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8. Astronomical Tables of Abraham bar Ḥiyya

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Chapter Summary

The defining events of the calendar are themolad, the time of conjunction of mean sun and moon, and the four tekufot, when the mean sun is 0°, 90°, 180°, 270°, of which the first is Tekufat Nisan. The Jewish calendar prescribes an arrangement of the lunar months in a sequence of 12 and 13 month years, along with the intial molad at TM. Khwārezmī gives the positions of sun, moon and planets at three dates, the beginning of the Era of Adam, the building of the Temple, and the beginning of the Seleucid era, referred to as Dhū'l-Qarnayn. The major items were identified by Steinschneider, but he did not single out the section 183-197v as a Hebrew version of the principal tables al-Battānī's Zīj, adapted to the Latin calendar. Isaac Israeli, in his Yesod Olam, is well aware of the problem of establishing the meridian of the Jewish calendar.

Keywords: al-Battānī's Zīj; astronomical tables; Isaac Israeli; Yesod Olam



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