Article ID: CBB034922775

The Astronomical Tables of Isaac ben Joseph Israeli of Toledo (2017)


Isaac Israeli (early fourteenth century) is best known for Yesod ʿolam (Berlin, 1846–1848), a treatise on astronomy and chronology. Here our focus is on his astronomical tables, mainly those in his unpublished Šaʿar ha-šamayim, which have not been studied previously. We present an analysis of some of these tables, preserved in various manuscripts, and find that they are largely dependent on similar sets of tables available at the time in Spain. Of special interest is that in the headings of a few of his tables he introduces an unusual term for “table,” ʿarugah, whereas in others we find the usual luaḥ. Moreover, he uses ḥalaqim or “parts” (that is, 1/1080 of an hour) in astronomical and geographical contexts having nothing to do with the treatment of the Hebrew calendar where they commonly occur. In Yesod ʿolam Isaac mentions Isaac ben Sid, an astronomer who worked under the patronage of Alfonso X of Castile (d. 1284) and one of the authors of the Castilian Alfonsine Tables (of which only the canons or instructions survive). Unfortunately, we have not found any trace of those tables in Isaac's tables. On the other hand, we have found evidence that, for the compilation of some of his tables, Isaac used the Toledan Tables (arranged for the Hijra calendar).

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Authors & Contributors
Chabás, José
Goldstein, Bernard R.
King, David A.
Dalen, Benno van
Yungsik, Kim
Bray, Francesca
Journal for the History of Astronomy
Suhayl: Journal for the History of the Exact and Natural Sciences in Islamic Civilisation
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Actes d’Història de la Ciència i de la Tècnica
Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism
Seoul National University Press
Institut Millás Vallicrosa d'Història de la Ciència Àrab
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
SISMEL edizioni del Galluzzo
Tables; catalogs; lists
Transmission of texts
Arab/Islamic world, civilization and culture
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Alfonso X, King of Léon and Castile
al-Ḥadib, Isaac Ibn
Mithridates, Flavius
Vimond, John
Dondi, Giovanni de'
Time Periods
14th century
15th century
13th century
Early modern
Toledo (Spain)
Paris (France)
Castille (Spain)
Andalusia (Spain)

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