Kusyar Ibn Labban's Introduction to Astrology.
Kushyar ibn Labban ibn Bashahri al-Jili's al-Madkhal fi sina[subset]at ahkam al-nujum (hereafter Madkhal) is an introduction to astrology written around the end of the tenth century and the beginning of the eleventh. Although less original than the other famous Arabic astrological works, such as Abu [Ma.sup.[subset]]shar's (d.886) The Abbreviation of The Introduction to Astrology and al-Biruni's (d. 1048?) al-Tafhim li-[awa.sup.[contains]]il [sina.sup.[subset]]at al-tanjim, it was highly acclaimed and widely circulated for its clear presentation and handy format. Its popularity in the eastern half of the Islamic world is attested to by numerous surviving Arabic manuscripts as well as Persian and Turkish translations. The story of its success did not stop there. It was further introduced to China in the year 1383, in the early Ming period. The Chinese translation, entitled Ming-yi tien-wen shu, attracted, in its turn, scholarly attention in Japan and has generated an interest in its Arabic original since the 1950s. The book under review is the newest result of this long-standing effort within the span of several generations of Japanese scholars in the field. It is also the fruit of nearly two decades of persistent hard labor by Michio Yano, who submitted its earlier version to Kyoto University in 1996 as his D. Litt. dissertation. The work was assisted in various ways also by European and American scholars--David Pingree, E. S. Kennedy, and Merce Viladrich, among others.
The book consists of a preface, an introduction with bibliography, a critical edition of the Arabic text of the Madkhal, and an English translation. Three multilingual appendixes include the Chinese text of the Ming-yi tien-wen shu, index of Arabic words with Chinese and English translation, and English-Arabic glossary.
The introduction begins with a brief account of the author of the Madkhal: his date, which remains uncertain, his works, his sources, and the influence of the Madkhal within the context of the Islamic Arabo-Persian astrological tradition (pp. v-viii). This is followed by an outline of the content of the MadKhal and a brief discussion of Kushyar's own view of astrology (pp. viii-x). Elements of mathematical astrology found in the Madkhal are discussed in great detail (pp. x-xii). Next are the editorial notes that deal with technical aspects, such as the manuscripts used in the preparation of the edition, the process of edition, and editorial principles (pp. xii-xvi). For Western readers, of special interest may be the two sections that conclude the introduction. The first is an overview of the previous and, until recently, exclusively Japanese scholarship on the Madkhal, which started from the Chinese version of the work with which the original in Arabic was later identified. The next section contains a detai led discussion of the Chinese translation, including the historical background surrounding its production, the differences between it and the Arabic original, and the new examples it added to the original (pp. xvii-xxv).
The Arabic edition--the heart of the book--is based on a Princeton manuscript (Garrett 969), the oldest among the nine manuscripts at the editor's disposal. The portions missing from the incomplete Princeton manuscript are made up from an Istanbul manuscript (Fatih 3426). The variants of other manuscripts are put in footnotes. There are, however, a considerable number of cases in which the variants seem to offer better choices as against the Princeton manuscript. Some of these are trivial (e.g., I.15.6 bi-nahar wa-al-layl; II.11.10. mabaniyan; III.6.12. sini; III.8.8. shabihah; III.10.8. wa-li-hal al-[[blank].sup.[subset]]amm), but others result in substantial differences. Such is the case in III.8.6: The Princeton manuscript has, as we are told in the footnote, an unclear wording kathir al-hal; the editor skipped the reading given by manuscripts J and V, namely kathir al-[haya.sup.[contains]], "very shy," and offered his own reading kathir al-hiyal which he subsequently translated as "of many tricks." The problem is: first, hiyal is not a correct spelling of the word "trick" hilah, pl. hiyal); second, it does not fit the context, which speaks of a person who is "adherent to the matters of God, chaste," and "protective of his soul," a far cry from "of many tricks." Another example is to be found in III.8.10. where the text has muhibban... lil-[sina.sup.[subset]] at wa-al-[ghina.sup.[contains]] wa-al-sharwah, rendered by the editor as "fond of works, wealth, and buying"; however, the [sina.sup.[subset]] at means "arts, crafts," and [ghina.sup.[contains]] (not al-ghina!) signifies "singing, songs," while the problematic sharwah, "buying," makes no sense at all. In comparison, a better choice is provided by manuscript J, al-shurah, namely "giving good advice" (also cf. below III.8.11. husn al-mashirah); here, we are more likely talking about someone who is "fond of arts and sciences, music, and good company." It is of course a matter of choice as to whether the editor should stick to one basic codex, even if it contains o bvious errors, while putting all the variants in the footnotes or otherwise. The point is that the editor's judgment and guidance in such cases is also needed, especially when a translation is presented as well.
The Arabic edition is marred by numerous spelling and typographical errors. Since lapses of all kinds can be found on nearly every page of the more than two-hundred-sixty-page edition, I will confine myself to discussing the general problems.
There are, in my opinion, three serious flaws in regard to the Arabic edition.
First is the misreading of formulaic Arabic-Islamic phrases and idioms. Three examples must suffice: 1)I.22.4. s-[[blank].sup.[contains]]-l allah, for [nas.sup.[contains]]alu allah, "we ask God for..."; and it is missing from the translation as well. 2)III.21.11. wa-h-wa h-s-n-a wa-[ni.sup.[subset]]ma al-wakil (hence the wrong rendering "who improves us and is pleased with His representative"), for wa-h-wa hasbuna wa-[ni.sup.[subset]] ma al-wakil, which means "Our sufficiency is in Him (i.e., God). What an excellent trustee He is!" 3) IV.3.4. This passage, the last of the entire work, is full of stock expressions used for the concluding of a book; these are commonplaces that one would reasonably expect to be free of error, but unfortunately the passage contains at least three remarkable mistakes: nabihi, "His Prophet," is misspelled with a [ta.sup.[contains]] marbutah; [da.sup.[contains]]imayn, "the long lasting (blessing and peace)," is misspelled with [ta.sup.[contains]] marbutah, as well; and the misreading menti oned above, namely, hasbuna, is repeated again. This is simply unacceptable.
Second are an enormous number of misspelled words, foremost among them being the frequently misplaced dots above and below the consonants. Not only are the [ta.sup.[contains]] marbutah and the suffix [ha.sup.[contains]], the [ta.sup.[contains]] marbutah (ending of a noun) and the regular [ta.sup.[contains]] (ending of a verb), the final [ya.sup.[contains]] and the alif maqsurah constantly confused with one another, but many letters are mixed with each other as well. Such are the eases where the dal is mistaken as dhal or vice versa (I.Intro.l. madkhal; II.6.7. yuhdithu; III.4.2. and III.4.3. yaghtadhi; III.8.14. [musha.sup.[subset]]badhan), [ta.sup.[contains]] and [tha.sup.[contains]] (I.8.24. tail), nun and [ta.sup.[contains]] (I.l0.note 2. namt), [kha.sup.[contains]] and [ha.sup.[contains]] (I.5. al-mirrikh; I.20.12. mukhalifun; II.8.3. hintah; II.9.28. kharifi; II.9.34. khass; II.12.21. takhussu; III.2.2. yakhussu; III.2.9. khalqatuhu; III.2.10. khafifah; III.3.4. and III.3.8. takhmin; III.3.9. mustakhrij ; III.3.11. nastakhriju; III.8.2. mukhta [di.sup.[subset]]ah; III.8.16. akhlaq; III.12.3. khassah; III.19.3 [inkhida.sup.[subset]]; III.20.1. and III.20.16. istikhraj), jim and [ha.sup.[contains]] (I.22.2. yajuzu; III.3.2. al-[i.sup.[subset]]wijaj), sad and dad (II.8.8. rakhs; III.5.2. and III.5.4. mukhdab), [ra.sup.[contains]] and [za.sup.[contains]] (II.9.33. huzn), [ya.sup.[contains]] and [ta.sup.[contains]] (III.8.7. khafiyah), shin and sin (III.12.3. al-mushtari), [ta.sup.[contains]] and [za.sup.[contains]] (III.20.16. khattatna khutut), to name just a few. Most of these errors may not lead to serious misunderstandings of the text, but occasionally they do. For instance, 1) III.2.2., al-haml, "pregnancy," appears as al-jaml in the edition, and thus "months of pregnancy" becomes an incomprehensible "months of the totality" (cf. the Chinese translation, which has shou tai, "pregnancy"); 2)I.20.5., tasarifihi, "his behavior," is given as tasarifah (with [ta.sup.[contains]] marbutah), and was thus rendered, o ddly, as "independence of status"; not only did such a word not exist in the Arabic vocabulary, but the speculative rendering based on it is out of context as well; 3) III.2.7., dhahibah, is a misreading, or misprint, of the phrase dha [hay.sup.[contains]]ah, "of good shape"; 4) III.5.2., khafifah, translated as "he is thin" (the translation itself is questionable in that the word as it is given in the edition is feminine), ought to be khafifahu, that is, "it (i.e., his hair) is thin."
Another common mistake is the unorthodox spelling of the idafah in that the definite article al is wrongly added to the first term of the construction (I.16.3. hudud Batlimiyus; II.11.11. [tali.sup.[subset]] qiranihima; II.1l.V's addition [inqida.sup.[contains]] al-muthallathat; II.12. n. 136. [inquida.sup.[contains]]. Uha; III.20.10. ahwal al-badan; IV.2.43. iftitah al-kharaj). Since I have not seen any of the manuscripts, it is hard to know whether unorthodox wordings were inherited from them, the possibility of which I, for one, doubt very much, or were the result of careless transcription. Even if they were mistakes found in the original manuscripts, editorial emendation in such circumstances is mandatory.
Third are a considerable number of grammatical errors, resulting in a corrupt text. Among these the most remarkable is the particle an being constantly mistaken as the conditional particle in. A case in point is I.17.1., I.17.2., and I,17.3. The repeated structure of in yakunu (sic), translated as "if it..." is impossible in Arabic syntax. The conditional particle in is to be followed either by a perfect verb, or a jussive verb (cf. W. Wright, A Grammar of the Arabic Language, ii, 14B; ii, 23C), In this case, it would have been either in kana, or in yakun, which is not what the manuscripts have. And, moreover, the three passages in question do not contain an apodosis of a typical conditional sentence. The main structure thus ought to be an yakuna, "it is This reading is further confirmed by the next passage, namely 1.17.4., where the phrase an yakuna is used as the main structural clause. This particular mistake occurs quite often throughout the edition; other instances are to be found in I.18.4., I.18.5. , I.18.6., I.19.2., I.19.3., I.19.4., I.19.5., I.19.7., II.7.10., II.7.11., II.9.3., II.12.21., and III.7.7. Needless to say, all the conditional clauses "if it..." in the translation ought to be altered accordingly. There is one case in which the error was made the other way around: A sentence that requires a conditional in, but the wrong an is given instead (IV.2.5.). In addition, the combination of inna + verb that frequents these pages (e.g., I.1.6. [nattabi.sup.[subset]]; III.2.9. [ya.sup.[subset]]ish; III.6.6. nanzur) is plain wrong.
An errata list of other typos that I found in the Arabic edition follows: I.Intro.l. al-zunun; I.1.1.note 6. al-hisabiyah; I.5.2. note 9. al-[[blank].sup.[subset]]alawiyah; I.7. the two words al-miqdaran huma ought to be typed separately; I.16.1. al-mushatari; I.16.3. yaqulu; I.16.5. nafsihi; I.21, notes 43 and 44. [[blank].sup.[subset]]ala. I.22, note 55. [mawadi.sup.[subset]]; II.1.5., III.12.5., and III.12.5.note 24. [mawdi.sup.[subset]]; II.4.1. tasyir; II.9.23. al-mutaharrikah; II.9.2. hayawanihi; II.9.31. ahdath; II.11.10. [[blank].sup.[subset]][aja.sup.[contains]] ib; II.12.14. [hina.sup.[contains]]idhin; III.2.5. al-[ra.sup.[contains]]isiyah; II.6.7. [yu.sup.[subset]]ayyinani; III.6.5 darjat; III.2.5. al-[[blank].sup.[subset]]adudayn; III.8.6. mubghidan; III.8.15. madhmumah; III.19.7. al-inhitat; III.19.9. yusammunaha; IV.1.1. al-mutalab; IV.1.2. istadarra bihi [ma.sup.[subset]]a ha the four words ought to be written separately, with necessary spaces, IV.3.2. bayna; P. 305. [sa.sup.[subset]]ah.
Although the Arabic edition has left much to improve on, the translation has managed to provide the reader overall with an adequate English version, thanks to the editor's expertise in the history of astronomy and astrology, as well as his frequent cross references to Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos and Abu [Ma.sup.[subset]]shar's Introduction, which was translated into Latin in the sixteenth century and into English recently (E. J. Brill, 1994; Yano is a co-translator), as well as the Chinese translation of the present work, the Ming-yi tien-wen shu. In reviewing the book, I worked through the English translation against the Arabic text. When doubts or uncertainty arose, the Chinese translation was consulted. That the Chinese version has some authenticity should come as no surprise insofar as it was, we are told (pp. xviii-xix), the result of a close collaboration between the Chinese translators at the Ming court and a group of officers in the Ming national observatory who hailed from "the west," that is, either from Persia or the Arab lands. These "westerners," whose names were known to their Chinese counterparts as Hai-da-er (Haydar), A-da-wu-ding ([[blank].sup.[subset]][Ala.sup.[subset]] al-Din?), Ma-sha-yi-hei ([Mash.sup.[subset]]ikh), and Ma-ha-ma (Muhammad), were not only native speakers of the language of the text (Arabic or Persian), but also were "fluent in Chinese." They dictated the text, perhaps sentence by sentence, to their Chinese colleagues who then worked on rendering it into Chinese. (Cf. "Introduction" to the Ming-yi tienwen shu, p. 264. This introduction has not been translated into English.) It is perhaps most interesting that the Chinese version has, as the editor points out, "many remarkable differences from the Arabic manuscripts" he has used (cf. table 4, "The Collation of the Madkhal and the Ming-yi tien-wen shu," pp. xix-xx); and this prompted him to speculate that the Chinese translation was perhaps from a Persian version. This surely opens the way for a further investigation in which a carefu l collation of the Chinese translation against the Persian version, with all its recensions, is in order. But before this can be accomplished, I can say now that as far as the main structure and contents are concerned, the Chinese translation is, in my own reading, very close to the Arabic edition presented here, although we do not know which Arabic codex was the basis for the Persian translation, nor do we know which one was used at the Ming national observatory as the working text for the translation. The Chinese version is also more faithful to the original (whatever that would be), in many ways, than the English translation, which suffers from occasional misunderstandings of the text.
Following here I list examples from the English translation that I would have rendered differently.
I.Intro.1. and I.l.title. "the Undertaking of this Book" (xadr al-kitab), read "Introduction to (or Preface of) the Book."
I.1.2. "in conjecture, especially of the conditions which..." (fi al-hads bi-khawwas al-ahwal...); the khawass is not an adverbial usage as it was understood by the editor, but rather a noun (p1. of khassah); read "in conjecture of the particularities of the conditions which. . . ."
I.1.10. "... causes an epidemic. The illnesses, in some cases, can be prevented by resisting this rottenness. Or like the change of a dynasty..." (yuhdithu al-[waba.sup.[contains]] wa-al-[[blank].sup.[subset]]ilal fi [ba.sup.[subset]]d al-[anwa.sup.[subset]] al-[musta.sup.[subset]]iddah li-qubul dhalika al-fasad ka-taghyir dawlah...); the original sentence was mistakenly cut short to several clauses; read "causes an epidemic and illnesses in some circumstances that are vulnerable to this kind of rottenness, such as the change of a dynasty. . . ."
I.1.10. "the reason I want to publish the book," read "what we intend to say in the introduction to the Book." The term sadr (literally, "chest," namely, the ""head" or "preface" of a book) is constantly mistaken as isdar or sudur, "to publish"; cf. I.Intro. 1 above.
I.8.18. "was not said so"; the text has the opposite, "was said so" (hakadha qila).
1.15.9. "... belongs to Cancer and Jupiter, and Mercury is the participant for each one of the planets in this way"; a footnote states that "the meaning of this passage is not clear." Although I myself am not totally certain about its meaning, I offer a new rendering which is closer to the original syntax: "...belongs to Cancer, Jupiter, Mercury, and a participant (musharik) for each one of these planets in that direction (al-jihah)." The problem with the present translation is that the Arabic text has [[blank].sup.[subset]]atarid-wa-musharik, "Mercury and a participant," so there is no way to break it down to a new sentence "Mercury is...." To render aljihah as "direction" is to take into account the context, which is speaking of the direction of the rising and setting of planets.
I.16.3. "which is not discarded by investigators" (la yaliqu-bi-al-muhaqqiqin); the rendering of "not discarded" is strange (perhaps it was mistaken as la yulqa?). The phrase la yaliqu means "is not appropriate," thus "which is not correct in [the opinion of] the investigators."
I.18.6-7. The terms gharib, "alien," and gharbiyan, "western," in the two passages seem to be mixed up: whereas the text has gharbiyan the translation "alien," and vice versa.
I.20.11. "neighbors"; the text has al-ikhwan, "brothers."
I.22.4. "the first maqalah with this book," read "the first Part with this chapter." The term maqalah is rendered as "Part" while bab as "chapter" elsewhere in the translation (also cf. pp. viii, xvi). Also, the formulaic phrase of [nas.sup.[contains]]alu (s-[[blank].sup.[contains]-l in the edition; see discussion above) allah al-tawfiq wa-allah [a.sup.[subset]]lam, "We as God for [our] success and God knows best," is missing from the translation.
II.4.7 "These inform one of the matter (sic) of wars" (yas-tadillu [[blank].sup.[subset]]ala amr al-hurub), read "What indicate the matter of war [are]..."; the phrase amr + noun is an idiom that means "the matter of," "regarding...."
II.5.6. "pains"; the test has al-awram, "tumours." The phrase here "the tumours that move quickly" is perhaps referring to cancer.
II.5.6. "separates from the body of Saturn"; the term mujasadah constitutes a contrast (or parallel) to the muqabalah (wrongly given as muqabanah in the edition, "opposition") below, and it obviously is not speaking of "body" (jasad), but rather of some action such as "close contact," or "bodily contact."
II.7.10. "indicates waters," read "indicates the increase of the water. "The test has ziyadat al-miyah.
II.8.7. "is powerful"; the text has aqwahuma, "the more powerful among the two," namely, the Moon and the lord of a conjunction or an opposition. The meaning of the sentence is that one of the two is more powerful than the another if it (not "if they" as in the present translation) is in the ascendant, and so forth.
II.8.7. "increase" on line 6 of p. 101 ought to be "decrease" (naqs). Also cf. Chinese translation, which has jian, "decrease."
II.8.9. "it puts an end to the expensiveness" is a misunderstanding of the term tanaha fi, which means exactly the opposite, "it has reached the utmost extreme with regard to its expensiveness" ([ghala.sup.[contains]]ihi, which is misspelled in the edition as well).
II.9.4. "two sides" (nawahi), read "regions."
II.9.7. "Rumiyyz"; would it be "rumiya"?
II.9.9. "Mahan, the water of Kufa, the water of Basra," read "the Two Rivers, [namely,] the river of Kufa and the river of Basra."
II.9.12 "the cities of the Turks" (bilad al-Turk), read "the lands of the Turks."
II.9.32. "We have recorded...and an intelligent view"; the current reading is inaccurate, to say the least; some key words (nadhkuru, [[blank].sup.[subset]]ala annaha, and hatta idha) were misunderstood. Here is my rendering: "We will mention the natures of the planets individually concerning their effect; although some of [these] natures were mixed with each other, we are still able to distinguish among them with clear insight and an intelligent view."
II.9.35. "a dryness of the eyes" (jafaf al-[[blank].sup.[subset]]uyun) is rather strange; it is easy to discern the meaning of [[blank].sup.[subset]]uyun in this context, namely "springs."
II.9.36. "the discharge [less than]of menstruation[greater than] in women" (al-[tamattu.sup.[subset]] bi-al-[nisa.sup.[contains]]) is truly bizarre; I do not understand why the straight meaning of the verb [tamatta.sup.[subset]]a bi was not taken into account. It simply says "to enjoy [less than]the company of[greater than] women."
II.9.39. "gives harm according to the cardine" (yadurru bidhalika al-watd), read "gives harm to that cardine."
II.10.4. "air and rains"; the edition has [hawa.sup.[contains], "air," only.
II.11.5. "wealth"; the word al-[ghina.sup.[contains], "singing," is consistently mistaken as al-ghina, "wealth." The context is rather clear, "amusement, music, sex (al-nikah, rendered here as "marriage"), and enjoyment." The same error is found in III.8.10.
II.11.6. "their subjects, and weakness in their rulership"; the word al-[du.sup.[subset]][afa.sup.[contains]], a parallel to the preceding al-[ra.sup.[subset]]iyah, does not open a new clause as it was understood by the editor, and it does not mean "weakness" either; read "their subjects and the needy people in their kingdom (or domain)."
II.11.6. "slanders" (al-[sa.sup.[subset]]adat, meaning "happiness"); I do not have a clue as to the possible basis for such a rendering. Could it be a misprint?
II.11.7. "this book," read "this part of the book"; maqalah is translated as "Part" throughout the book. Cf. I.22.4. above.
II.11.8. "We carefully note" is a rather strange rendering of nuridu, "we want," or, in this context, "if we want."
II.11.10. "wrong" (zalum), read "tyrant"
II.12.14. "the ruler of the part in it"; the phrase [hina.sup.[contains]]idhin is misspelled in the edition, and the rendering "in it" ought to be, accordingly, "at the time."
II.12.18. The phrases awwal + noun, "the beginning of," and akhir + noun, "the end of, the last' were misunderstood by the editor; thus "another dynasty," read "the twilight (or the end) of the dynasty"; "the first dynasty is stronger than the second one," read "the beginning of the dynasty is stronger than the end of it."
II.12.22.note 22. "Third" ought to be "Second."
III.2.5. "the brain, heart, and chest"; the text says al-dimagh wa-la-kabd wa-al-qalb, namely, "the brain, liver, and heart."
III.2.6. "the breath flows in it"; it is al-ruh, "spirit," or "soul," that "flows in it" not breath (confused with al-rih?).
III.2.8. "moral" (adabiyan); given the context, a better rendering would be "cultured," or "intellectual." Cf. Chinese translation, which has you zhi-mou you cai-neng, "of intelligence and skills."
III.4.5. "abundance of milk and honey(?)"; I do not see the justification of the present reading and the speculative rendering; compared to the parallel phrases below, qillatihi Wa-[inqita.sup.[subset]]ihi (the scarcity of milk and its stoppage), the edition ought to be ghazarat al-laban wa-tibatihi, thus "abundance of good quality milk."
III.7.2. This passage is full of lapses: eye is an error for "ear" (al-[sam.sup.[subset]]); "the temple," is a misreading of al-[fu.sup.[contains]]ad, "the heart" (the term is misspelled in the edition, without the hamza, and was thus mistaken as al-fawd, "the temple"); "the Achilles tendon" is not what the text says, the text has al-[[blank].sup.[subset]]uruq, veins, instead; and the phrase "all the right limbs" should read "all the limbs of the right side."
III.8.4. "noble because of dignities" (mukriman lil-[masha.sup.[subset]] ikh), read "(he) honors (or respects) the dignities."
III.8.4. "peaceful" is an error for "rightly guided" (hadiyan).
III.8.8. "handsome, serious in his affairs is a misreading of the phrase jamil al-amr jiddan, "righteous in his affairs."
III.8.9. "victory" (al-ghalabah), read "control, conquest, ruling"; the context is al-ghalabah wa-al-[ri.sup.[contains]]asah, "ruling and leadership."
III.8.11. A long sentence (mahmud al-sirah...sahib siyasah) is missing from the translation, between "good in advice" and "If Jupiter...." Here is my translation: "praised for his deeds, of high morality, with good intuition, quick to succeed, pious, and a master of governing."
III.8.11. "thinking himself as wise when he is without intelligence"; the hal circumstantial clause wa-h-wa [[blank].sup.[subset]]adim al-[[blank].sup.[subset]]aql ought to be rendered as "though he is without intelligence."
III.8.13. "a master of intelligence" is an amusing rendering of fasid al-[[blank].sup.[subset]]aql, which, in fact, means "crazy, screwball, mentally retarded." The editor was perhaps thinking of sahib al-[[blank].sup.[subset]]aql?
III.8.14. "a corruptor (sic) of a governor" is strange; the word dabit simply means "a commander."
III.8.15. "helpful" (mutana [[blank].sup.[subset]]imman), read "one who leads a happy life."
III.8.15. "dull in masculinity"; the word al-dhikr, "reputation," was obviously confused with al-dhukur, "masculinity"; the phrase khamil al-dhikr means "unknown."
III.11.1. A clause "and the most powerful of them" is missing between "these indicators" and "which aspects..." on line 3.
III.12.3. "from the management of an estate" is a very ignorant rendering of a commonplace Arabic term madhahib al-[a.sup.[subset]] immah, namely "the schools of the imams," or "the sects of the religious teachers."
III.13.2. "peacemaking" (al-salah), read "righteousness" (mistaken as al-sulh, "truce"?)
III.13.3. The phrase al-baytar wa-al-hijamah, "veterinary medicine," at the end of the passage is missing from the translation.
III.14.3. This passage contains a number of errors resulting from a misreading of the preposition bi that is required by the verb tazawwaja. "Marries ... in his adolescence," read "marries ... a young girl"; "marries ... in her adolescence," read "marries... a young boy"; "he marries in his middle age or old age," read "he marries in his old age or [marries] an old woman"; "she marries in her middle age or in her old age," read "she marries in her old age or marries an old man."
III.16.4. A clause (wa-kadhalika...dunahu) at the end of the passage is missing from the translation.
III.20.7. "This is the product of six degrees by and twelve and one sixth"; What does this mean? Is this "the result of multiplying six degrees by twelve and one sixth"? (The text has madrub sitt darajat fi ithnay [[blank].sup.[subset]]ashar wa-sudsu.)
III.20.13. "We need to distinguish ..." is a continuation of the parallel structure "so that we may..." (hatta [nu.sup.[subset]] addia...wa-nastaqdia); read "and so that we may distinguish...."
III.20.14. "And the second [less than]place[greater than]... and the second sign... are the indicators of the second month"; I understand these to be the objects of the imperative [ij.sup.[subset]] al ("Make A and B the two indicators of the first month") above; so my rendering would be "And make the second [less than]place[greater than] ... and the second sign... the indicators of the second month."
IV.2.34. "definitely from the more suitable of the stars of combat" is a total misreading of la budda min islah (mistaken as aslah, which itself is by no means the correct form of the elative aslah) nujum al-qattal, namely "it is necessary to fix the stars of combat."
IV.2.36. "Advising a sick person" (wasiyat al-marid), read "The will of a sick person." Also cf. Chinese translation, which has yi-zhu, "will."
IV.2.44. "Promoting a needed person to government" is a total misreading of [raf.sup.[subset]] al-[hawa.sup.[contains]] ij ila al-wulat, namely, "Raising the intended issues to the governors." The word wulat (p1. of wali), "governors, rulers," was consistantly wrongly translated as "government" in this passage and elsewhere.
IV.2.45. "powerful from..." is a misreading of the comparative aqwa min, namely "more powerful than....
IV.3.1. This passage is thoroughly corrupt, with many incomplete, incomprehensible, or wrongly rendered sentences. It is rather a pity that the otherwise diligently executed English translation should wrap up in such a sloppy ending, a great irony wrung on the Arab ideal of misk al-khitam, "the concluding musk," or "the crowning touch" of a masterpiece. Here is my re-take on the entire passage:
Since we have collected in this book a sufficient amount of the fundamentals of the art of astrology and its branches, and we have pointed toward a way of managing and applying them as well as speaking about them with regard to whatever is besides them which will satisfy good disposition, intelligent ideas, and clear view, we intend [less than]now[greater than] to finish the discussion at this point.
There are also a few examples of inconsistency regarding transliteration: the t is often given as t ([qati.sup.[subset]], [qawati.sup.[subset]], [muti.sup.[subset]] ah); the name Kushyar is sometimes spelled Kusyar, sometimes Kushyar; the Persian title in the bibliography (p. xxvi, the article by M. Bagheri) ought to be "Tarjama-yi Chini-yi Kitab-i Ahkam-i Nujum-i Kushyar-i Gilani." Among the English typos, noteworthy is p. xix, table 7, "Scorpius 2," for "Scorpius 20."
To sum up, the book under review presents a showcase, so to speak, of recent Japanese scholarship on the Islamic Arabo-Persian tradition of astronomy and astrology and its influence eastward. Having made one of the key texts, which has never been studied outside Japan, accessible to scholars and interested readers worldwide, the editor is to be commended for undertaking such a formidable task, one that not only commands daunting linguistic preparation but also requires vast knowledge in mathematics, astronomy, and astrology. The book in its current less than perfect shape, however, calls attention to the need for teamwork among historians of science and their philologist colleagues in projects like this. In my judgment, many of the textual flaws exhibited in this book, both in the Arabic edition and the English translation, could have easily been avoided had an experienced Arabist been consulted; they did not occur in the more troublesome and thorny passages heavy with mathematic tabulation and rare technica l terms, where lies the editor's strength, but rather in the less challenging areas that have largely to do with the very basics of Arabic vocabulary, idioms, and orthography. This is truly regrettable.
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|Publication:||The Journal of the American Oriental Society|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2000|
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