Jaaphar Ebn Thophail

, an Arabian philosopher, was contemporary with Averroes, who died about the year 1198. He composed a philosophical romance, entitled “The Life or History of Hai Ebn Yokdhan” in which he endeavours to demonstrate, how a man may, by the mere light of nature, attain the knowledge of things natural and supernatural; particularly the knowledge of God, and the affairs of another life. He lived at Seville in Spain, as appears from one or two passages in this work, and was famous for his medical skill, and for his knowledge of the Peripatetic philosophy, of which this work exhibits a favourable specimen, as it was taught among the Saracens. He wrote some other pieces, which are not come to our hands; but, that this was well received in the East, appears from its having been translated by R. Moses Narbonensis, into Hebrew, and illustrated with a large commentary. It was published in 1671, with an accurate Latin version, by Mr. Edward Pococke, son of Dr. Pococke, professor of the Oriental languages at Oxford; and, in 1708, an English translation of it from the Arabic was given by Simon Ockley, soon after Arabic professor at Cambridge. It is written with great elegance of language, and vigour of imagination. 1