Esad Efendi (Yanyevî Esad Hoca)

Müderris, Felsefeci, Şair

Diğer İsimler
Mehmed Esad b. Ali b. Osman el-Yanyevî, Yanyevî

Philosopher, professor, poet (B.?, Yanya [now within the borders of Greece] – D. 1730, Istanbul). His full name is Mehmed Esad b. Ali b. Osman el-Yanyevî. He lived during the Tulip Period. He received his first education in Yanya where he was born. Among his teachers were the Mufti of Yanya Mehmed Efendi and the most famous scholar of his time İbrahim Efendi. After completing his first education he came to Istanbul (1686-87) and started madrasah education. During his education in Istanbul he studied rational and narrative (religious) sciences with numerous scholars. He learnt geometry from Müneccimbaşı Mehmed Efendi; calculus, algebra and astronomy from the Mufti of Tekirdağ Mustafa Efendi; sciences such as philosophy and kalam (explanation of faith issues using rational evidences) from Akşehirlizade İbrahim Efendi, Persian from Molla Müncil.

After completing his education he received private lessons from Şeyhülislam Ebu Saidzade Feyzullah Efendi (1691). He won the exam organized and became a professor. Working in various madrasahs he promoted to the highest rank of professorship, high professor. He realized his most important scientific researches in this period. On the other hand he was assigned to Magistracy of Galata, which was an important position in terms of Ottoman hierarchy (1725-26). He joined council meetings and served in Translation Institute, which was established in the Tulip Period. He was assigned as an editor to the state publishing house, which had recently been established, and as a librarian by Sultan Ahmed III to the palace library established in Topkapı Palace.

Esad Efendi was known with his competence in religious and rational sciences. Aside from his knowledge and political identity, he continued his life as a religious person and member of Naqshi order. A short time after Tulip Period he passed away and was inhumed near to Emir Buhari Lodge outside of Edirnekapı, Istanbul.

Esad Efendi was one of the most important thinkers of Tulip Period. He knew Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Greek and Latin, which granted him certain acquisitions classic Ottoman professors did not have. He authored numerous works and translations. Duties he took, translations he made, interpretations he wrote and books he authored granted him a well-deserved reputation. The Ottoman scholars gave him the nickname “Muallim-i Salis”. Besides, since he had information about all the three celestial religions, some Christian and Jewish clergymen asked him for information about their own religion. Esad Yanyevî was on the other hand a good poet and wrote Turkish, Arabic and Persian poetry.

Esad Efendi attempted to revive the Ottoman scientific thought, which had a silent environment for long years. His most important attitude in his translation works and books was that he criticized the “kalami-riyazi” paradigm placed to Ottoman scientific thought by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, Ali Kuşçu and his friends after the conquest of Istanbul and emphasized the Aristotelian natural paradigm. For this purpose, he attempted to establish the Aristotelian logics and physics as a theoretical (acquired through analyze and research) science, openly criticized people who had different views. In the preface of his new translation of Aristoteles’ “Organon”, Esad Efendi stated that the science of physics was a theoretical and empirical science and that Ibn-I Rüşd (Averroes) also emphasized this, however, he said “some scholars of ours later changed this and turned this science into a science of presumptions and delusions” which was a subtle targeting of Ali Kuşçu’s thoughts in his “Şerh el-tecrid”. This attitude prepared the mentality of Ottoman scientists during the period of modernization to encounter the science of Western Europe in modern ages.

Esad Efendi, upon the oral and written orders of Grand Vizier Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Pasha and Şeyhülislam Abdullah Efendi, translated fundamental works of Aristotle, especially logics and physics, into Arabic again and wrote interpretations to these translations. He corrected some of his views in his interpretations and emphasized interpretations of Averroes. In these interpretations he also gave place to the views of Western philosophers such as Albertus Magnus, Scotus Erigena and Thomas Aquinas and Islamic philosophers such as el-Farabi, Avicenna and Nasiruddin el-Tusi. Esad Efendi particularly emphasized that he used an understandable Arabic in his translations and referred to numerous scholars and philosophers. However, he referred especially to works of Aristotle and members of Italy-Padua academy which was the center of Averroism, thus to the head of the academy, Thessaloniki Greek Metropolitan Karaferyeli İoannis Kuttinius’ interpretations. He also produced interpretations and criticized interpretations of the previous which were wrong in his view. He indicated opinions of Aristotle and Averroes he did not share. Esad Efendi in these translations mentions new optic devices probably for the first time which was used in modern Western Europe and which concerned the science of optics in Islamic and Ottoman history of science closely, such as telescope and microscope.

Sources claim that Esad Efendi authored about ten books and translations. Some sources state that he had a “Divan” in which he brought together his poems; he translated Avicenna’s “Kitab el-Şifa”; interpreted Şihabuddin Sühreverdi’s “Hikmet el-ışrak” and translated Siracuddin el-Urmevi’s book on logics titled “Metali el-envar” into Turkish. However, there are no samples of these books, which came until the present.

It is also known that Esad Efendi translated some theorems of Archimedes, which were not translated into Arabic using other works of Archimedes under the title “Kitab amel el-murabba el-musavi li-el-daire” into Arabic. The information he provided in this work proves that he knew the translations made into Arabic during the Abbasids very well and that he was aware of scientific works related to the Greek period, which were just discovered in Europe. Aside from this translation, which came until the present, he also translated some texts in the field of mathematics concerning “Terbi el-daire ve nisbet-i müellefe” from Latin.


Er-Risaletü'l - Lâhuttiyye (It Contains Problems of Kalam Science), El-Haşiyyetü'l Fethiye Ale'ş Şerhi'l Hanefiyye li'r Risaletü'l Adudiyye, Haşiye Alâ Risale fi İsbati'l Vacib (incomplete), Şerh-i Manzume'i Şahidi (It was translated into Greek), Tecümet-ü Şerhi'1 Envâr (It was translated into Arabic), Et-Ta'limus-Salis (It is a translation from Greek into Arabic - Aristotle's work of eight chapters titled “physics”.), Mürettep Dîvan, Terceme-i Şifâ, Şerhu Hikmeti’l-İşrâkiye, Terceme-i Metâliu’l-Envâr, Terceme-i Kütüb-i Semâviye fî Hikmeti’t-Tabîiyye, Terceme-i Şerhü’l-Envâr fi’l-Mantık, Terceme-i Kütüb-i Semâviye li Hakîm Aristo, Hâşiye-i İsbât-ı Vâcib

REFERENCE: Bursalı Mehmet Tahir / Osmanlı Müellifleri (c. 1, s. 235, 1972), Kâzım Sarıkavak / Yanyalı Esat Efendi (1997), İhsan Fazlıoğlu ( / Erişim: 18 Aralık 2011), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Fikir ve Kültür Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 3, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013) - Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (C. 12, 2017).


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