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...
- 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
- 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