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date: 22 October 2019

Gersonides [Levi ben Gershom (Gershon, Gerson); Leo Hebraeus; Magister Leon de Bagnols; RaLBaG]locked

  • C. Matthew Balensuela

Extract

[Levi ben Gershom(GershonGerson)Leo HebraeusMagister Leon de BagnolsRaLBaG]

(b Bagnols, 1288; d Provence, 1344). French mathematician. He lived in Provence, primarily in Orange, north of Avignon, an area that offered protection to Jews and a haven from King Philip the Fair’s expulsion of Jews in 1306. His works were known in both Jewish and Christian circles. He wrote in Hebrew, and his writings were translated into Latin; as a result he is known by several different names. He is referred to as Levi ben Gershom or RaLBaG (an acronym of Rabbi Levi ben Gershom) in Hebrew texts, and as Gersonides, Gerson, and several other variants in Latin sources. His mathematical works include a commentary on Euclid and a treatise on trigonometry. He was also an astronomer, biblical exegete, and neo-Aristotelian philosopher. In addition to commentaries on Aristotle and Ibn Rushd, his major work was Sefer milhamot Adonai (‘The Wars of the Lord’, 1317–29), which treats the central philosophical debates of his time, such as the immortality of the soul and the creation of the world....

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