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The Life of Jesus and the Emergence of Scientific Chronology (200–1600)
The beginnings of scientific chronology are usually associated with the work of the great Renaissance philologist Joseph Scaliger (1540–1609), but this perspective is challenged by the existence of a vivid pre-modern computistical tradition, in which technical chronological questions, especially regarding the life of Jesus, played an essential role. Christian scholars such as Roger Bacon made innovative breakthroughs in the field of historical dating by applying astronomical calculations, critical exegesis, and the study of the Jewish calendar to chronological problems. Drawing on a wide selection of sources that range from late antiquity to 1600, this book uses the history of the date of Christ’s Passion to shed new light on the medieval contribution to science and scholarship.
During the later Middle Ages (twelfth to fifteenth centuries), the study of chronology, astronomy, and scriptural exegesis among Christian scholars gave rise to Latin treatises that dealt specifically with the Jewish calendar and its adaptation to Christian purposes. In Medieval Latin Christian Texts on the Jewish Calendar C. Philipp E. Nothaft offers the first assessment of this phenomenon in the form of critical editions, English translations, and in-depth studies of five key texts, which together shed fascinating new light on the avenues of intellectual exchange between medieval Jews and Christians.
In: Time, Astronomy, and Calendars in the Jewish Tradition 
In: For the Sake of Learning
In: The Worlds of Knowledge and the Classical Tradition in the Early Modern Age


The article introduces and explores a new source on Christian hostility towards Jews during the late Middle Ages. It comes in the shape of a commentary on a Computus Judaicus, which was used as a quadrivial school text in Central and Eastern Europe during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Based on an examination of the rich manuscript tradition, it will be demonstrated how the text contributed to the evolution of the trope of Jewish male menstruation, which is here tied, in a unique manner, to an exposition of the Jewish calendar as a method of lunar reckoning.

In: European Journal of Jewish Studies

Among the works by Jean des Murs that have yet to be printed are his Canones tabularum Alfonsii, which he wrote in 1339 during his last attested stay at the Collège de Sorbonne. One element of particular interest in this concisely worded text is Jean’s discussion of the length of the solar year, which was the first to take into consideration the consequences of the Alfonsine precession model for the length of the tropical year. Another is his approach to finding the time of true syzygy, which can be compared with some of his earlier writings on the same topic. Taken together, these writings reveal something about Jean’s development as an astronomer over time, as he adjusted his preferred method of syzygy computation in reaction to empirical data. The article concludes with a look at the chapters devoted to the calculation of eclipse times and magnitudes, which turn out to be strongly influenced by John of Genoa’s Canones eclipsium, written in 1332.

In: Erudition and the Republic of Letters
In: Dating the Passion
In: Dating the Passion
In: Dating the Passion