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The Shifā' in India I: Reflections on the Evidence of the Manuscripts

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This brief article has two aims: (1) to present a description and comprehensive enumeration of the manuscripts of Avicenna's Shifā' that had an affiliation with India; and (2) to draw some conclusions about the legacy of this text in India on the basis of the evidence of the manuscripts. The first task is accomplished in section I and the second in section II. In summary, the evidence suggests that it was mainly the Logic and Physics sections of the work that interested Indian scholars, who may well have conceived of the two parts as philosophically complementary. The work seems to have been of interest among Shī 'ī north Indian scholars of the late seventeenth century, i.e. prior to the emergence of the Nizāmī curriculum, though interest in it among the nineteenth century Khayrābādī scholars is also attested. Given that marginal notes are limited and, where available, they are generally of a lexicographical nature in the hand of the scribe of the matn, it is likely that the work was used mainly as a supplement to other texts and was not of interest in itself.


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