Josefina Rodríguez-Arribas, PhD
21.04.2022 | 22.03.2023
History of Exact Sciences Research Unit
Phone: +48 22 65 72 836
Office hours: by appointment (send me an email)
PI of PERIPHERIES (a PASIFIC MSCA COFUND project)
PERIPHERIES explores the circulation and exchanges of Jewish/non-Jewish mathematical instruments and their textual/visual repertoires in sources dealing with the use, construction, handling, or study of astronomical instruments in medieval and early modern Europe. The objective is to unveil and understand the role of Jewish culture in the transversal and multilateral circulation of astronomical knowledge and tools by exploring the traces of interreligious uses/circulation of mathematical instruments and their textual/visual sources. As my case study, I take the Jewish invention of the so-called quadrant of Israel, also called the quadrans novus among Christians. The long-lasting and widespread diffusion of this instrument makes it the most helpful marker for revealing the entanglement of cultures around a mathematical artifact. The ultimate objective of the research is to reframe the presence and engagement of Jewish cultures in the medieval and early modern history of astronomy and thus in the history of science. The research will contribute a) to detecting and understanding the Jewish involvement in the production, use, and circulation of the new quadrant and b) to clarify the Christian/Jewish exchanges and networks related to this particular mathematical object. A transversal and multidisciplinary methodology will target the traces of the three corpora (texts, images, and artifacts) bearing explicit or potential information about inter-religious uses, exchanges, and circulation. These signs will be used to plot, describe, and understand Jewish/non-Jewish encounters, interplays, and networks at and across the borders of identities and cultures all over Europe until the 17th century. Peripheries has a strong international dimension and includes the participation of scholars and universities from around the world in conferences, workshops and round tables, specialized courses, and other numerous academic/non-academic outreach activities.
- Intellectual history of Jews
- Premodern and early-modern stellar sciences
- Medieval cosmology
- Mathematical instruments before the telescope
- Material and visual culture of pre-modern astronomy
- Prognostication and prognostic practices in pre-modern Europe and the Mediterranean basin
- Relationships of biblical exegesis and science in the medieval and early modern periods
- Muslim-Jewish-Christian cultural contacts in pre-modern science
- 2004 PhD Hebrew Philology, Universidad Complutense, Madrid (Spain) and Paris IV-Sorbonne (France).
Previous researcher positions
- 2016–2020 Researcher, Institut für Jüdische Studien, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany.
- 2014–2015 Research Fellow, Excellence Cluster, Käte Hamburger Kolleg IKGF, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany.
- 2011–2014 Research Fellow, Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, UK.
- 2009–2010 Fellow researcher, Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Michigan, USA.
- 2009 Victor and Sylvia Blank Fellow, Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Oxford University, UK.
- 2008 Sofia Fellow, Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, UK.
- 2005–2006 Postdoctoral Fellow, Sidney M. Edelstein Center for the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
- 2004–2005 Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. of History of Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA.
- 2003–2004 Visiting Fellow, Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Civilisations, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA.
Monographs (peer-reviewed) (last 4 years)
- 2021 (With Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum, eds), Unveiling the Hidden – Anticipating the Future: Divinatory Practices among Jews Between Qumran and the Modern Period, Leiden: Brill. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004445703
- 2019 (With Charles Burnett, Silke Ackermann, and Ryan Szpiech, eds), Astrolabes in Medieval Cultures, Leiden: Brill (2nd edition). https://doi.org/10.1163/15700674-12342243
Peer-rewieved chapters and articles (last 4 years)
- 2021 “Introductory Essay: Divination in Jewish Cultures,” in Unveiling the Hidden–Anticipating the Future: Divinatory Practices among Jews Between Qumran and the Modern Period, ed. J. Rodríguez–Arribas and D. Gieseler Greenbaum, Leiden: Brill, pp. 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004445703_002
- 2021 “Judah bar Barzillai and His Role in Abraham bar Ḥiyya’s Letter on Astrology,” in Unveiling the Hidden– Anticipating the Future: Divinatory Practices among Jews Between Qumran and the Modern Period, ed. J. Rodríguez–Arribas and D. Gieseler Greenbaum, Leiden: Brill, pp. 192–216. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004445703_008
- 2021 (With Amos Geula) “Abraham bar Hiyya’s Letter to Judah Bar Barzillai – A Translation,” in Unveiling the Hidden – Anticipating the Future: Divinatory Practices among Jews Between Qumran and the Modern Period, ed. J. Rodríguez–Arribas and D. Gieseler Greenbaum, Leiden: Brill, pp. 217–260. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004445703_009
- 2021 “Astral Sciences: Jewish Traditions and Practices in the Medieval World,” in Prognostication in the Medieval World: A Handbook, ed. Matthias Heiduk, Klaus Herbers, and Hans-Christian Lehner, Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, pp. 516–531. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110499773-027
- 2021 “Mathematical Instruments in Astrology,” in Prognostication in the Medieval World: A Handbook, ed. Matthias Heiduk, Klaus Herbers, and Hans-Christian Lehner, Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, pp. 861–873. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110499773-068
- 2021 “Medical Plates in Astrological Medicine,” in Prognostication in the Medieval World: A Handbook, ed. Matthias Heiduk, Klaus Herbers, and Hans-Christian Lehner, Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, pp. 874–883. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110499773-069
- 2020 (With Maud Kozodoy), “Josef Ṭaiṭaṣaq on the Construction of an Astrolabe: Study, Diplomatic Edition, and Annotated Translation,” Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism 20, 1–2 (2020), pp. 7–101. https://doi.org/10.2979/aleph.20.1-2.0007
- 2019 “The Astrolabe Finger Ring of Bonetus de Latis: Study, Latin text, and English Translation with Commentary,” in Astrolabes in Medieval Cultures, Leiden: Brill, pp. 45–106. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004387867_005
- 2018 “Medical and Astrological Plates: Their Roles in Medieval and Renaissance Knowledge,” in Heaven and Earth United—Understanding Instruments in Astrological Contexts, ed. Silke Ackermann and Richard Dunn, London: Brill, pp. 42–60. https://doi.org/10.1017/rqx.2021.25
- 2018 “Divination according to Goralot: Lots and Geomancy in Hebrew Manuscripts,” in Geomancy and Other Forms of Divination, ed. Alessandro Palazzo and Irene Zavattero, Firenze: Sismel Edizioni del Galluzzo (Micrologus Library vol. 87), pp. 243–270.
- 2018 “A Treatise on the Construction of Astrolabes by Jacob ben Abi Abraham Isaac al-Corsuno (Barcelona, 1378): Hebrew Edition, Translation and Commentary,” Journal for the History of Astronomy 49, 1 (2018), 27–82 (Hebrew edition and Appendices only available online). https://doi.org/10.1177/0021828618755773