Among the oldest manuscripts of this text in existence

[Ibn Kammuna, Jewish physician and philosopher (1215-1284)]. Sharh al-talwiyyât al-lawhiyya wa al-'ursîyya li-l-Suhrawardî [Explanations and Commentary on Sohrawardi's Allusions].

Mamluk Syria, [1316 CE =] 716 H.

4to (175 x 244 mm). Arabic manuscript on paper. 2 volumes. 117 pp. 68 pp. 27 lines to the page, written in dark brown ink on buff paper, catchwords in red, some diagrams, dated at the end of each book. Modern brown morocco bindings with fore-edge flap.


Rare and early manuscript of Ibn Kammuna's principal work, this copy written less than fifty years after the commentary, which made its author famous, was completed in 1268.

Ibn Kammuna, who lived in Baghdad in the 13th century, is considered one of the most important Jewish philosophers after his Andalusian colleague Moses ibn Maimon (Maimonides, d. 1204) and is known to have corresponded with the illustrious polymath Nasir al-Din Tusi (d. 1274). Ibn Kammuna experienced the overthrow of Abbasid power by Mongol troops in 1258. Following this event, many faiths cohabited in Baghdad until the new power converted to Islam. It is at the heart of this multi-confessional society that Ibn Kammûna wrote most of his work.

The "Sharh al-Talwiyyat" constitutes one of the major contributions to the work of Sohrawardi (d. 1191), who had died in Aleppo less than eighty years before the commentary was written. Several texts suggest that Ibn Kammuna would have stayed in Aleppo, around 1250, to collect direct sources from Sohrawardi's students. Thus, Ibn Kammuna played a key role in the dissemination of the thought of Sohrawardi and the illuminative philosophy ("Ishrâq" in Arabic) that he initiated (cf. Henri Corbin, 1945).

Since Corbin's work, the "Sharh al-Talwiyyat" has been the subject of numerous studies seeking to establish a reference edition. Three relevant editions exist: those of S. Mûsawî (2003), H. Ziai and A. Alwishah (2002, dealing only with parts I and II), and of N. Habibi (2009). The three parts of this work are devoted respectively to logic, the natural sciences, and theology. According to the census established by John Lameer, there are only about fifty copies of "Sharh al-Talwihat" by Ibn Kammuna, taking into account the complete and incomplete copies. Our manuscript, dating from 716 H (1316 CE), is said to be the tenth oldest known copy of Ibn Kammuna's Commentary on the work of Suhrawardi. This set of two volumes comprises parts 2 and 3, while the volume on logic is not present.

Ibn Kammuna wrote extensively on theology, philosophy and psychology. His work is based on the knowledge of ancient Greek philosophers, on the study of the writings of Avicenna and Sohrawardi, as well as on the works of Judah Halevi and Maimonides. He is notably the author of "Tanqih al-abhath lil-milal al-thalath" (Critical Study on the Three Monotheistic Religions), and of "al-Jadid fi'l-hikma" (The New Wisdom), a discussion of the philosophy and science of the 13th century. His most significant contribution to the history of philosophy remains his present detailed commentary on Sohrawardi's "Al-Talwihat".


Reza Pourjavadi & Sabine Schmidtke, A Jewish Philosopher of Baghdad. 'Izz al-Dawla Ibn Kammuna (d. 683/1284) and His Writings. Leiden and Boston, 2006 (= Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Science. Texts and Studies, vol. 65). Joep Lameer, "Ibn Kammuna's Commentary on Suhrawardi's Talwihat. Three Editions", Journal of Islamic Manuscripts 3 (2012), pp. 154-184.