Arabica Veritas

This series is published jointly by the University of Córdoba Near Eastern Research Unit (CNERU) and the Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe’ (CHASE) at the Warburg Institute, represented by Professors Pedro Mantas-España and Charles Burnett respectively. Arabica Veritas volumes focus on the philosophical, scientific and cultural exchange which compelled medieval Latin scholars to investigate works written or transmitted in Arabic, through translation and interpretation.

The setting of the phrase ‘Arabica veritas’ is Antioch, the seat of a Christian patriarchate, and the meeting point of Greek Orthodox, Arabic Melchite and Jacobite Christians, Muslims, Jews and Franks. The expression is used by Stephen ‘the Philosopher’, who originated from Pisa and was probably the treasurer of the Benedictine monastery of St Paul in Antioch. It appears in his translation into Latin of a compendious work on medicine by ‘Alī ibn al-‘Abbās al-Majūsī (‘the Zoroastrian’). Stephen is exhorting his readers to consult the ‘Arabic truth’ if he or she has any doubts about the veracity of the translation that he has provided. The appeal to the ‘Arabica veritas’ epitomises the desire for understanding other languages and cultures in order to enrich the body and the soul. 


Arabica Veritas, vol. 1, Mapping Knowledge. Cross-Pollination in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, ed. Charles Burnett and Pedro Mantas-España. Published 2014. £60. ISBN: 978-84-616-9744-1 

The first volume of the Arabica Veritas series contains sixteen papers divided between two sections, dealing respectively with beliefs and practices characterising the Late Antique period before the emergence of the new order of Islam in the Near East, and with the cultural issues within Islam and in Christian Europe, especially after the impact of Arabic writings. Most of the papers edited here were first presented at the International Seminar on Cultural Transfer of Knowledge in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, held in November 2012 at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Córdoba, as an opening academic activity of the Córdoba Near Eastern Research Unit (CNERU).

Review of this volume: by Myriam Wissa, in Review of Rabbinic Judaism, vol. 19, issue 2 (2016), pp. 293-297                 




Arabica Veritas, vol. 2, Ex Oriente lux. Translating Words, Scripts and Styles in Medieval Mediterranean Society, ed. Charles Burnett and Pedro Mantas-España. Published 2016. £60. ISBN: 978-84-9927-267-2

Ex Oriente lux – the Sun rises in the East and pours its light over the world; and the result, in Latin usage, is ‘lumen’ – the luminescence that the whole area lit by the lux is suffused with.

Most of the papers in this volume were first presented at the conference Ex Oriente lux - The Transfer of Scientific Knowledge from the Near East to Europe, held at the University of Córdoba in 2015 and organised jointly by the Córdoba Near Eastern Research Unit (CNERU) and the Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe (CHASE) at the Warburg Institute. Both centres are devoted to showing how Europe was ‘lit up’ from the Orient (Ex Oriente lux), and the conference was the first of a series devoted to the interests and character of the Spanish scholar John of Seville and Limia (fl. 1120s–53), who translated numerous astrological/astronomical, philosophical and medical works into Castilian from Arabic.

A review of this volume by Jules Janssens will be published in a future issue of the Journal of Transcultural Medieval Studies