutely incorrect or misleading. In either case it 
tends to make G.'s argument unintelligible or obscure. Without 
troubling to enter into the causes or effects of K.'s errors, I shall 
try to correct them. The meaning of the first sentence of the 
original quoted above is as follows : 

' Besides, it appears that some of the peculiar properties 
pertaining to material forms qua material are found in this form, 
viz. the material intellect.' 

G. is trying to prove that Themistius's view of the material 
intellect as a separate form is incorrect, by showing that the 
material intellect has properties in common with material forms, 
and hence is itself a material form, and not separate. In the 
sequel he proceeds to show that this is the case. And he 
instances two properties peculiar to material forms as such (TVH1X 
nYON^Vn Dntf HD3 ni'ONi'Vn), which are also found in the material 
intellect. They are (1) that a change in the bearer of the material 
form is a necessary pre-requisite before the material form in 
question appears ; and (2) that the. form multiplies with the multi- 
plication of the subject. Accordingly we translate the following 
sentences as follows : 

' For it is a property of material forms as such (1) that their 
first appearance in the bearer in which they exist follows essentially 
25 Italics mine. 


upon (i.e. cannot take place without) a change, (2) that they 
multiply with the multiplication of the subject.' 

He then proceeds to show that these two properties are found 
in the material intellect, and we translate the rest as follows : 

'And it appears in reference to this form also that its first 
appearance follows upon (i. e. cannot take place without) a change 
in the matter in which it exists. For before this form (i.e. the 
material intellect) can appear in it (sc. the matter), the latter must 
first be prepared to receive the powers of nutrition and of sensa- 
tion. [This proves the first property.] But it also multiplies with 
the multiplication of the subjects. Thus, the form of Reuben, 
for example, is numerically distinct from the form of Simeon . . .' 

27. (L. 16, 2) 

.pm D^nno itf dn n^n 

K. (25, 7) translates pD by 'Genus'. This is, strictly speaking, 
incorrect, po and J1D are technical terms in logic. pD = cISos = 
species ; J1D = yew = genus, and it is best to render them 
precisely in every case. 

28. (L. 16, n) 

»r6an *m iw vbw nvjt^vnn rowon mnaa hxt "nae> jana) 
win c^ap ixd *tna tap wrap's? no i^ap 1 ' nnc ">tb jvbsn bvi 
n&njn nra new jnxn nr W -iaa nxnn nans? Jp&om "ON^vn Sap 
iniK ^3pD KW *sb /wojn nri> new n:i»nn nrai nDe*n ma ton new 
Denn rutwin nxr inisna noenj naae» S't /id jawa y«!wi hap 
rumna/i (r. Suid) 5>apo noea i$> nxn^n rrrw nr *jsd anno nvn /id 
h»nn nxr d^so ,snxn nr iw i>ax y oi>mo3 yavn y&> xh r&uiD 
nttian nnun wn ton »a /n^an Tib astro noaic nxxcj 
,rvi>an ^ya T6a nan ^» Dae>D nw dhd ins b new onnjni 

(K. 25, 22) 

Zweitens. Es ergibt sich doch bei den wahrnehmenden 
hylischen Kraften, dass sie eine unendliche Vielheit nicht 
perzipieren k6nnen, weil sie doch in ihrer Perception insofern 
singular verfahren als sie nur eine hyliscke Aufnahme haben. 


Zum Beispiel : Die Sehfahigkeit perzipiert diese Farbe an diesem 
Sichtbaren auf dieser Flache an dieser Gestalt dieses Sichtbaren 
weil sie es in bestimmter Art nur hylisch perzipiert, ich meine 
namlich, dass doch in seinem (sc. des hyl. Intell.) Sehen die 
Perzeption irgendwie determiniert ist, weshalb das ihm Sichtbare 
auf einer bestimmten Flache und an einer bestimmten Gestalt 
sein muss, sodass er nicht die absolute Farbe, sondern nur diese 
Farbe wahrnimmt. Die Entelechie jedoch fallt nur unendliche 
Urteile, denn sie nimmt die allgemeinen Urteile und jene Defi- 
nitionen wahr, deren jede einzelne ein unendliches Urteil ist. 

The sentence beginning ' ich meine namlich ' is incorrect and 
brings confusion into the entire discussion. G. is so far speaking 
of the so-called 'material powers of perception' (jrO'Cton mrD 
riVJKTPnn), which he distinguishes from the material intellect, 
in order to prove the latter ' separate '. The distinction is that 
the material powers of perception, like the power of sight, for 
example, cannot perceive the infinite because their perception 
has for its object the particular, hence it sees one thing at a time ; 
whereas the material intellect (he calls it here ruann) deals with 
the universal, which embraces an infinite number of individuals. 
It is clear, therefore, that all which precedes the sentence begin- 
ning roann n«t dSnI refers to the material power of sight 
(fKnn ra), and not the material intellect. The first correction 
to be made, therefore, in K.'s translation of the sentence in 
question is to change 'seinem' into 'ihrem', 'sc. des hyl. Intell.' 
into 'sc. der Sehkraft', 'ihm' into 'ihr', and 'er' into 'sie'. But 
there is another error in K.'s rendering of the words npEHJ "133K* 
riD Dm nJE>nn riKT iniN-n. The words corresponding to them 
in his translation are, 'dass doch in seinem . . . Sehen die Perzep- 
tion irgendwie determiniert ist '. This is not the meaning of the 
words in question. DBH signifies to make an impression, a mark ; 
and the expression in question is intended to explain the pre- 
ceding statement, that the power of sight receives its object in 
a material manner ('JK^IVI b)2p 1™K ^P» NlilC «i>). What I 
mean is, G. says, that when the power of sight sees, this 
perception (njBTin DNt) is actually impressed upon the sense faculty 


(nD Dtm nDB>-0) ; i. e. a material impress is made upon the 
sensorium. This is made quite clear by a similar statement of 

G. on p. 23, 1. 30. mytriwin niwon ninan -ixca n^n D3DK rn *a nti 
new nn ,0^ new "Bian ^an niyxoNa "we» no iw anef 'jso 
Jtrion -inn jroi n Denna no ni^ysn berv. 

Here G. tells us plainly that the material powers of perception 
other than the material intellect perceive their objects by means 
of a corporeal organ in which these powers reside ; and that this 
corporeal organ is affected in a certain way because an impression 
is made upon it, which resembles the object of perception (the copy 
theory of perception). 

29. (L. 17, i)=(K. 26, 29) 

pD is translated 'Genus'. See No. 27. 

30. (L. 18, 6) 

b""\ J?i23 Dvjn man jNaa nvtne> DVBDcnb aw naaE> ptra 
lE'Di Nin nanE> »ai» ^oan nNiao nn . nib^ion bpi> roann 

. . . ^vni? 

(K. 28, 29) 

Erstens. Es ergab sich doch fiir Themistius dass es bei den 
Sublunarien eine substantiell separate Entelechie gibt™ ich meine 
namlich die Entelechie 26 fiir die Aufnahme der Intelligibilia. Dies 
ist aber erwiesenermassen absurd, weil die Potentialitat mit dem 
Hylischen zusammenhangt und in ihm allein existiert. 

There are several errors here. JN33 in G. does sometimes 
refer to sublunar things specifically, but not here. In the present 
instance ' sublunarity ' is irrelevant, and fN33 simply denotes exist- 
ence, like the English expletive ' there ' in the phrase ' there is ', 
and the Arabic p = Hebrew DE>. 

Then again the expression Snai 0W3 njan }N33 nvmt? is not 

rendered correctly by K. What G. says is that according to 

Themistius it would follow that a potentiality or a possibility 

(nun) may reside in a separate substance (^13J. DXya), i. e. the 

S6 Italics mine. 


possibility of receiving intellegibilia may reside in the material 
intellect which, according to Themistius, is a separate substance. 
This, he proves, is impossible, for a power or potentiality (na) 
necessarily presupposes a material substratum ("jtPDJ KW nan 
maro WIJ); whereas the material intellect according to 
Themistius is a separate substance, hence a 'formal' and not 
a 'material' substratum. We see here at the same time how 
unfortunate it is that K. renders H33n by ' Entelechie '. It means 
the very opposite— potentiality = owa/us. G. himself identifies 
it here with ro. See No. 19. 

31. (L. 18, 13) 

D3dn rw rw Kins? *tb j?\ox\ nr aw vh "vtn jai> d^ni 
pw vb ;oa nnipan isd 27 ,[>"uan] rrnnt? *?'-\ /nwn nxT^» rnp 

.p no j a 

(K. 29, 7) 

Jedoch nach Averroes ergibt sich keine derartige Absurditat, 
weil er annimmt, dass dies 2S (sc. die Aufnahme der Intelligibilia) 
dieser Form wirklich zukomme, dass sie n&mlich insofern eine 
Entelechie sei, als sie mit uns verbunden ist, 2i nicht aber, dass sie 
es an und fiir sich sei. 

K.'s translation in the italicized passages somewhat obscures 
G.'s meaning. The argument is a continuation of that discussed 
in the last number (30). The point is that Themistius's view of 
the nature of the material intellect cannot be true, for it leads to 
the impossible situation of a potentiality residing in a separate 
substance. A separate substance must be pure actuality, and 
whatever is potential must have a material substratum. But then 
the question arises, Does not this difficulty affect Averroes's view 
just as much as that of Themistius ? For Averroes identifies the 
material intellect in man with the universal Active Intellect, 
which is according to all accounts a separate substance. G.'s 
answer is, No, Averroes is not affected by this difficulty. For his 
idea is that the potential character attaches to the Intellect per 

27 See Kellermann, p. 29, note 1. S8 Italics mine. 


accidens, in so far as it is temporarily associated with the 
individual man, but not per se. Per accidens a potentiality may 
reside in a form, as G. said before, 1. 9, NW nm¥3 1J11N NXDneoi 
NB>1Jn 1KD mpD3. K.'s rendering, therefore, 'dass dies . . . dieser 
Form wirklich zukomme\ makes G. say the very opposite of what 
he intends to say, and is contradicted by the sequel. The correct 
translation of the words ,mivn r\Klb mp DJDN r\W rW NW •<!& 

pnoxin ""rrnnt? n5> /an nniprj isd ,n»n rrnnr b"-\ is as 

follows : 

' [The difficulty does not affect Averroes] because his theory 
is that this circumstance (nw), namely that the Intellect has 
a potentiality (n:an rrrw b"-\), attaches to this form (the Intellect) 
per accidens (mp), in so far as it is associated with us, and not in 
so far as its own substance is concerned.' The words iTnne b"~\ 
fU3n are explanatory of TW, and hence K.'s parenthesis is un- 
necessary and misleading. 

32. (L. 18, 19) = (K. 29, 18) 
D^iyni D'OBTI ")£D is not wepl kov/jlov but irepl ovpavov. Cf. Stein- 
schneider, 'Die Hebraischen Uebersetzungen ', p. 125, § 55 29a . 

33. (L. 19, ch. 3 beg.) 
onnm naa vn in awipn am "ipn nuyon mart? "wni 
am /nynn i5snd nyn nyn mo^po vnn? ana ntrsNtr no jaiN3 
!"yjtr jnu jvyn yid rpn njn 'unartr 103 nyn njn ni5503o aovya 

^1D3 IN TICK Bl'p ^^B* IN B«pf HO DTO "m331 l5>Nn nuyD3 

|w n!>n .ticn 5>id3 in tion ai'p 5>B3» in d«p» n^ noo tion 
niy-in i5>nd no njn na a«ip^ i5>Nn nuyono nnN3 r\mb 12b ~\-n 
twin myontf ixo bn nr rw nan ,-ieaN nr nvi bng? nn •tion avp 
,i5»3po NW nyin n5j03o Nine> nxo dn ,Ninn njnn no"p» 

i5»3po Nine nym tion 5jio3 n5>B3o nw "ree nr nN3Jt? b5>ini 

no 55103 no nyn 13 5*013^ no3 nNno Nine nn .nesN Tta Nin 

tib> vn dn n55n ten avp li^po Nin -ie>n njnn u D^ip n5'B' 

29 See Kellermann, p. 29, note 2. 

29a When this was written I overlooked K.'s own correction of koo/xov 
to oiparov in his list of errata at the end of the book, p. 303, I. 22. 


rbto b« .rrvpnn nxn iten? -hpbn -ww -iniDn 'pbn i?a nijnn 

nijnno ins d^ vb dho *mx bow n^Nac nsno Kin nt 

.one "invo run n cip' *6t? pe> bs ^mttvxi 

(K. 30, ch. 3 beg.) 

Nachdem wir nun die Argumente, welche die Alten anfiihren, 
oder welche doch in ihren Worten beschlossen liegen, derartig 
zu Worte kommen liessen, dass sie einzelne dieser Ansichten 
bestatigen, wahrend sie gleichzeitig einzelne dieser Ansichten 
ablehnen, wie wir dies erwahnten, so wiirde es nun der Gang 
der Spekulation mit sich bringen, dass wir diese Argumente 
untersuchen, und aus ihnen jene auswahlen, die eine wirkliche 
Bestatigung Oder wirkliche Ablehnung bilden, im Gegensatze zu 
jenen, die keine wirkliche Bestatigung bezw. Ablehnung bilden. 
Indessen mangelt es uns an der Methode, um durch eines der 
Argumente, welches irgend eine der Ansichten bestatigt, eine 
wirkliche Bestatigung zu erreichen. Wenn dies namlich moglich 
ware, so konnte dies nur so geschehen, dass entweder jenes 
Argument die eine Ansicht bestatigt, oder die ihr entgegenstehende 
ablehnt. Jedoch miissen wir darauf hinweisen, dass eine vottige 
Ablehnung der ihr entgegengesetzten Ansicht nicht moglich is/. Es 
ist namlich erwiesen, dass durch die vollige Ablehnung einer 
Ansicht die Bestatigung der ihr entgegengesetzten nur dann 
moglich ist, wenn die beiden Ansichten in all ihren moglichen 
einander kontradizierenden Teilen in den Bereich unserer Unter- 
suchung fallen ; 30 im anderen Falle ist erwiesen, dass durch die 
Beseitigung der einen Ansicht die iibrigen nicht bestatigt sind, 
noch weniger, dass eine bestimmte Ansicht von ihnen bestatigt 

The reader will see that by K.'s mistranslation of the passages 
which I italicized, he destroyed G.'s argument and made him talk 
incoherently. We cannot fully refute, he makes G. say, an opposed 
opinion, because by such complete refutation we cannot prove 
our own unless both opinions in all their possible contradictory 
parts fall within the domain of our investigation ! 

30 Italics mine. 


Granting that the reason given (' because, &c.') makes sense, 
which it does not, what has it to do with the first part of the 
sentence ? The fact that the refutation of an opinion opposed to 
a given one cannot prove the latter except under certain con- 
ditions, does not show that the refutation itself is impossible. 
And then what are the conditions ? You cannot prove an opinion, 
G is made to say, by refuting its opposite unless both opinions 
fall within the domain of our investigation ! Whoever heard of 
two contradictory opinions not belonging to the same investiga- 
tion ! If one says a is b and the other says a is not b, how 
can these two help 'falling within the domain of a given in- 
vestigation ' in which they arise ? Either both opinions fall within 
our investigation or neither. And in either case what has this to 
do with the proof of an opinion by the refutation of its opposite ? 
Absolutely nothing. If the two contradictory opinions do not fall 
within our investigation, we are notconcerned with them. But they 
belong somewhere, to some investigation, and there the refutation 
of a given opinion does or does not prove its opposite. To 
concoct such a paragraph is bad enough, but to lay such in- 
coherence at the door of Gersonides, the keenest of logicians, 
is nothing short of unpardonable. At least K. might have added a 
note saying that though the passage made no sense, he could not 
translate it in any other way and suspects a corruption in the text. 

Will the reader after all this be surprised when he is told that 
G.'s statement is perfectly plain and straightforward and makes 
excellent sense? What G. says is this. We have had, so far, 
arguments pro and con on both sides of the question. Our 
problem now is to find out which of these arguments are valid, 
really proving or really disproving the thesis with which they deal. 
Now if a given argument is to prove a given thesis, it must do so 
in one of two ways, directly, by proving the thesis it defends, 
or indirectly, by refuting its opposite. The indirect method will 
lead to conclusive proof only in case the two theses in their 
opposition exhaust the possibilities in the case. Otherwise by 
refuting one possibility you have not yet proved the second, for 
there may be a third. 


Now we shall translate the two passages in G. which caused 
the trouble. 

itapB nw njnn tidn ^1D3 ntanc tenet ixd nt -isa:e> d^iki 
!>iD3 pd run u tamr nca "inud xw nn .n^as »rfa sin 
w vn dk s^n tidn avp ib*3po twi ~vffx njnn n D^ip' 1 xi>K» no 
.rrvpnn nsra i!>b'b> nrsx "row iniDn »p!>n b rojnn 

' To prove a given thesis by an argument that fully refutes the 
opposing thesis is impossible. For it is clear that by refuting 
a given thesis in a certain way the opposing thesis is not com- 
pletely proved unless the two theses constitute all the contradictory 
alternatives possible in a given investigation.' 

34. (L. 20, n) 

:wd nrw rvn dke> .ova byi rrriBO aynn nro payn ioa 
. oynnn i^y ane> no rtar ^y crux :wd sm run / mDj>oiDn 

(K. 32. 8) 

. . . wie dies bei dem Geschmackssinne der Fall ist, wenn er 
einen Geschmack empfindet ; denn wenn er dann die schmeck- 
baren Dinge aufnimmt, nimmt er sie anders auf, als sie in 
Wirklichkeit/#7- ihn 31 sind. 

The words 'fiir ihn 'evidently are intended to represent \hy in 
the phrase thy DnB> HD r&tt by. But this is incorrect. \hy does 
not refer to the sense of taste and cannot mean ' for it '. Besides, 
such a translation does not suit the context. For when the organ 
of taste is affected with a given taste and then tastes other things, 
it does not perceive their tastes as they really are, but it does 
precisely perceive them as they axe for it. 

The truth of the matter is that the pronominal suffix in vby 
refers to no, and the phrase is an Arabism. Thus Averroes in his 
Compendium of Metaphysics (ed. Cairo, p. 5, 1. 17) defines the 
various uses of the term ■>?>■}* = NVD3 = ov = ens. One of its 
uses is identical with the meaning of (j^U. 

. ^JJI *? ^» iulc y>> Lo (Jc ^ JJI [i t^JJI _}*} 

31 Italics mine. 
VOL. VII. Q q 


The meaning is, that which is in the mind just as it is outside 
of the mind. 

The Hebrew of Moses Ibn Tibbon 32 reads hoWl NVD 1 " ntW ton 

hyoT\ jd pn fbv Nine to ^aa, 

The negative of the phrase is also found in the same treatise, 

p. 29, 1. 9, [fJ6\ ^j nJc ^ U j*£. J* (jixJ Jl lj_aJO i„Jj. 

The Hebrew of this (MS.) reads TO n^1T h> TOp bii DriXp Dm 

The translation is, 'The relation between them is different 
from what it is in their (Hebr. our) minds '. 

Accordingly the similar phrase in Gersonides is to be translated, 
'It perceives their taste in a manner different from what it 
actually is '. 

35. (L. 20, 28) 

p r6nn ^yano mm nr itw twinn nr mano .Tn dke> niyi 
D3»n Nin 'a /in^aw ii> -rax Tib nr rw nan ;w "ib>n niawi 
.tpaan naDa -itannt? 1m /a -ie>n wn •oao inrts* 

(K. 33, 2) 

Und ferner : Wenn es zur Notwendigkeit dieser Empfindung 
gehorte, dass der Sinn zuerst (sc. vor der Empfindung) von den 
Qualitaten affiziert wird, die er begreift (sc. dass also die Sinnes- 
qualitat mit der Gegenstandsqualitat identisch ist), so kann er 
flberhaupt nichts empfinden, denn er empfindet nur wegen seiner 
Gleichheit^ mit ihm (sc. an sich, ohne Affiziertheit durch den ihm 
gleichen Gegenstand), wie dies im Buche der Seele (II, 5, n) 
erwiesen ist. 

The passage in De Anima to which Gersonides refers is no 
doubt the one in bk. ii, ch. n, p. 424 a 1 ff. : 

To yap al(T0dv((T$ai 7rd(r\eiv ti i<rnv. wore to ttoiovv oiov avrb 
ivepytia, roiovrov c/ceivo 7roi£i Swa/i« ov. Sib rov 6/iouos fcp/xov kou 
ijnixpov 1) o-xXrjpov rat /xa\aKOV ovk altrOavofneOcL, aXXa. ru>v {rrrepf3o\5>v, 
00s rrjs alcrOrjcrtuis oiov yu.eo"dV>/Tds twos ovo-rj'S ri)s iv tois alcrOrjToi'; 
evaiTKOo-ecos. kou. Sta tovto Kpivei to. aur&ryra.. to yap pjo-ov KpiTiKov. 
32 MS. copy in my possession. ** Italics mine. 


From this we learn that Aristotle regards the sensorium as 
potentially containing the perception which the external stimul us 
as actually, and which it induces in the sensorium when percep- 
tion becomes actual. But since the sensorium is equally able to 
perceive a quality and its opposite, it must be potentially both, 
actually neither. And that is why, says Aristotle, we do not 
perceive what is equally warm with the perceiving organ, or equally 
cold with it, or equally hard or soft. We can perceive only what 
exceeds in a given quality the degree of the perceiving organ. 
We may thus conceive of sensation, or rather of the sensorium, as 
a something intermediate between the sensible opposites. 

We may also quote the concluding lines of ch. 5 of the same 

book, p. 418 a 3 ff., to S' alo-OrjTiKOV Swaftei io-riv olov to olo-Bryrbv 
fjSr] CTTeXe^et'a, KaOmrtp cipr]T<u. irao-^et /J.kv ovv ov\ ofunov ov, 
ViTrovOoi 8 W/XOlttiTai KO.I io-TW oiov eKtivo. 

Summing up the previous discussion, he says, the sensorium is 
potentially what the perceptible object is actually. The sentient 
organ is affected by the object in so far as it is not like it, but 
after it has been affected it becomes like it. 

We now understand what G. means in the passage under 
discussion. He is trying to show that the sense of touch is not 
affected by the heat or cold of the object before it perceives it, for 
if that were the case it would not then be able to perceive it. 
It is the equality in the sensorium (i. e. its indifference to the two 
opposites, or its equilibrium between them, or its intermediate 
character, the Aristotelian fj-eo-orip) which enables it to perceive the 
sensible object. Hence if it were first affected with the quality 
of the object, it would not be able to perceive it. 

It was necessary to go into this lengthy discussion in order to 
show that K.'s translation of *w, ' Gleichheit mit ihm ' (' denn er 
empfindet nur wegen seiner Gleichheit mit ihm ') cannot be correct 
because Aristotle, to whom G. refers, says the very opposite 
(irao-xa /jiey ovv oix ofioiov ov). And moreover, it would not suit 
G.'s argument, for in that case it would really follow that the 
sensorium is affected first and perceives afterwards — the very 
opposite conclusion to the one G. desires to reach. To be sure, 

Qq 2 


K., aware of this difficulty, endeavours to avoid it by a qualification 
in parentheses, 'sc. an sich, ohne Affiziertheit durch den ihm 
gleichen Gegenstand '. But this is altogether unsatisfactory. For 
in the first place, "fiDD fD ">Dn npjjn. The qualification is the 
essential part of the argument, and G. could not have left that to 
the reader's imagination. Secondly, what does 'Gleichheit mit 
ihm an sich ' mean ? Equality per se of the sensorium with the 
object ? This is exactly what it is not. Potentially it is both like 
and unlike, since it is both cold and hot, actually it is decidedly 
unlike. It becomes actually like only when it has been affected, 
and then it can no longer perceive a quality of the same degree. 

The right solution is clearly the one suggested above, namely 
that 'W represents the Aristotelian //.eo-ori;?, and means 'equili- 
brium ', ' indifference ', ' intermediate character ', equality if you 
please, but in the sense of being equally situated with respect 
to the opposite qualities. 

36. (L. 21, 4) 

.^vnn dv mw» Tta ^ap onytn bipn mirk snort sjyrtt? ty 
ids /SK^iTin bsm V~\ pssm nxr ktii )hi ruann mh wrum 

,n psd \*w noa wajn "iKaiw 

(K. 33, 24) 

... bis sich die Natur zur Entelechie hin realisiert, deren 
Aufnahme sich ja hylenlos vollzieht. Der Trager dieser Entelechie 
ist ein Generelles™ namlich die in Rede stehende Entelechie, d. i. 
der hylische Intellekt, wie dies aus seinem Wesen zweifelsfrei 
erwiesen wurde. 

The translation of K. is one that naturally suggests itself by 
the punctuation of L. But there are difficulties. First, if bbs is 
a predicate adjective qualifying NCIJni and means universal, ^13 
or '?P3 would be the proper term. Secondly, G. does not hold 
that the material intellect is a universal any more than the 
intelligibilia (m^E'iD) which it acquires (see p. 62, 23 ff, where 
he argues against the universality of the intelligibilia). Thirdly, 
the whole statement is here irrelevant. The entire paragraph 
34 Italics mine. 


is devoted to showing the gradations in the material or immaterial 
character of the perceptions received by the different faculties 
of man. He egins with the crudest of the senses, namely, the 
sense of touch, whose reception of its specific qualia is more or 
less material, i.e. the sensorium is itself affected by the quale 
it perceives. He then proceeds to the sense of sight, which is not 
itself coloured by the colour it perceives, though it is nevertheless 
affected materially in some way, as is shown by the fact that it 
may be so dazzled by a bright light that it cannot thereafter see an 
ordinary light. The common sense is still less material in its 
reception of its qualia, the imagination still less so, until finally 
we get to a faculty or disposition (D33n) which receives its qualia 
without any material mixture whatsoever. This faculty is the one 
we are discussing, namely, the material intellect. 

I should therefore delete the period after 'TiVin in L. and 
translate as follows: 

' . . . Until nature arrives at a faculty which receives things in 
a manner altogether (??3) unmixed with matter and with the 
bearer of this faculty (cp. p. 20, 18, KW nwnn JlND "lOtOea 
HNCU DJ? 3-lljJO Tlia hip nfapiton rblpft). This is this dis- 
position, namely, the material intellect, as is clear from its nature 
without any doubt.' 

37. (L. 21, 14) 

jjtid noNi ^ivpn a'DJn naD^ i-iwpi roytan -itn px ns? rum 
lam px run nnixno urn rm no •o y6x D'otWim DVDDon by 

,nDB3 otw mm to ni>tw 

(K. 34, 9) 

Averroes hat nun dieses Argument kurz in seinem Kompen- 
dium zum Buche der Seele erwahnt, indem er den Einwand 
erhebt : Was den Charakier der Formen betrifft, so besteht dieser 
nicht darin, dass sich bei ihrem Entstehen ein vergdnglicher Korper 
vollendet. 35 

85 Italics mine. 


The italicized lines in the German do not reproduce the 
meaning of the Hebrew, and, moreover, they attribute a statement 
to Averroes which no Aristotelian could possibly make. As 
I understand the meaning of the German, it says, in effect, that 
a perishable body is not realized or perfected by the genesis of 
a form. This statement is directly opposed to the very essence 
of the Aristotelian doctrine of matter and form, and would nullify 
not merely Themistius's view of the material intellect, but also 
that of Alexander and Averroes himself. In fact the entire 
discussion would have its bottom knocked out. For according 
to Aristotle, as everybody knows, all forms in the sublunar world 
have just this function that through them perishable bodies are 
realized, actualized, perfected. To be sure, we cannot say that 
this realization is due to the genesis (Entstehen) of the form, for 
forms, according to Aristotle, have neither genesis nor dissolution 
any more than matter. But this is altogether irrelevant to the 
question at issue. 

Averroes is represented as arguing against Themistius, who 
holds that the material intellect is a separate form not subject 
to genesis and destruction. And his argument is that a form of 
this sort (nmxn JO W"n \W no) cannot be the means of perfect- 
ing a perishable body, not that no form can do so. The word 
iTim is difficult. It cannot mean ' bei ihrem Entstehen '. For, 
in the first place, the reading would have to be njviro, and secondly, 
a form as such is not subject to n'W, as was said before. If 
the text is correct, the word belongs to Dt?J : a perishable body 
cannot in its genesis be -perfected by such a form. We should 
expect indeed llViro. And hence I would suggest emending the 
text as follows : 1DS3 mn QtfJ m D|>tw 13m pN. A body subject 
to genesis and dissolution cannot be perfected by such a form. 

38. (L. 22, ro) 

. . . inhsffl rwj?D nan nr ww n»D Dninysa npoynnv ieb 
(K. 35, 26) 

Denn ihre (sc. der Entelechie) Beschaftigung mit deren '" (sc. 
36 Italics mine. 


der Krafte) Funktion hindert diese Kraft (sc. die Entelechie) 
daran, ihre eigene Funktion auszuiiben . . . 

As the Hebrew text shows (Dn^iyaa DpD5>nne>), and as is clear 
from the context, ' ihre ' is plural and refers not to ' Entelechie ' 
but to 'die Krafte', and the translation should read 'ihre Be- 
sch'aftigung mit ihren Funktionen', both 'ihre' and 'ihren' 
referring to 'die Krafte'. 

39. (L. 22, 13) 

nhaj kw ruann nwa Dvejocn in n w p»B> ne'DKB' no qSni 
bmy abw p dj thud Kin jnbzn byi v6an mi nrocn •oao 
nwewn roraa aw amm nn .tidk ^>iD3 tudo^x njn la 
,njB»nn nsr ^apon oni? N8>un yaon nso wsn we*e> nwKiwin 
;w H ai> /ma 13 n'n -«pk tPnion woa n~ona n^ap" sin *a 
.jVD-ia Dna n^nn nnpo nvpto np"i mis iap'ty ntwn ttto 

(K. 35, 30 

.Wenn jedoch des Themistius Ansicht von dem separaten 
Charakter der Entelechie dadurch bestatigt werden soil, dass sie 
eine unendliche Vielheit begreifen kann, so ist hiermit gleichfalls 
erwiesen, dass hierdurch Alexanders Ansicht keineswegs voll- 
standig beseitigt wird. Denn in Wahrheit miissen die perzipierenden 
hylischen Krafte das Singulare von seiten der Natur ihres Tragers 
begreifen, dem gerade dieses Begreifen eigentilmlich ist, denn er 
vollzieht diese Perzeption unbedingt durch die Attribute des sinn- 
lich Wahrgenommenen, durch welches er (sc. der Trager) 37 ein 
Singulares wird ; es ist namlich nicht die Weise des Korpers, dass 
er eine Form ohne eine jener Akzidenzien perzipiert, durch welche 
sie (sc. die Form) ein Singulares wird. 

The part of this translation which I italicized ('Denn . . . ist') 
suffers from the fact that the emphasis is not placed where it 
properly belongs. The point of the argument is that even though, 
according to Alexander, the material intellect is not a separate 
form but contained in some other part of the soul as its subject, 

87 Italics mine. 


it does not necessarily follow that it must perceive the particular, 
like the senses, for example. For they, too, would perceive an 
infinite multiplicity like the intellect if it were not for their 
corporeal subject, the sense organ, which is the proper recipient 
of the perceptions. This point, it seems to me, K.'s translation 
does not bring out with sufficient clearness. 

In the latter part, the words "<a~& 13 (TO "WK refer not to the 
bearer (NK»i:n), as K. indicates ('durch welches er (sc. der Trager) 
ein Singulares wird '), but to the sensible (BTttDn). The meaning 
is, the bearer, namely, the sense organ, receives the sense percept 
together with the attributes of the sensible which make the latter 
particular. We are not concerned here with the particularity of 
the sense organ or sense faculty, but with that of its object, the 
sensible, and its content, the percept. 

40. (L. 22, 22-33) = (K. 3 6 > 1I S Z ) 

Without troubling to reproduce here the text and its transla- 
tion, I shall limit myself to making the necessary corrections 
which are slight but indispensable for a right understanding. 
'Bei ihrer Aufnahme der Form welche sie begreift' (20-21) 
should read ' Bei ihrer Aufnahme dieser Form wenn sie sie 
begreift', corresponding to the Hebrew misn JlNt lb)2p2 
rr>"OtW3 (27-8). Similarly 'begreifen' (26) should read 'auf- 
nehmen ', representing the Hebrew Q^'papD (30). 

The argument refers back to L. 16, 21-6 = K. 26, 2-11. 
The point there made in favour of Themistius was this, that the 
material intellect cannot be a mere potentiality (miDJ ruan), for 
in that case it would not be able to apprehend itself, since its 
function is to apprehend forms, and a mere potentiality is not 
a form. But this conclusion is untenable, for we should not 
then be able to explain the material intellect's apprehension of 
' privation ' ("ttpn = orc^o-is), such as that a is not b, or that a is 
not, which are not forms. As it is we explain this power by 
saying that it is the result of the material intellect apprehending 
itself as free of forms (nmxn [D pi). But if it apprehends itself, it 
must be a form. 


This argument is taken up in the passage under discussion. 
And before answering it, G. offers a counter-argument against 
Themistius. If, he says, the material intellect is a form, then 
when it thinks of itself, it receives the form it thinks, and (since 
the form is itself) it receives itself. This is absurd. A thing 
cannot receive itself. It is already there. If you reply to 
me that if this be so then nothing can think itself, and yet 
all admit that the separate Intelligences do apprehend 
themselves, my answer is that receiving and apprehending 
are two different things. No one says that the separate 
Intelligences receive themselves (n^3pD WB> Dm rVM nb tirON 
DDSV). To ' receive ' means to acquire a thing which formerly 
you did not possess. When the separate Intelligences apprehend 
themselves, they do not acquire anything new. But with the 
material intellect it is different. Its sole function is, according to 
all accounts, to receive forms which it had not before, which forms 
actualize and perfect it (nnw "tapra nnran hsp> MttSwifl i>3E>n 
Dm tblSW). Hence it follows that if its capacity is a form, it 
acquires that too when it thinks it. But this is absurd, for a thing 
cannot acquire or receive itself. The direct answer to the argu- 
ment in favour of Themistius, above referred to, will be treated in 
the next number. 

41. (L. 22, 33—23, 14) = (K. 36, 32—37, 35) 

Here K.'s translation is correct, though one does not see the 
meaning of the parenthetical remarks, ' sc. wie bei den anderen 
hylischen Formen'(37. 2), or 'sc. wie bei dem separaten Intellekt' 
{ibid., 34). 

In this passage G. answers the argument in favour of The- 
mistius given in the beginning of the preceding number. The 
answer is this. It does not follow from the fact that the material 
intellect apprehends ' privation ' (cf. preceding number) that it 
perceives itself per se, and hence is a form. For every other 
perceiving power apprehends ' privation ' without perceiving itself. 
Take the sense of sight. It perceives not only colour, but also the 
absence of colour, yet it does not perceive itself. In fact the two 


are inseparable, the positive and the negative, possession and 
privation ( = fjp and llyn, e£is and crriprivis). Whatever faculty 
perceives the former must necessarily perceive also the latter, 
except that it perceives the positive primarily and per se, the 
negative secondarily and per accidens. Similarly the material 
intellect apprehends forms per se, and hence perceives the privation 
of form per accidens, and hence itself too per accidens as a privation, 
but not a form. This solution is not liable to the objection 
advanced against Themistius, viz. that the material intellect 
receives itself (cf. preceding number). For the material intellect, 
according to our view, does receive forms, but not their negations. 
The latter it perceives per accidens, and that is not the same as 
receiving. It perceives itself per accidens, but does not receive 

{To be continued.)