The Enigma of Arabic and Hebrew Palladius

Peter Pormann, Samuel Barry, Nicola Carpentieri, Elaine Van Dalen, Kamran Karimullah, Taro Mimura, Hammood Obald

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This article reassesses the attribution of the Aphorisms commentary preserved in the Haddad Memorial Library (MS Ḥaddād) to Palladius. Where the evidence for the commentary in Greek sources is virtually non-existent, Arabic testimonia are more numerous. We discuss Arabic fragments in Muḥammad ibn Zakarīyā al-Rāzī’s Comprehensive Book (al-Kitāb al-Ḥāwī) and Arabic commentaries on the Hippocratic Aphorisms. These fragments demonstrate that Palladius wrote a commentary on the Aphorisms. However, analysis of MS Ḥaddād reveals that the commentary it preserves cannot be a translation of Palladius’ Greek text. Philological evidence occasions the conclusion that MS Ḥaddād contains an anonymous Arabic Aphorisms commentary written in the early ʿAbbāsid period. We discuss two Hebrew manuscripts that purport to be translations of Palladius’ commentary. Though more work on the Hebrew Palladius is needed, it is clear that the Hebrew commentaries are different translations of the anonymous Aphorisms commentary in MS Ḥaddād.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-310
JournalIntellectual History of the Islamicate World
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Palladius
  • Hippocrates
  • Aphorisms
  • Arabic Commentaries on the Hippocratic Aphorisms


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