What did medieval readers take to be “Al-Ḥajjāj's version” of Euclid's Elements? The evidence of MS Paris, BnF, héb. 1011

Ofer Elior*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to shed light on the transmission of Euclid's Elements in the Middle Ages, and in particular of an Arabic version of this work, which medieval sources attribute to al-Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf ibn Maṭar. I examine some medieval reports that explicitly ascribe certain textual variants and diagrams to this “Ḥajjāj-version.” These reports concern Books II–V and VII–X. I compare them to a medieval Hebrew version of the Elements, a single copy of which is extant in MS Paris, BnF, héb. 1011. The comparison reveals that no fewer than 14 and as many as 16 such reports conform to the Hebrew version. On the basis of these results, I argue that the circulation of a single complete version of the Elements widely recognized by medieval readers to be authored by al-Ḥajjāj, and one which perhaps was indeed his work, was not a myth.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)181-197
Number of pages17
JournalCentaurus
Volume62
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Keywords

  • Euclid's Elements
  • Hebrew mathematics
  • Jews and science
  • al-Ḥajjāj

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