Jābir ibn Hayyān1 still remains one of the most enigmatic figures of the history of science. To begin with, there are doubts as to his very historical existence. But then, even if this question is glossed over, the enigma is hardly simplified for it is not at all clear if a historical Jābir is the real author of that extensive corpus which passes under his name. Thus, the interlocked questions of the authorship and dating of this labyrinth of alchemical writings have remained a matter of seriously conflicting opinions and speculations. The task of solving what came to be known as the “Jābir-Problem”2 is further complicated by the remarkable paucity of critical studies of Jabirian treatises. As a result, much darkness looms over the actual substance and range of these writings and their historical and philosophical sources. In fact, since Paul Kraus’ magnum opus, completed by 1943, these questions have largely been abandoned in a mist of controversy.3
KeywordsGreat Book Critical Edition Methodological Implication Bibliographic Notice Arabic Text
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