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Astronomy As A "Neutral Zone": Interreligious Cooperation In Medieval Spain

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Chapter Summary

Interreligious cooperation on philosophical and scientific matters was part of the legacy of the culture developed under Muslim auspices in Baghdad. This kind of cooperation continued in both Muslim and Christian Spain, although there are instances where Jews and Christians did not wish to call attention to it. Several episodes from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries involving astronomers are examined in detail to illustrate both "open" and "discreet" cooperation among Jews and Christians in medieval Spain. Alfonso X of Castile is well known as a patron of both Jewish and Christian astronomers, and the compilation of the Alfonsine Tables of Toledo was a notable achievement. The case of Abraham Zacut of Salamanca is also discussed, and some myths about him are dispelled.

Keywords: Abraham Zacut; Alfonsine Tables; astronomers; interreligious cooperation; medieval Spain



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