The mechanism of general providence in the astronomical-astrological section of Levi ben Abraham's Livyat hen

Niran Garshtein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The third book of Levi ben Abraham ben Hayyim’s voluminous treatise, Livyat hen, is a compendium of astronomical and astrological knowledge. In its twelfth chapter, Levi describes a cosmological mechanism that ensures optimal thermal conditions for human life, thereby securing the persistence of the inhabited world. Levi identifies this mechanism with God’s general providence, or at least one aspect of it. This article examines the mechanism in detail, and sheds light on Levi’s views on the providential role of the celestial bodies. The article also shows that the mechanism was known to Gersonides, and compares it with Gersonides’ naturalistic account of providence. In addition, the article identifies some of the scientific sources Levi drew on in compiling the astronomical-astrological section of Livyat hen, and provides insight into its overall profile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-228
Number of pages26
JournalAleph
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Aleph

Funding

Acknowledgements: I am grateful to Shlomo Sela, the editors of Aleph, and two anonymous referees for valuable suggestions and comments on earlier versions of this article. The research on which this article is based was supported by a Nathan Rotenstreich Scholarship from the Israel Council for Higher Education, and a Bar-Ilan University President’s Scholarship.

FundersFunder number
Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education of Israel

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