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Published August 2017 | public
Journal Article

The Light of the World: Astronomy in al-Andalus [Book Review]


Joseph Ibn Nahmias was a member of a distinguished and learned Spanish Jewish family, who lived in the late fourteenth-early fifteenth century; his one known work is dated to about 1400. This work, The Light of the World, has been edited and translated with a detailed technical commentary by Robert G. Morrison. It appears in two forms, each surviving in a single manuscript, the original Judeo-Arabic, a dialect of Arabic written in Hebrew letters, and a Hebrew translation. The two versions are here edited, the Judeo-Arabic translated completely, passages of the Hebrew that differ are translated, and both receive explanatory commentaries. The translations contain redrawn figures from the manuscripts, in which spheres are projected as plane circles, and the commentaries contain spherical figures, some very detailed, showing the circles and spheres in perspective and many additional details for analysis and computation. All of this is a considerable accomplishment because The Light of the World is extremely complex and in places very difficult to understand. Morrison has carried out an outstanding and exceedingly demanding undertaking for which we all must be grateful.

Additional Information

© 2017 the Authors. Book Review of: The Most Complex Homocentric Astronomy. Ibn Naḥmias Joseph, The Light of the World: Astronomy in al-Andalus. Edited, translated, and with a commentary by MorrisonRobert G. (University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 2016). Pp. xiv + 429. ISBN 9780520287990.

Additional details

August 19, 2023
October 17, 2023