Averroy Tangle

  In the Middle Ages, philosophers in Islam were keen to translate ancient Greek philosophical classics. Among them, Plato’s philosophy was the most respected, and Averroi, who was also a philosopher, a doctor and a jurist (1126–11) Ninety-eight) seems to want to find another way, except for “Politics” (because he has never seen this book), almost all of Aristotle’s works have been translated and sparsed. As Averroy did not understand ancient Greek, he could only translate it based on the Latin translation of Byzantine scholars. Facing the thoughts of this great ancient Greek philosopher who was fourteen centuries away from him, Averroy was puzzled by two inaccurate words when he translated his “Poetics”: tragoedia (tragedy) and comoedia. (comedy). Although Arab philosophers are not ignorant of Aristotle’s philosophy, from the only literature, no one in the Islamic world can really figure out the meaning of these two words. Borges immediately followed Averroy’s confusion and helplessness when faced with these two Latin words, trying to figure out the psychology of the Arab philosopher at the time: when Averroy was struggling, he put aside Under Lingbi, I had an unsure idea—maybe the corresponding translation method was at my fingertips. Next, Averroy’s leisurely and lighthearted mentality was interrupted twice. For the first time, the three children downstairs distracted him with quarrels in vulgar dialects. It turned out that it was a child pretending to be the steeple of a temple, and another child standing on his shoulders, pretending to be a timekeeper for prayer. And the third child acts as a believer and crawls on the ground. The reason for the quarrel is also very simple: everyone wants to be the high-ranking teller. For the second time, Aveiroi remembered a traveler friend told him about an experience in Guangzhou, China, but it didn’t sound like it was true: a group of people described a piece of history on the platform, among them Some beat the drums, some play the piano, and most people wear masks to pray, sing and talk. Sometimes they seem to be locked up in a cell, sometimes they are riding a horse, sometimes they are fighting, and sometimes they are dead. , Got up again. However, there were no cells, no horses, and no weapons on the platform.
  After almost a night of thinking, Averroy wrote his own translation: “Aristotle called the works of praise as tragedies, and the works of satire and condemnation as comedies. The chapters of the “Quran” and the monastery There are wonderful tragedies and comedies everywhere in the sacred objects.” (p. 114) [It is not certain that Averroi referred to Matta’s Arabic translation when translating it from The Syriac translation of “Poetry”]
  Facing such an interpretation of Aveiroi, even a reader who is not very proficient in ancient Greek drama will have the same feeling as Borges: it is a “failure process” ( Page 114). Moreover, the French 19th-century positivist historian Ernest Renan has already bluntly criticized: “Averroy’s mistakes in ancient Greek literature are simply ridiculous.” [Averroy And Aveiroism (1852), Paris, Calman-Lévy, 1949, p.17] However, we cannot help asking, is Averroy’s mistakes really useless? If this error is only due to the limitations of Averroi’s own cultural environment, when we are in the same situation as Averroi, can we do better than him?
  In fact, Borges showed at the end of the novel in an anti-historical attitude that he knew very little about Averroes, and he was no better than Averroes: “To the last page. At that time, I feel that what I write symbolizes the person who is writing, that is, myself; in order to write a story, I must be that person; in order to be that person, I must write a story again, and so on.” (page 115) It seems that Borges himself has fallen into a kind of maze of writing, but he reveals a kind of unsolvable cycle that translators often fall into: when translating the original work, the translator must first understand the original work, but at the same time understanding the original work The translator is already translating. Similarly, when deciding what to translate, a good translator should often have a certain understanding of the text to be translated in advance, and should even reconstruct the internal consistency of the text. Maybe Averroy didn’t know much about the singers, actors, or the role of theater in Athens life, and maybe even the word “drama, theater” (Ancient Greek: theatron). Do more research, but this does not mean that he is ignorant of the “scene” in this representative mode. So how should Averroes make the Arab world meet ancient Greek culture?
  In this regard, the German classicist and translator Schleiermacher in the nineteenth century proposed two translation methods: one is to adapt the reader to the author, and the translator’s translation should be as close to the original text and its style as possible to allow the reader Really feel that what you are reading is a foreign language; the other way is to allow the author to adapt to the reader, so that the translator’s translation must be closer to the reader’s language, making the reader “like” reading the work in his native language same. However, as a translator of Plato’s dialogues, Schleiermacher did not want to take care of the feelings of German readers. He advocated that readers should actively accept Plato’s words, that is to say, the translation should show a kind of reader “as if” reading ancient The Greek language has the same effect. At that time, the German Romantics mostly followed this principle in the translation of classics, such as Sophocles’ Antigone translated by Holderlin.
  Although he did not propose a translation method similar to Schleiermacher, Borges, who is proficient in multiple languages, still understands the problem faced by translators, that is, how to make the author and the reader better meet. Averroi’s real entanglement is not that these two Latin words derived from ancient Greek culture cannot correspond to the words in Arabic, so that they become “untranslatable” (press: the solution to “untranslatable”, in the present Often the original words are retained and footnotes are attached for detailed explanations, such as “logos” in the Chinese context, “Dao” (道) in the Spanish context], but how to solve the Byzantine culture The tension between the original meaning of the following words and the Arab world’s acceptance of this original meaning. In the novel, Borges presents this kind of tension by describing what Averroy saw and thought when the translation was interrupted. When Averroi saw children playing dress-up games, he easily recognized that this was a scene in the daily religious life of Islam, but the Arab philosophers did not attach such “imitation” to ancient Greece. Drama, because such a simple re-presentation is neither performing a performance nor embodies the profound meaning; similarly, in the second interruption, the performance on the platform mentioned by the traveler can almost be regarded as It’s a kind of drama, but people in the Arab world ignore it and think it’s just a bunch of lunatics. This also means that even if Averroj can tell the true meaning of ancient Greek tragedies and comedies, the believers who are familiar with the “Quran” still dismiss it, because in their opinion: “What a complicated matter, One person can say clearly,…this is the advantage of Arabic.”