Science in Medieval Jewish Cultures provides the first comprehensive overview by world-renowned experts of what we know today of medieval Jews' engagement with the sciences. Many medieval Jews, whether living in Islamic or Christian civilizations, joined Maimonides in accepting the rationalist philosophical-scientific tradition and appropriated extensive bodies of scientific knowledge in various disciplines: astronomy, astrology, mathematics, logic, physics, meteorology, biology, psychology, science of language and medicine. The appropriated texts – in the original or in Hebrew translation – were the starting points for Jews' own contributions to medieval science and also informed other literary genres: religious-philosophical works, biblical commentaries and even Halakhic (legal) discussions. This volume's essays will provide readers with background knowledge of medieval scientific thought necessary to properly understand canonical Jewish scientific texts. Its breadth reflects the number and diversity of Jewish cultures in the Middle Ages and the necessity of considering the fortunes of science in each within its specific context.
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