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Ibn Ezra, Abraham (Abū Iṣḥāq)

(2,211 words)

Author(s): Josefina Rodríguez Arribas
Abraham ibn Ezra was born between 1089 and 1092  in Tudela, which was still under Muslim rule but was conquered by Alfonso I in 1115. During the first period of his life, Ibn Ezra lived in al-Andalus and perhaps visited North Africa. He left Sefarad in 1140 and lived in several cities in France, Italy, and England. It is likely that he died in England between 1164 and 1167. He was a close friend of Judah ha-Levi , whose acquaintance he first made in Cordova. His son,Isaac (Abū Saʿī…
Date: 2015-09-03

Abraham of Toledo

(475 words)

Author(s): Josefina Rodríguez Arribas
Don Abraham of Toledo (Abraham el Alfaquin = al-Ḥakīm) was physician to King Alfonso X (el Sabio - the Learned) of Castile, and to his son Sancho IV. He was active between 1260 and 1277 and translated books from Arabic into Castilian under the patronage of the king in Toledo and Burgos. Together with five other prominent Jews of the royal court, he was kidnapped in 1270 by rebellious nobles demanding the elimination of taxes. He was restored to his position in 1275. He died in 1294.Abraham’s translations include La escala de Mahoma (The Ladder of Muḥammad), an account of the Miʿrāj, or heavenly…

Abraham bar Ḥiyya

(1,933 words)

Author(s): Josefina Rodríguez Arribas
Abraham bar Ḥiyya (d. ca. 1136) was a philosopher, astronomer, mathematician, and translator who worked at the Christian court of Barcelona and perhaps for Alfonso I of Aragon. Very little is known about his life other than an altercation he had with Judah ben Barzillay al-Bargeloni in connection with a wedding that Bar Ḥiyya felt ought to have been postponed for astrological reasons. It is also known that he visited France. He was still active in 1136, when he was last mentioned as a collaborat…
Date: 2015-09-03

Baḥya (Pseudo)

(431 words)

Author(s): Josefina Rodríguez Arribas
Very little is known about Pseudo-Baḥya, the name generally applied to the author of the Judeo-Arabic treatise Kitāb Maʿānī al-Nafs (On the Essence of the Soul), a Neoplatonic work that for some time was attributed to Baḥya Ibn Paqūda. The dates of the sources it mentions, such as Nissim ben Jacob Ibn Shāhīn and Ibn Sīna [Avicenna], and the fact that it does not mention any writers of the second half of the twelfth century indicate that Maʿānī al-Nafs was composed sometime between the mid-eleventh and mid-twelfth centuries. The author refers to another work of his entitled On the Gradation …

Ibn Tibbon, Jacob ben Machir

(389 words)

Author(s): Josefina Rodríguez Arribas
Jacob ben Machir Ibn Tibbon (ca. 1236-1307) was a scion of the great Provençal family of Arabic translators whose members for several generations dedicated themselves to translating philosophical and scientific works from Arabic to Hebrew. Jacob's ancestor Judah ben Saul emigrated from Granada to Provence in the late twelfth century. Jacob's grandfather Samuel ben Judah Ibn Tibbon was the translator of several of Maimonides's works, and his father, Moses, translated a number of Aristotelian texts.Jacob ben Machir was also known as Don Profeit/Profiat Tibbon and Profat…

Ibn Matqa, Judah ben Solomon ha-Kohen

(765 words)

Author(s): Josefina Rodríguez Arribas
Judah ben Solomon ha-Kohen ibn Matqa was born in Toledo around 1215 and was a disciple of Meʼir ben Ṭodros ha-Levi Abulafia. Ibn Matqa seems to have been a later addition to his name (Sirat). Judah was well educated in Arabic and mastered the Arabic sciences and the rabbinic tradition. At the age of eighteen (1233), while still in Spain, he engaged in correspondence in Arabic with a philosopher at the court of Emperor Frederick II about geometrical and astronomical problems. The identity of the philosopher with whom he corresponded is still unknown, but scholarly sugg…

Ḥasan ben Mar Ḥasan

(155 words)

Author(s): Josefina Rodríguez Arribas
Hasan ben Mar Hasan, also known as ʿAlī ibn Mar Hasan was born somewhere in al-Andalus in the tenth century. He was dayyan (judge) of Cordova in the late tenth century. He wrote three books on the calendar and intercalation that are no longer extant, but which are referred to in the writings of Isaac Israeli ( Yesod ʿ Olam), Abraham bar Ḥiyya ( Sefer ha-ʿIbbur), and Abraham ibn Ezra ( Sefer ha-ʿIbbur). The date he used in his astronomical calculations (972), in which he followed the system of the Arab astronomer al-Battānī (d. 929), is the only certain reference we have to date his lifetime.Josefin…

Judah ben Moses ha-Kohen

(441 words)

Author(s): Josefina Rodríguez Arribas
Judah ben Moses ha-Kohen, called in Christian sources Don Yhuda Mosca, Yhuda Mosca el Menor, Yhuda fi de Mose fi de Mosca, and Yhuda el Cohen (or Coheneso) Alfaquin, was one of the foremost translators working in the court of Alfonso X ("the Learned") of Castile (ca. 1243-1272). He was probably born in Toledo, probably into the well-known Ibn Matqa family, and was rabbi of the Toledo synagogue. In addition to Hebrew, he was literate in Arabic, Castilian, and Latin, and was learned in astronomy and astrology, the disciplines in which h…