Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Alfonsi, Petrus

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-9917-7_32

Flourished(Spain), 1106–1120

Petrus Alfonsi is likely to have been instrumental in introducing Arabic astronomy to Christian scholars such as  Walcher of Malvern and  Adelard of Bath, and thus played a key role in prompting the wholescale translation of Arabic mathematical and astronomical learning in the twelfth century.

Alfonsi was educated as a Jew in an Arabic milieu in Huesca (Aragon) in the Islamic kingdom of Zaragoza; but, after the Christian conquest of Huesca in 1096, he converted to Christianity, and was baptized on 29 June 1106. Thereafter he traveled in France and England, advertising himself as a “teacher of astronomy,” but perhaps returned to Spain (if he can be identified with a “Peter of Toledo”) later in his life. Alfonsi was the earliest scholar to bring learned Arabic cosmological and astronomical knowledge to Latin-reading Christians.

Much astronomical and cosmological information is included in his popular Dialogus contra Iudaeos(Dialogue against the Jews) in...

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Selected References

  1. Burnett, Charles (1997). “The Works of Petrus Alfonsi: Questions of Authenticity.” Medium Aevum 66: 42–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Mercier, Raymond (1987). “Astronomical Tables in the Twelfth Century.” In Adelard of Bath: An English Scientist and Arabist of the Early Twelfth Century, edited by Charles Burnett, pp. 87–118. esp. pp. 95–100. London: Warburg Institute.Google Scholar
  3. Neugebauer, Otto (1962). The Astronomical Tables of al-Khwārizmī. Translation with commentaries of the Latin version edited by H. Suter, supplemented by Corpus Christi College MS 283. Copenhagen: Ejnar Munksgaard.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Warburg InstituteUniversity of LondonUK