Studies on Gersonides: A Fourteenth-Century Jewish Philosopher-Scientist

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R. Levi ben Gershom (Gersonides, 1288-1344) is one of the greatest and most original figures of Medieval Jewish thought. He wrote numerous works in philosophy, science and biblical exegesis. Some of his scientific works, most notably his highly innovative Astronomy, were translated from Hebrew into Latin and could thus reach non-Jewish scholars.
The twelve studies collected in this bilingual volume (English and French in equal parts) offer for the first time a comprehensive overview and assessment of Gersonides' work in astronomy, mathematics, logic, natural science, and psychology.
Gersonides' contributions are analyzed within the context of contemporary philosophy and science in Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin. New light is also shed on the reception of Gersonides' work within European science.
The volume includes a very extensive bibliography of writings by and about Gersonides.
From the contents:
Part I: Gersonides' Astronomy: Bernard R. Goldstein, José Luis Mancha, José Chabas, Henri Hugonnard-Roche, Guy Beaujouan.
Part II: Gersonides' Work in Mathematics: Tony Lévy, Karine Chemla, Serge Pahaut.
Part III: Gersonides' Science in Its Relations to His Philosophy and Theology: Herbert A. Davidson, Tzvi Y. Langermann, Charles H. Manekin, Amos Funkenstein, Gad Freudenthal.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'The essays are generally of high quality and offer several new insights for the study of Gersonides' scientific project...The volume, well edited and handsomely produced, concludes with a most comprehensive and usable bibliography...offering an indispensable guide for all future research on medieval Jewish civilization and its most original scientific thinker.'
David B. Ruderman, ISIS, 1994.
'[A] superb collection of twelve articles (half in English, half in French) and two quite useful bibliographical appendices...'
F. Jamil Ragep, British Journal for the History of Science, 1995.
'This book is a very valuable contribution to Gersonidean studies, but it also helps to identify a need on behalf of the specialist in medieval Latin science, as well as that of neophyte, for a unified intellectual biography of this fascinating figure. The editor of the volume would seem admirably equipped for the task!'
A.G. Molland, Annals of Science, 1995.
'The essays are generally of high quality and offer several new insights for the study of Gersonides' scientific project. The volume, well edited and handsomely produced, concludes with a most comprehensive and usable bibliography of works by and on Gersonides by Menachem Kellner, offering an indispensable guide for all future research on medieval Jewish civilization and its most original scientific thinker.'
David B. Ruderman, ISIS, 1994.
'The book is very nicely bound and printed, and edited quite professionally by Gad Freudenthal.'
Samuel S. Kottek, Francisco Moreno-Carvalho, Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences, 1995.
'Studies on Gersonides is am important and valuable contribution to the study of Hebrew (and not only Hebrew) medieval science and philosophy.'
Ruth Glasner, Revue d'Histoire des Sciences, 1994.
'...ce recueil est d'une lecture indispensable pour toute étude sur ce savant d'Orange.'
Richard Ayoun, SENS, 1994.
'...für jeden unentbehrlich, der sich mit der mittelalterlichen Philosophie- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte beschäftigt, insonderheit mit dem Bereich, im welchen sich die jüdische, die arabisch-islamische und die europäische Überlieferung überschneiden.'
T.N., Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 1996.
Half in French and half in English, 14 essays explore the contributions of R. Levi ben Gershom (Gersonides, 1288-1344) in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, logic, physics, and psychology. They emphasize the context of the Greek-Arabic philosophy and science as it was translated into Hebrew during his time, and the subsequent reception of his ideas. Includes extensive primary and secondary bibliographies. No subject index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Gad Freudenthal is permanent research fellow at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (C.N.R.S.), Paris. Previously published: Études sur/studies on Hélène Metzger (Brill, 1990).
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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Gersonides' Astronomy: The Work, Its Context, and Its Influence
1 Levi ben Gerson's Contributions to Astronomy 3
2 The Latin Translation of Levi ben Gerson's Astronomy 21
3 L'influence de l'astronomie de Levi ben Gershom sur Jacob ben David Bonjorn 47
4 Problemes methodologiques dans l'astronomie au debut du XIVe siecle 55
5 Les orientations de la science latine au debut du XIVe siecle 71
Pt. 2 Gersonides' Work in Mathematics
6 Gersonide, commentateur d'Euclide: Traduction annotee de ses gloses sur les Elements 83
7 Remarques sur les ouvrages mathematiques de Gersonide 149
Pt. 3 Gersonides' Science in Its Relations to His Philosophy and Theology
8 Gersonides on the Material and Active Intellects 195
9 Gersonides on the Magnet and the Heat of the Sun 267
10 Gersonides: Logic, Sciences and Philosophy 285
11 Gersonides' Biblical Commentary: Science, History and Providence 305
12 Sauver son ame ou sauver les phenomenes: soteriologie, epistemologie et astronomie chez Gersonide 317
Pt. 4 Bio-Bibliographical Appendices
13 Gersonide en son temps: un tableau chronologique 355
14 Bibliographia Gersonideana. An Annotated List of Writings by and about R. Levi ben Gershom 367
The Contributors 415
Index of Proper Names 417
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