Time, Astronomy, and Calendars in Jewish tradition


The study of time, astronomy, and calendars, has been closely intertwined in the history of Western culture and, more particularly, Jewish tradition. Jewish interest in astronomy was fostered by the Jewish calendar, which was based on the courses of the sun and the moon, whilst astronomy, in turn, led to a better understanding of how time should be reckoned. Time, Astronomy, and Calendars in the Jewish Tradition, edited by Sacha Stern and Charles Burnett, presents a wide selection of original research in this multi-disciplinary field, ranging from Antiquity to the later Middle Ages. Its variety of approaches and sub-themes reflects the relevance of astronomy and calendars to many aspects of Jewish, and more generally ancient and medieval, culture and social history. Contributors include: Jonathan Ben-Dov, Reimund Leicht, Marina Rustow, Francois de Blois, Raymond Mercier, Philipp Nothaft, Josefina Rodriguez Arribas, Ilana Wartenberg, Israel Sandman, Justine Isserles, Anne C. Kineret Sittig, Katharina Keim, and Sacha Stern
Restricted Access


EUR €173.00USD $225.00

Biographical Note

Sacha Stern is Professor of Rabbinic Judaism at University College London. He is the author of Calendar and Community (Oxford 2001), Time and Process in Ancient Judaism(Oxford 2003), and Calendars in Antiquity(Oxford 2012), and Principal Investigator of various research projects on ancient and medieval calendars. Charles Burnett is Professor of the History of Islamic Influence in Europe at the Warburg Institute, University of London. Among his books are The introduction of Arabic Learning into England (London, 1997), Arabic into Latin in the Middle Ages (Farnham 2009), and several editions of Arabic texts with their Latin translations.

Review Quote

" Time, Astronomy, and Calendars in the Jewish Tradition is a complex, multifaceted, forward-looking work, taking advantage of new findings and a wealth of international, interdisciplinary scholarship and resulting in a volume of real scholarly value." – Marie Ventura, University of St. Andrews

Table of contents

Preface A Jewish Parapegma? Reading 1 Enoch 82 in Roman Egypt Jonathan Ben-Dov Observing the Moon: Astronomical and Cosmological Aspects in the Rabbinic New Moon Procedure Reimund Leicht Cosmology as Science or Cosmology as Theology? Reflections on the Astronomical Chapters of Pirke DeRabbi Eliezer Katharina Keim Some Early Islamic and Christian Sources Regarding the Jewish Calendar (9th-11th centuries) François de Blois The Jewish Calendar Controversy of 921–22: Reconstructing the Manuscripts and their Transmission History Marina Rustow and Sacha Stern The Hebrew Calendrical Bookshelf of the Early Twelfth Century: The Cases of Abraham bar Ḥiyya and Jacob bar Samson Ilana Wartenberg Scribal Prerogative in Modifying Calendrical Tables Israel M. Sandman Astronomical Tables of Abraham bar Ḥiyya Raymond Mercier The Sabbath Epistle by Abraham Ibn Ezra: its Purpose and Novelty Anne C. Kinneret Sittig Medieval Jews and Medieval Astrolabes: Where, Why, How, and What For? Josefina Rodríguez Arribas Some Hygiene and Dietary Calendars in Hebrew Manuscripts from Medieval Ashkenaz Justine Isserles Me pudet audire Iudeum talia scire: A Late Medieval Latin School Text on the Jewish Calendar C. Philipp E. Nothaft


All interested in ancient and medieval Judaism, and more particularly, the Jewish calendar and Jewish astronomical works and scholars, as well as students with an interest in ancient and medieval calendars and astronomy.