Warburg Institute Studies and Texts

            2012. Medieval Arabic Thought: Essays in Honour of Fritz Zimmermann    2005. Azariah de’ Rossi’s Observations on the Syriac New Testament    2004. Al-Qabīṣī (Alcabitius): The Introduction to Astrology    2000. Avicenna’s De anima in the Latin West

Publications in this series since 2000 (click or hover over cover images for further information and links to descriptions on this page)
—alternatively: search all Warburg Institute publications

Warburg Institute Studies and Texts is the successor to Studies of the Warburg Institute and Warburg Institute Surveys and Texts. It is a peer-reviewed series which publishes the original research of scholars associated with the Warburg Institute, in the fields of cultural history, art history and history of ideas. The series includes: single-authored monographs; critical editions of unpublished texts, with English translations and notes or commentaries; and collections of essays which have not originated in colloquia.


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7. The Secret of Secrets: The East Slavic Version. Introduction, Text, Annotated Translation, and Slavic Index, by W. F. Ryan and Moshe Taube. Published December 2019.
Price £52.65; revised US edition $69.00. ISBN: 9781908590732 

The original Arabic Secret of Secrets was probably compiled from multiple sources, and dates from about the tenth century. It purports to be the advice of Aristotle to his pupil Alexander the Great on all the knowledge - political, ethical, military, medical, and occult - needed by a great king. It was translated into Latin, Hebrew, and many European languages. It has been described as one of the most popular books of the Middle Ages. The Hebrew version was translated into a variety of East Slavic, probably in Kiev before 1483. This idiosyncratic version contains major interpolations: a physiognomy by Razes and treatises on poison, sex, and asthma by Maimonides. It is known to have been in the libraries of at least two tsars and two patriarchs in the 16th and 17th centuries. This annotated edition contains a historical introduction, the text, manuscript variants, an analytical glossary, and an English translation.

• Table of Contents

• Review by Robert Romanchuk and Matthew Goff, in Harvard Ukrainian Studies, 37, no. 1-2, 2020, pp. 213-223 (together with The Logika of the Judaizers by Moshe Taube)
• Review by Susana Torres Prieto in Byzantinoslavica - Revue internationale des Etudes Byzantines, LXXVII, no. 1-2, 2019, Comptes rendus, pp. 317–319


6. Shaping Knowledge: The Transmission of the Liber Floridus, by Hanna Vorholt. Published November 2017. Price £55. ISBN: 9781908590725

The encyclopedic compilation Liber Floridus, created by the Flemish canon Lambert of Saint-Omer in the early twelfth century, survives not only in the form of his famous autograph, but also in a considerable number of later manuscripts which transformed the knowledge assembled by him and which became starting points for new appraisals of their texts and images. Shaping Knowledge examines the processes which determined this transfer over the centuries and evaluates the specific achievements of the different generations of scribes and illuminators. Taking account of the full range of manuscripts which transmit material from the Liber Floridus and focusing in more detail on three of them – now in the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, in the Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden and in the Abdijarchief of Tongerlo – it shows that the makers of these manuscripts did not merely select and copy material from the Liber Floridus, but also organized images and texts in new ways, sought out different exemplars for them and embarked on compilatory activities of their own. These relationships at the textual, visual and conceptual levels are lenses through which we can observe the networks subsisting among the manuscripts linked to the Liber Floridus and the much broader group of encyclopedic compilations to which they belong. Sixteen colour plates and one hundred black-and-white figures document the role of the visual and material dimensions of the manuscripts in the processes of transmission. 

Reviews of this volume
• Speculum, vol. 95/2 (April 2020), review by Irene O’Daly, pp. 625-627 
• Médiévales, vol. 77, automne 2019, review (with A. Derolez, The Making and Meaning of the Liber Floridus), by Nathalie Bouloux, pp. 188-192 
• Medium Ævum, vol. 88, no. 1 (2019), review by Jeffrey F. Hamburger, pp. 151-153 
• The Library, volume 19, issue 4, December 2018, review by Megan McNamee, pp. 506–508 

5. Petrarch’s Famous Men in the Early Renaissance: The Illuminated Copies of Felice Feliciano’s Edition, by Lilian Armstrong. Published 2016. Price £45. ISBN: 978–1–908590–70–1

Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca, 1304-1374) worked over many years on his long historical text about the Lives of ancient Roman military heroes, De viris illustribus (On Famous Men). Left unfinished at his death, the text was completed by 1379 by Petrarch’s colleague, Lombardo della Seta. Within a decade, De viris illustribus was translated into Italian; and in1476 the Libro degli uomini famosi was printed in Poiano outside of Verona by the eccentric humanist and scribe, Felice Feliciano (1433–1479/1480). The edition includes a peculiar feature: preceding each of the Lives is a page on which is printed an interlace woodcut border within which, however, no image appears.

The present book surveys the hand-illumination of twenty surviving copies of Felice’s edition in order to investigate: the Renaissance fascination with the classical past; the artistic traditions of representing Uomini famosi; the technical problems of illustrating books with woodcuts; and the fortuna of the 1476 edition. Two copies contain sequences of heroes painted within the woodcut borders; these heroes provide evidence for reconstructing the appearance of the ‘lost’ frescoes of famous men painted at the end of Petrarch’s lifetime in the Carrara palace in Padua. The hand-illumination of other copies can be assigned to miniaturists working in Venice, Verona, Ferrara, Florence, Rome and elsewhere, suggesting Felice Feliciano’s wide-reaching efforts to market the volume. The importance of studying copy-specific features in Renaissance printed books is further documented by the 32 colour plates and over 90 black-and-white figures.

Reviews of this volume
La Bibliofilìa, vol. CXXI (Jan.-Apr. 2019), review by Edoardo Barbieri, p. 182
Renaissance Quarterly, vol. LXXI.1 (Spring 2018), review by Simona Cohen, pp. 380-382
• Rivista di storia della miniatura, 21 (2017), review by Giuseppa Zanichelli, pp. 179-80 


4. Medieval Arabic Thought: Essays in Honour of Fritz Zimmermann, ed. Rotraud Hansberger, M. Afifi al-Akiti and Charles Burnett. Published 2012. Price £35.00. ISBN: 9781 908590 718

This book contains a collection of articles on medieval Arabic thought, dedicated to Fritz Zimmermann, who taught the subject in the Oriental Institute of Oxford University until his retirement, written by his colleagues, students and friends. The articles range from the transmission of medical and philosophical texts from Greek into Syriac and Arabic, relations between Buddhist doctrine and Islamic thought and between Muslim renunciants and Christian monks, and Arabic philosophical terminology, to internal developments in Arab thought from the eighth through to the thirteenth century. The book includes editions of hitherto unpublished Syriac and Arabic texts, tabular comparisons of Greek, Syriac, Arabic and Latin versions of certain passages, and analyses of several philosophical and theological traditions. 




3. Azariah de’ Rossi’s Observations on the Syriac New Testament: A Critique of the Vulgate by a Sixteenth- Century Jew, by Joanna Weinberg. Published 2005. Price now £10.00. ISBN: 978-085481-133-5 

Shortly before his death in 1577, the Mantuan Jewish scholar Azariah de’ Rossi wrote a challenging and provocative treatise in Italian. Addressing a Christian readership at a time when the authenticity and authority of the Vulgate had been called into question, de’ Rossi presented critical readings of specific verses and phrases in the New Testament, particularly the Aramaisms, clarifying and emending the Vulgate on the basis of the ancient Syriac version which had recently been printed (Vienna, 1555). Few Western scholars had any familiarity with Syriac; this learned Jew’s contribution to New Testament studies thus appears all the more remarkable. De’ Rossi’s work was commissioned by Giacomo Boncompagni, the son of Pope Gregory XIII, and dedicated to the cardinal Santa Severina, Giulio Antonio Sanotoro.

This first critical edition of the two autograph manuscripts of the work includes an English translation and annotations.


2. Al-Qabīṣī (Alcabitius): The Introduction to Astrology. Charles Burnett, Keiji Yamamoto and Michio Yano, editions of the Arabic and Latin texts and an English translation of the work by 'Abd al-'Azīz ibn 'Uthmān, al Kabīsī. Published 2004

• Now out of print 







1. Avicenna’s De anima in the Latin West. The Formation of a Peripatetic Philosophy of the Soul 1160-1300. By Dag Nikolaus Hasse. Published 2000. Price £32.00. ISBN: 978-085481-125-0 

In the 12th century the "Book of the Soul" by the philosopher Avicenna was translated from Arabic into Latin. It had an immense success among scholastic writers and deeply influenced the structure and content of many psychological works of the Middle Ages. The reception of Avicenna's book is the story of cultural contact at an impressively high intellectual level. The present volume investigates this successful reception using two approaches. The first is chronological, tracing the stages by which Avicenna's work was accepted and adapted by Latin scholars. The second is doctrinal, analyzing the fortunes of key doctrines. The sense of the original Arabic text of Avicenna is kept in mind throughout and the degree to which his original Latin interpreters succeeded in conveying it is evaluated.