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The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia
Gracian, Zerahiah ben Isaac ben Shealtiel (Ḥen)
Physician, philosopher, translator, Hebraist; flourished about the end of the thirteenth century; born either at Barcelona or at Toledo. Confounded with Zerahiah b. Isaac ha-Levi Saladin, a translator. Zerahiah went to Rome about 1277, and wrote all his works there before 1290. In writing to the physician Hillel of Verona he makes the point that while commenting upon the difficult passages of the "Moreh" he followed the criticisms of Naḥmanides. It may be inferred from his commentary to Job that Arabic was his native language. He wrote a philosophical commentary to Proverbs, finished Nov. 28, 1288; another to Job, in which he derives many words from the Arabic. Both commentaries were published by Schwarz: the former in "Ha-Shaḥar" (2:65-80,105-112,169-176,209-240,281-288,300-314) under the title of "Imre Da'at"; the latter in his "Tiḳwat Enosh" (Berlin, 1868). He wrote also a commentary on difficult, passages of the "Moreh" of Maimonides, comparing the work with that of Aristotle. Zerahiah was a prolific translator from Arabic into Hebrew of philosophical and medical works. Among his translations are the following:
- Aristotle's "Physics" under the Hebrew title "Sefer ha-Ṭeba'";
- "Metaphysics" under the title of "Mah she-Aḥar ha-Teba'";
- "De Cœlo et Mundo" under the title of "Ha-Shamayim weha-'Olam";
- "De Anima" under the title of "Sefer ha-Nefesh";
- "De Causis" under the title of "Ha-Bi'ur ha-Ṭob ha-Gamur";
- Averroes' Middle Commentaries to Aristotle's "Physics," "Metaphysics," and "De Cœlo et Mundo," and the commentary of Themistius to the last-named work;
- the first two books of Avicenna's "Canon";
- Al-Farabi's "Risalah fl Mahiyyat al-Nafs" (Treatise on the Substance of the Soul), the Hebrew title of which is "Ma'mar be-Mahut ha-Nefesh" (published by Edelmann in his "Ḥemdah Genuzah," Königsberg, 1856);
- a medical work of Galen under the title of "Sefer he-Ḥola'im weha-Miḳrim" (The Book of Diseases and Accidents), from the Arabic of Ḥunain ibn Isḥaḳ;
- three chapters of Galen's Καταγενή, with the same title in Hebrew characters;
- Maimonides' treatise on sexual intercourse ("Fial-Jima'");
- the "Aphorisms" of Maimonides ("Fuṣul Musa"), terminated at Rome in 1277. Zerahiah's translations were mostly made for Shabbethai b. Solomon in 1284.
- Steinschneider, Hebr. Uebers. pp. 111-114, 125, 146, 160, 262, 295, 652, 764, 765;
- idem, Hebr. Bibl. 4:125, 8:89, 10:50, 11:42,91,136, 12:43,47, 16:86;
- Zunz, G. S. 3:269;
- idem, Notes on Benjamin of Tudela, ed. Asher, 2:32;
- Oẓar Neḥmad, 2:229-245, 3:109-111;
- Geiger, in Jüd. Zeit. 7:149;
- Carmoly, Revue Orientale, 1:443-445;
- Michael, Or ha-Ḥayyim, p. 370;
- Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, pp. 337, 338.
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Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Gracian, Zerahiah ben Isaac ben Shealtiel (Ḥen)'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/g/gracian-zerahiah-ben-isaac-ben-shealtiel-en.html. 1901.
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