On fluidity of the textual transmission in Abraham bar Hiyya’s Ḥibbur ha-Meshiḥah ve-ha-Tishboret

Michael Friedman, David Garber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examine one of the well-known mathematical works of Abraham bar Ḥiyya: Ḥibbur ha-Meshiḥah ve-ha-Tishboret, written between 1116 and 1145, which is one of the first extant mathematical manuscripts in Hebrew. In the secondary literature about this work, two main theses have been presented: the first is that one Urtext exists; the second is that two recensions were written—a shorter, more practical one, and a longer, more scientific one. Critically comparing the eight known copies of the Ḥibbur, we show that contrary to these two theses, one should adopt a fluid model of textual transmission for the various manuscripts of the Ḥibbur, because neither of these two theses can account fully for the changes among the various manuscripts. We hence offer to concentrate on the typology of the variations among the various manuscripts, dealing with macro-changes (such as omissions or additions of proofs, additional appendices or a reorganization of the text itself), and micro-changes (such as textual and pictorial variants).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-174
Number of pages52
JournalArchive for History of Exact Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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