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The Healing art and the Limits of Change in nature according to Ibn Hazm

  • A. S. Tritton

Extract

The British Museum manuscript Or. 843 is the second part of Kitāb al-fisal fī 'l-milal by Ibn Hazm and includes several additions to the printed text. The longest has two sections and begins on folio 142 r., 1. 7. The first is quite new, is on medicine, and is purely theological, a defence of the healing art because the results are foreordained by God like all else. The second, beginning on folio 143 r., 1. 7, is longer than the print, adds kīmiyā to the title, and goes more into detail. The wording of the two texts differs widely. The world is a sphere (kura) of one substance which remains unchanged though its qualities change. Chickens eat dung, an unclean thing, but this feeds plants and trees, and the strictest Muslim has no scruple in eating corn, fowls, and fruit. To argue from analogy is wrong except within narrow limits. The sorcerer's claim to be able to turn a man into a donkey is absurd. Only angels and jinn can change their shapes.

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The Healing art and the Limits of Change in nature according to Ibn Hazm

  • A. S. Tritton

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