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IBN MATḲAH, JUDAH BEN SOLOMON HA-KOHEN:

Spanish philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician; born at Toledo in 1215. On his mother's side he was the grandson of Ziza ibn Shushan. Although Ibn Matḳah was a pupil of Meïr Abulafia, an anti-Maimonist, and was greatly inclined to mysticism, yet the "Moreh" of Maimonides induced him to occupy himself with philosophical studies. In fact, Ibn Matḳah was the intermediary between philosophy and mystic doctrines. While a youth of eighteen he corresponded with Johannes Palermitanus and Theodorus of Antioch, the philosophers of the Roman emperor Frederick II. The emperor himself consulted him about scientific matters, and his answers proved so satisfactory that he was invited to settle in Tuscany (1247), where he had free access to the imperial court.

Ibn Matḳah became known as a philosopher by the encyclopedic work which he wrote in 1247 in Arabic and himself translated into Hebrew under the title "Midrash ha-Ḥokmah." It is divided into two parts. The first treats of logic, physics, and meta-physics, adapted from Aristotle, and contains, besides, a treatise on certain passages in Genesis, Psalms, and Proverbs. The second treats of mathematics, and contains, also, two treatises: the first, a mystical one on the letters of the alphabet; the other, a collection of Biblical passages to be interpreted philosophically. Ibn Matḳah divides all creatures into three categories, spiritual, celestial, and terrestrial, i.e., mortal. He therefore divides the sciences also into three branches, physics, mathematics, and metaphysics. In the introduction to this work he gives an anthology of Aristotle's sentences.

Ibn Matḳah made an adaptation of Ptolemy's "Almagest," which he arranged in eight chapters, and of his "Quadripartitum" under the Hebrew title "Mishpeṭe ha-Kokabim," a treatise on astrology. He also made an adaptation of Al-Biṭruji's astronomy, under the title "Miklal Yofi."

Bibliography:
  • Wolf, Bibl. Hebr. i., note 736; iii., notes 736, 777;
  • Steinschneider, Hebr. Uebers. pp. 1-4, 164, 507, 858;
  • idem, Cat. Leyden, pp. 53-60;
  • idem. Jewish Literature, pp. 294, 10; 305, 20; 357, 49;
  • idem, Die Arabische Litteratur der Juden, § 117;
  • Oẓar Neḥmad, ii. 234;
  • De Rossi, Codices. No. 421;
  • Ha-Yonah, p. 32;
  • Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., vii. 85;
  • Michael, Oẓerot Ḥayyim, note 414;
  • Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, pp. 413, 414.
G. M. Sel.
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