The Ibn Ezra-Henry Bate astrological connection and the three Abrahams

Shlomo Sela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper studies the astrological connection between Abraham Ibn Ezra (ca. 1089–ca. 1161), who created the first comprehensive corpus of Hebrew astrological textbooks that address the main systems of Arabic astrology, and Henry Bate (1246–1310), who first translated into Latin a collection of Ibn Ezra’s astrological writings and brought Ibn Ezra to the knowledge of the Latin West. The first part of this paper offers a brief chronological survey of how Henry Bate became acquainted with Ibn Ezra’s astrological treatises. The second part focuses on a surprising element: when Bate refers to astrological treatises that we now know were written by Ibn Ezra, he assigns them to one of three different authors. All three are ‘Abraham’, but they have distinguishing cognomens. Here we determine which astrological treatises Bate assigned to each of the three Abrahams, try to identify the historical figure behind each of them, and explain Bate’s reason for trisecting Abraham Ibn Ezra.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-186
Number of pages24
JournalMediterranea: International Journal on the Transfer of Knowledge
StatePublished - 2017


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