Completed in Osimo, Italy in 1249 CE, this vellum manuscript comprises three different texts including Abraham bar-Hiyya’s Sefer ha-‘Ibur (Book of Intercalation or Book of the Calendar). Bar Hiyya (c. 1065–c.1136 CE), was a famous astronomer, mathematician and philosopher who spent most of his life in Barcelona, Spain. He pioneered the use of the Hebrew language for scientific purposes, and his original writings had a tremendous impact on the development of European science. Sefer ha-‘Ibur, which he completed in 1122 CE, is generally acknowledged as the oldest Hebrew work dealing with the calculations of the Jewish calendar.
According to the colophon (inscription at the end of a manuscript providing details about its production), this manuscript copy of Sefer ha-‘Ibur was penned by Mosheh (Moses), a scribe whose name is also marked in an acrostic (composition in which the first letters in each line form his name). The manuscript contains astronomical diagrams and tables for converting dates between Jewish and non-Jewish calendars.
Browse through the entire manuscript on the Digitised Manuscripts website.
- Article by:
- Israel Sandman
- Science and medicine
Before the age of printing, the texts and layouts of Hebrew works were not standardised. This is because the transmission of works was out of the hands of their authors and in the hands of scribes. Dr Israel Sandman considers the intervention of scribes when copying Hebrew scientific works.