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

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...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

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