Nasi, Abraham, Ben Chija

Nasi, Abraham, Ben- Chija surnamed the Astronomer, a Jewish savant of note (in Marseilles), was born in 1065, and died in 1136. He held the office of Zachib es-Shorta, priefectus prsetorianibus, and was much esteemed for his proficiency in astronomy. His writings are highly valued. He wrote —

1, a description of the form of the earth, the arrangement of the firmament, and revolutions of the planets (ותִבנַית כִּדּוּרֵי הָרָקַיעִ וסֵדֶר מִהֲלִך כּוֹבֵיהֶם סֵ צוּרִת הָאָרֶוֹ): —

2, a highly moral work, entitled Meditations of a Penitent Soul, on reaching the Gates of Repentance (הִנֶּפֶשׁ ס הגָּיוֹן, edit., with an essay by S.L. Rapaport, by E. Freimann (Leips. 1860), in four parts:

(a) on man's origin and wondrous nature; (b) on the duties of life; (c) on the return to God by penitence; (d) on dying well, and on the close of this life: —

3, a work on arithmetic and the intercalation: —

4, another on the planets, the two spheres, and the Greek, Roman, and Mohammedan calendars: —

5, a work on geometry, with an explanation of spherical triangles, and the conversion of angles and circles (Mishnath ha-Middoth, the first geometrical work edited in Hebrew by Steinschneider [Berl. 1864]): —

6, a treatise on music, and on Megillath ha-Megaleh, the volume of the Revealer, on the redemption of Israel, the resurrection of the dead, and the advent of Messiah, the date of which he ventured to predict by an astronomical computation (comp. his סֵ חֶשׂבּוֹן הָעַבּוּר on the mathematical and technical chronology of the Hebrew, Nazarites, Mohammedans, etc. Printed for the first time and edited, in Hebrew, by H. Filipowski [Lond. 1851]), and which should have taken place, according to him, in the year 5118 of the world = A.D. 1358. See Gratz, Hist. of the Jews, 6:110; Braunschweiger, Gesch. d Juden in den Roman. Staaten, page 59 sq.; Furst, Bibl Judaica, 1:6; De Rossi, Dizionario, s.v. (Germ. transl.), page 81; Lindo, Hist. of the Jews in Spain, page 53; Finn, Sephardim, page 189. (B.P.)

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