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R. Abraham Bar Hiyya

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Chapter Summary

R. Abraham Bar Ḥiyya was first of all a scientist. His principal writings are in the areas of mathematics, astronomy and the calendar (and his speculative writings are also very much influenced by his involvement with astronomy and astrology). Some scholars associate Ḥiyya with the neo-Platonic school. Bar Ḥiyya;s "orthodox" position prefigures that of Judah Halevi, and the kinship between them is especially prominent in Ḥiyya's argument that the gentiles who follow the method of reason do not attain the same level of perfection that Jewish believers arrived at through the guidance of the Torah. The affirmative side in Ḥiyya's notion of chosenness was the idea of Israel's special status. If Aristotle consigned history to the realm of the accidental, Ḥiyya believes in an absolute determinism. The course of history is determined in advance. This outlook was of course influenced by Ḥiyya's interest in astronomy and astrology.

Keywords: gentiles; Israel; neo-Platonic school; R.Abraham Bar Ḥiyya; Torah



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