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6. The Hebrew Calendrical Bookshelf of the Early Twelfth Century: The Cases of Abraham bar Ḥiyya and Jacob bar Samson

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Chapter Summary

The author examines two central books on the Jewish calendar which were composed in the 1120s. The Christian calendar attracts most of Bar Ḥiyya's attention, he is not short of polemical discussions on various matters, e.g. Jesus' date of birth. Samuel, to whom the tequfah of Samuel is attributed, was a first-generation Babylonian Amora who is much quoted in early rabbinic literature. One discerns a few mathematical pearls at the end of citation by Bar Samson, and this sheds linguistic light on my general argument regarding textual disconnection. Bar Ḥiyya first presents the calculation of moladot i.e. the determination of the new moon based on the average lunation of 29 days 12 hours and 793 parts. For him, the moladot serve as a reference point for any further calculation. The Four Gates, which are of Babylonian origin, were based on the molad of Tishri.

Keywords: Abraham Bar Ḥiyya; Jacob Bar Samson; Jewish calendar; tequfah



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