Abū Zayd Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq al-‘Ibādī: A Physician Translator Par Excellence

Husain F Nagamia, Nasir Puyan


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5915/40-1-5279

Abū Zayd Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq al-'Ibādī, a physician and "Translator Par Excellence," lived in the early 9th century CE and 2nd century AH (after Hijra), during the Abbasid Caliphate. He was a product of the crucible of early Islamic civilization that fostered advancement of art, science, medicine, and philosophy like no other civilization before it. The practice of medicine that evolved during this period came to be termed "Islamic medicine." Because of his genius, he was able to convert nearly all accessible and extant Greek medical, philosophical and
scientific works into Syriac and Arabic. Since Syriac was later to die off as a language, his translations into Arabic were the ones that have been preserved over the centuries. These were responsible not only for influencing early Islamic medicine, but through later translations into Hebrew, Latin, and other European languages, they were to influence the art, science, and teaching of medicine in the East and West for centuries to come.

In this paper we will endeavor to examine in some depth his life, his works, his achievements, and the impact that his contributions made to the practice of medicine during the Islamic civilization and far beyond.


Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq; Medical translation; Islamic medicine; History of medicine

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5915/40-1-5279

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