Abraham Zacuto was a Sephardi Jewish astronomer, astrologer, mathematician, rabbi and historian who served as Royal Astronomer in the 15th century to King. After the Spanish exile, Zacuto settled at Lisbon, where he was soon appointed court astronomer and historiographer to John II. He retained his office under D. ZACUTO, ABRAHAM BEN SAMUEL (–c. ), astronomer and historian. His ancestors were French Jewish exiles who had come to Castile in
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His ancestors were French Jewish exiles who had come to Castile in In his biblical and talmudic studies he was instructed by his father and R. At this court, Zacuto engaged in astronomical research and writing until the prelate’s death in The bishop, in his will, requested that all of Zacuto’s Spanish writings be compiled and bound in one volume and placed in abrahma cathedral library.
Under his aegis, he wrote zcauto book on the influence of the stars, Tratado breve en las influencias del cieloto which he appended a treatise on solar and lunar eclipses, De las eclipses del sol y de la aacuto. The work was apparently written in Abbraham, but is extant only in its Castilian translation published by J. Inwhen the Jews were expelled from Spain, Zacuto emigrated to Portugal, where he was appointed court astronomer by King John ii.
The king’s successor, Manuel i, confirmed the appointment. Before sending Vasco da Gama on his sea voyage to Indiathe king sought the advice of Zacuto, who then lived in the city of Beja, on a calculation of the position of the stars.
He foretold the success of the expedition and that the Portuguese would conquer a large part of India. Da Gama himself also consulted Zacuto in Lisbon before he set sail. Twice he and his son Samuel were taken prisoner, but they finally reached Tunis. Zacuto’s achievements in astronomy were many: Zacuro permitted sailors to ascertain latitudes without recourse to the meridian of the sun, and to calculate solar and lunar eclipses with greater accuracy.
While frequently quoting his predecessors, Zacuto also draws attention to their deficiencies. Zacuto’s astronomical findings played an important role in the Spanish and Portuguese discoveries. Columbus used his tables on his voyages, and on one occasion they were instrumental in saving him and his crew from certain death.
Knowing from the Zwcuto tables that a lunar eclipse was imminent, Columbus threatened the natives that he would deprive them of the light of the moon as well as of the sun. A copy of the tables, with Columbus’ notes, is preserved in Seville.
Init was translated into Spanish by Juan de Salaya, who had been professor of astrology and of logic at the University of Salamanca. Cantera Burgos published Salaya’s translation together with his own, which is based on the original. Vicinho’s version is the only Spanish incunabulum published in Portugal. The two translations were republished by the Portuguese government in and The publication was mainly for the Spanish exiles.
An Arabic translation of the Almanach is extant in Milan Ms. Meant for scholarly study by students of Jewish lore, and to stimulate debate, this work at times elucidates a particular law for the specific purpose of fostering greater faith. The originality of the research is mainly contained in the first two treatises of his book, which cover the period of the Second Temple, the Mishnah, and the Talmud.
From the standpoint of completeness, these treatises are superior to anything written by Zacuto’s predecessors and they laid the foundations for scholarly research by succeeding generations. In numerous passages, he takes issue with Maimonides and R.
In his treatment of the material Zacuto, by and large, follows the line of thought of Abraham ibn Daud.
Chapter five expounds the epoch from the beginning of the rabbinic period in Europe until the author’s time the period of the expulsions from Spain and Portugal. Solomon of Torrutiel there is no reason to assume that the latter’s work was known to Zacuto. Abaham large part of the treatise, however, is original research and analysis, based on later rabbinic literature. Yohai had compiled the Zohar. Consequently he relied on the Zohar in matters of halakhah and history.
Jew or Not Jew: Abraham Zacuto
The sixth chapter is a chronological outline of the history of various nations and the scientific research and inventions carried out by their scholars. This treatise zacutp based on Latin and Spanish works.
While Zacuto’s approach to astronomy is scientific in these analyses, his views are restricted by Jewish tradition and aggadah.
He also seems careless and disparaging in his examination of gentile lore. The advantage in its study he saw mainly in that “it greatly assists the Jews dwelling among Christians to argue with them about their religion. It was next published in Cracow —81 with the notes of Moses b. In modern times, the work was published by Z.
It was reprinted2 by A. The complete sixth chapter, as previously published by A. Little is known of the last years of Zacuto’s life. In he was in Jerusalem and stayed at the yeshivah of R. Isaac Sholal, where he compiled an almanac “in the holy tongue. In Zacuto was in Damascus. An eschatological passage prophesying the coming of the redemption in is found in a manuscript ascribed to Zacuto.
ZACUTO, ABRAHAM BEN SAMUEL:
There is, however, no substantiating evidence that Zacuto was still alive close to that date. Steinschneider, Cat Bod, —8; M. Abraha, Die Geschichtsliteratur der Juden88—93; idem, in: Rivista Degli Studi Orientali788—92; B. Revista de estudos hebraicos19—56; Marx, in: Miller—70; F.
Abraham Zacuto – Wikipedia
Revista de la Academia de Ciencias de Madrid2763—; R. Sefarad91—9; 14—5; H.
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