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AVENDAUTH (Avendeuth, Avendeath ; mid-12th century), translator active in Toledo, Spain, in 1135–53. His activities took place mainly under the patronage of Archbishop Raimundode la Sauvetat. Later generations thought him to have been a convert to Christianity, and he was identified by some scholars with John Hispanus, a translator of considerable importance. It has been suggested that not only was he a loyal Jew throughout his life, but, on the basis of an analysis of the introduction to the De Anima, that he is also probably the well-known philosopher and historian Abraham *Ibn Daud (c. 1110–80). A thorough examination and investigation by the French scholar Mme. M.T. d'Alverny of the manuscripts containing the rendering into Latin of *Avicenna's De Anima, and of the dedicatory preface found in many of them, made her realize that Jourdain, the first bibliographer to call attention to this work, had erroneously supplied the translator with the first name John; in so doing, he had prepared the ground for the alleged change of faith and the assumptions and conjectures of subsequent scholars. The correct reading of the dedication is reverendissimo Toletanae episcopo Johanni, not Johannes. The work, it follows, was dedicated to John, archbishop of Toledo (1151–66), and not to his predecessor Raymond, as had been thought from the time of Jourdain. In this introduction, and in others, the translator is identified as "Avendehut Israelita philosophus," or simply "Avendeuth Israelita"; the name John does not appear in any of them. Besides the introduction to the De Anima, the first chapters of Avicenna's Shifaʾ in Latin begin with Verba Avendeuth Israelitae; a small part of the work, bearing the title De Universalibus, also has in the manuscripts the name Avendeuth or Avendeath. He translated philosophical and scientific works. In his work, Avendauth collaborated with Dominicus Gundisalvi. It is doubtful that the latter, a well-known scholar who was instrumental in the transmission of Arabic culture to Europe, knew the original language of the works that he rendered into Latin. Painstaking study of the style and terminology are needed before a conclusive statement can be made; it may, however, be that Ibn Daud was the intermediary between the Arabic and the Latin version. He was the author of Epitome totius astrologie.


Ibn Daud, Tradition, xxvi–xxvii; M. Steinschneider, Die Hebraeischen Uebersetzungen des Mittelalters (1893), 20–23; D'Alvery, in: Homenaje a Millás-Vallicrosa, 1 (1954), 19–43. add. bibliography: D. Romano, La ciencia hispanojudía (1992), 113–22; idem, in: H. Beinart (ed.), The Sephardi Legacy, 1 (1992), 252.

[Abraham Solomon Halkin]

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