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LEVI, RAPHAEL:

German mathematician; died May 17, 1779, in Hanover, whither his father, Jacob Joseph Levi, a poor pedler, had gone with him, then a boy of eight years, and had died a few days after their arrival. The orphan lad was provided for at the Israelitische Armenschule. At one time Leibnitz had occasion to hear some of his observations in respect to building materials, and was struck by the strong intellectual power which they manifested. He became very much interested in him, and himself instructed him in the higher mathematics. A portrait of Levi has been preserved in the Leibnitzhaus.

Of Levi's published works the following may be mentioned: "Zwei Logarithmische Tafeln," Hanover, 1747; "Vorbericht vom Gebrauche der Neuerfundenen Logarithmischen Wechseltabellen mit Fortsetzung," Leipsic, 1748; "Supplement zu dem Vorbericht," etc., Hanover, 1748; "Tekunat ha-Shomayim: Ueber Astronomie und Kalenderkunde,Namentlich Commentirung der Talmudischen und Rabbinischen Aussprüche Darüber, um Hilkot Kiddush ha-Hodesh Maimuni's zu Verstehen. Dazu Noten und Glossen von Mose ben Jekutiel," Amsterdam, 1756; and "Neue Compendiöse Allg. Cours- und Wechsel-Tafeln," etc. Several of his minor writings remained unpublished; but, from material contained in them, Simon Waltsch (Simeon ben Nathan Naṭa') issued a commentary on Maimonides' rules for the calendar, Berlin, 1786.

Bibliography:
  • Brüll, in Allg. Deutsche Biographie, xviii. 505;
  • Blogg, Sefer ha-Ḥayyim, p. 313, Hanover, 1848;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. ii. 236.
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