Jacob ben Machir ibn Tibbon

Born on 1236

Died on 1304

Jacob ben Machir ibn Tibbon;

(Hebrew: יעקב בן מכיר ׳ן תיבון), of the Ibn Tibbon family, also known as Prophatius.

Provençal, Jewish astronomer; born, probably at Marseilles, about 1236; died at Montpellier about 1304. He was a grandson of Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon. His Provençal name was Don Profiat Tibbon; the Latin writers called him Profatius Judæus. Jacob occupies a considerable place in the history of astronomy in the Middle Ages. His works, translated into Latin, were quoted by Copernicus, Reinhold, and Clavius. He was also highly reputed as a physician, and, according to Jean Astruc (“Mémoires pour Servir à l’Histoire de la Faculté de Médecine de Montpellier,” p. 168), was regent of the faculty of medicine of Montpellier.

In the controversy between the Maimonists and the anti-Maimonists Jacob defended science against the attacks of Abba Mari and his party; the energetic attitude of the community of Montpellier on that occasion was due to his influence.

Jacob became known by a series of Hebrew translations of Arabic scientific and philosophical works, and above all by two original works on astronomy.