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

Jacob ben Makhir ibn Tibbon

  • Raymond Mercier
Reference work entry

Alternate Name

 Don Profeit Tibbon, Profatius

Bornpossibly Marseilles, France, circa1236


Jacob ben Makhir was a translator of Arabic scientific works into Hebrew and also wrote a few original astronomical works. Known also as Don Profeit Tibbon, he was a Jewish scholar who lived in Montpellier and other Provençal towns. He wrote exclusively in Hebrew; his extensive output included both translations into Hebrew and original compositions. Since he was known under two distinct Hebrew names, modern scholars had treated these as representing two separate persons, until Salomon Munk (Mélanges, p. 489, n. 3) showed they were one and the same. The Hebrew word mekîr means “gain” or “profit,” hence the Provençal form Profeit (and many variants) and the Latin Profatius.

Jacob ben Makhir’s translations were almost entirely of mathematical and astronomical works, both original Arabic tracts and Arabic versions of Greek works. These included Euclid’s Elements and Data,  AutolycusMovin...

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Selected References

  1. Boffito, J. and C. Melzi d’Eril (1908). Almanach Dantis Aligherii, sive Profhacii Judaei Montispessulani Almanach perpetuum ad annum 1300 inchoatum. Florence: Olschki.Google Scholar
  2. Millás Vallicrosa, José María (1932). “La introducción del cuadrante con cursor en Europa.” Isis 17: 218–258. (Reprinted in Millás Vallicrosa, Estudios sobre historia de la ciencia española. Barcelona, 1949.)Google Scholar
  3. — (1933). Tractat de l'assafea d'Azarquiel. Barcelona.Google Scholar
  4. — (1943–1950). Estudios sobre Azarquiel. Madrid-Granada.Google Scholar
  5. Munk, Salomon (1859). Mélanges de philosphie juive et arabe. Paris: A. Franck.Google Scholar
  6. Renan, E. (1877). “Les rabbins français du commencement du xive siècle.” Histoire littéraire de la France 27: 599–623.Google Scholar
  7. Steinschneider, Maurice (Oct. 1876). “Prophatii Judaei Montepessulani Massiliensis (a. 1300): Proemium in Almanach.” Bulletino di bibliografia e di storia delle scienze matematiche e fisiche 9: 595–614.Google Scholar
  8. Toomer, G. J. (1973). “Prophatius Judaeus and the Toledan Tables.” Isis 64: 351–355.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CambsUK