The People in the Books: Hebraica and Judaica Manuscripts from Columbia University Libraries

Timekeepers > Astronomy


Shesh Kenafayim.
Manuscript in Hebrew on paper.
Ca. 15th century.
MS X893 Im6
Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Immanuel ben Jacob Bonfils was a French mathematician and astronomer whose works were used throughout the eastern and western worlds.  This edition of his magnum opus, Shesh Kenafayim, was produced in the Middle East, as evidenced by the Arabic influence in the design of the opening page.  This work includes astronomical tables detailing the movement of the sun and the moon, which was critical for ascertaining the Jewish months.  Notwithstanding the fact that Bonfils used examples from the Jewish calendar, his work was translated into Latin and Greek, and was widely used in both the Holy Roman and the Byzantine Empires.

Gift of Stephen Wise, from the library of Aaron Wise, 1900.


Shesh Kenafayim: Title page


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