Reference Work Entry

Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures

pp 5-5

Abraham Bar Ḥiyya (Savasorda)

  • Tony Levy

Abraham bar ḥiyya, also called Savasorda (latinized from the Arabic ṣāḥib al‐shurṭa = Chief of the guard), flourished in Barcelona, in Christian Spain, but was probably educated in the kingdom (tā'ifa) of Saragossa, during the period in which it was ruled by the Arabic dynasty of the Banū Hūd. Thus his scientific education could be related to the well known scientific talents of some of the Banū Hūd kings.

Having mastered the Arabic language and culture, he was a pioneer in the use of the Hebrew language in various fields. He wrote on philosophy, ethics, astronomy, astrology, mathematics, and calendrial calculations. He clearly indicated that his Hebrew compositions were written for Jews living in southern France, who were unacquainted with Arabic culture and unable to read Arabic texts.

Two mathematical compositions by Abraham Bar ḥiyya, and four astronomical ones are known.

Yesodey ha‐tevuna u‐migdal ha‐emuna (The Foundations of Science and the Tower of the Faith) was supposed to be a s ...

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