Shared Cultures or Parallel Universes? The Translation Programs of Constantinus Africanus and "Doeg ha-Edomi"


Thursday, October 31, 2013, 6:00pm


Room 114, Barker Center

Monica Green (Arizona State University) Two translators, each working on his own, performed comparable feats at the end of the 11th and the end of the 12th century, respectively. Constantinus Africanus, coming from what is now Tunisia to southern Italy, translated at least two dozen Arabic medical works into Latin, for the first time making the medical thinking of the Islamicate world available in Latin. Then, about 100 years later, an anonymous Jewish convert whom we know only by his self-imposed epithet, “Doeg ha-Edomi,” did much the same thing, translating two dozen Latin medical works (some by Constantinus himself) into Hebrew. Does the work of Constantinus and “Doeg” mean that we can now talk about a shared medical culture among Muslims, Christians, and Jews by the end of the 12th century? Or are these still three separate cultures, merely existing in parallel universes? Co-sponsored by the Science, Religion, and Culture seminar