Abu Bishr Matta ibn Yunus

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Abū Bishr Mattā b. Yūnus al-Qunnāʾī (Arabic: ﺍﺑﻮ ﺑﺸﺮ ﻣﺘﺎ ﺑﻦ ﻳﻮﻧﺲ ﺍﻟﻘﻨﺎﻱء‎; c. 870-20 June 940) was a Christian philosopher who played an important role in the transmission of the works of Aristotle to the Islamic world. He is famous for founding the Baghdad School of Aristotelian Philosophers.


He was trained at the dayr Qunnā monastery (hence the name "al-Qunnāʾī"), a Nestorian institution not far from Baghdad, which supplied the government of the Abbasid Caliphate with many high ranking officials. He then taught in Baghdad where the Muslim philosopher Al Farabi and the Syriac Christian philosopher Yahya ibn Adi were among his pupils.


He is best known for his Arabic translations of Aristotle and of his Greek commentators. Most of these translations were made from Syriac to Arabic but the famous Arabic bibliography Kitab-al-Fihrist mentions a translation of Aristotle's Sophistical Refutations from Greek to Syriac.

These Arabic translations of the Aristotelian corpus were continued by his students (especially Yahya ibn Adi) and were used by later Arabic philosophers such as Avicenna.

Abu Bishr wrote several commentaries of his own on Aristotle but they are all lost.


Aristotelian Corpus[edit]

Other Translations[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • H. Vivian B. Brown, « Avicenna and the Christian Philosophers in Baghdad », in S. M. Stern et al., Islamic Philosophy and the Classical Tradition, Oxford, 1972.
  • (French) Henri Hugonnard-Roche, « L'intermédiaire syriaque dans la transmission de la philosophie grecque à l'arabe », Arabic Sciences and Philosophy : A Historical Journal 2 (1), 1991, Cambridge University, pp. 187-209.