On the Universe

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On the Universe (Greek: Περὶ Κόσμου; Latin: De mundo) is a theological and scientific treatise included in the Corpus Aristotelicum but usually regarded as spurious. Likely published between 350 and 200 BC, the work discusses cosmological, geological, and meteorological subjects, alongside a consideration of the role an independent god plays in maintaining the universe.

Contents[edit]

According to Johan C. Thom, De mundo "attempts to provide an explanation of the role of god in preserving and maintaining the cosmos while at the same time upholding the notion of his transcendence and independence."[1] This view is decidedly non-Aristotlean, given that Aristotle believed in an non-transcendent unmoved mover.[2] While the work is mostly in the Peripatetic style established by Aristotle,[1] elements of Platonic, Stoic, and Neopythagorean philosophy permeates it (which Thom argues is indicative of its post-Aristotlean authorship).[2] Alongside its theological considerations, it also discusses cosmological, geological, and meteorological subjects.[3]

Authorship[edit]

In the Middle Ages, it was widely believed that De mundo was a genuine product of Aristotle.[1] However, in the 20th century, the Neoplatonic philologist André-Jean Festugière argued that the work was not genuinely written by Aristotle, and as such the author is referred to now as Pseudo-Aristotle.[4]

Wilhelm Capelle [de] (Neue Jahrbücher, 1905), traced most of the doctrines to the Greek Stoic philosopher Posidonius.[5]

The date of the work is uncertain; it has been argued that it was composed before 250 BC or between 350 and 200 BC.[4] It is found under the Bekker numbers 391–401. It should not be confused with On the Heavens.

Textual history[edit]

After its original publication in Greek, the work was translated to Latin by Apuleius, into Syriac by Sergius of Reshaina and three distinct Arabic versions.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Thom, Johan C., ed. (2014). "Introduction". Cosmic Order and Divine Power: Pseudo-Aristotle, On the Cosmos. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck. p. 3. ISBN 978-3-16-152809-5.
  2. ^ a b Thom, Johan C., ed. (2014). "Introduction". Cosmic Order and Divine Power: Pseudo-Aristotle, On the Cosmos. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck. p. 5. ISBN 978-3-16-152809-5.
  3. ^ Thom, Johan C., ed. (2014). "Introduction". Cosmic Order and Divine Power: Pseudo-Aristotle, On the Cosmos. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck. p. 10-13. ISBN 978-3-16-152809-5.
  4. ^ a b Bos, A. P. (2003). The soul and its instrumental Body: A Reinterpretation of Aristotle's Philosophy of Living Nature. Brill's Studies in Intellectual History. 112. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. p. 210. ISBN 9789004130166.
  5. ^ Aristotle; Forster, E. S. (Edward Seymour), 1879-1950; Dobson, J. F. (John Frederic), 1875-1947 (1914). De Mundo. p. 1.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ McCollum, Adam (2011). "Sergius of Reshaina as Translator: The Case of the De Mundo". In Lössl, Josef; Watt, John W. (eds.). Interpreting the Bible and Aristotle in Late Antiquity: The Alexandrian Commentary Tradition Between Rome and Baghdad. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing. p. 165. ISBN 9781409410072.