Avigdor, Abraham

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AVIGDOR, ABRAHAM , also known as Abram Bonet Avigdor and Bonet Ben Meshullam Ben Solomon Avigdor (second half 14th century), French physician, translator from Latin to Hebrew, and philosophic author. Avigdor was born in Arles, Provence, of a distinguished family of physicians. Abraham spent 12 years in Montpellier, where he pursued medical and philosophical studies. He is the first Jewish writer to mention his studies in this well-known School of Medicine. It is not excluded that he even taught there. He settled in Arles, where he practiced medicine.

Avigdor's only independent work is Sefer Segullat Melakhim, which he composed in 1367 at the age of 17 as a student in Montpellier. Written in rhymed prose, the work is influenced by al-*Ghazālī's Maqāṣid al-Falāsifa. In it Avigdor emphasizes the importance of logic and complains that the natural philosophers do not esteem this discipline highly enough. Statements dispersed throughout the work disclose that Avigdor was a pious Jew. In spite of his love of science and philosophy he takes to task those scholars who through imprecision of expression foster error and heresy. His work echoes the controversy between the followers and opponents of philosophy that had engaged the Jews of southern France in the 13th century (Mss. Paris Cod. Hebr. 990; Munich 44, 1; and Parma, de'Rossi, 402, 3; 1342, 2). Avigdor also composed a supercommentary on Averroes' middle commentary on the first three sections of Aristotle's Organon (Ms. Munich 63, 3–5). His translations from the Latin include (1) Higgayon or HiggayonKaẓer or Trattato, a translation of Peter of Spain's Summulae logicales. The translation is precise, though the order of the chapters is changed at times and there are occasional additions and deletions (Bodleian Library, Ms. Mich, 280; Bodl. 56); (2) Mavo bi-Melakhah, a translation of Bernard Alberti's Introductorium in practicam pro provectis in theorica. It is a work devoted to medicines and based on the fourth book of Avicenna's Canon (Mss. Berlin, Or. Qu. 544; Munich 297, 2; Paris, Cod. Hebr. 1054, 12; (3) Mevo ha-Ne'arim is the wrong name, preserved in many manuscripts, of the Hebrew translation of two parts of a well-known medical textbook written by Gerard de Solo, a prominent 14th century professor, the Tractatus de febrivus. Avigdor finished it in 1379, and it was preserved in no fewer than 21 manuscripts (Mss. Hamburg 308, 4; Munich 296, 297; Parma, de'Rossi 399; Bodleian, Mich. 135; etc.). Lola Ferre edited the Latin text and the Hebrew translation (Miscelánea de Estudios Árabes y Hebreos, secc. Hebr., 45 (1996) 149–83); (4) Be'ur, a commentary also by Gerard de Solo on Ad Almansorem, a Latin translation of part of al-Rāzī's Kitāb al-Manṣūrī, to which Avigdor added valuable comments (Munich, 296, 1); (5) Pirkei Arnau, a translation of the Medicationis parabolae or Regulae generales written in 1300 by Arnoldus de Villanova (Arnau de Vilanova), a famous Spanish physician. It was finished around 1388, and has been preserved in seven manuscripts (Munich, Cod. Hebr. 286; Firenze Pl. 88, c. 36, f. 15; London, Brit. Libr., Or. 10507; Macerata, Bibl. Com. 310, 2; Hamburg 308, 3; Munich, Cod. Hebr. 297; Milano 137). The work has been published by Lola Ferre, based on Munich, Cod. Hebr. 286, in: J.A. Paniagua, L. Ferre, E. Feliú: Medicationis parabole. Pirqé Arnau de Vilanova, avomo, Vol. vl, 1, Barcelona: Universidad de Barcelona, 1990; (6) Megillah, translated in 1380, a reference book dealing with digestive and purgative drugs, the Practica by Johannes of Parma, extant in seven manuscripts (Paris, Bibl. Nat. 1054, 11 and 1128, 10; Hamburg 308, 2; London, Brit. Libr., Or. 1036; Berlin, Staatsbibliothek 71, 3 and 245; Jerusalem, nul b 1, 8º 85 b 140), edited, translated and studied by Lola Ferre (Práctica de Johannes de Parma, Granada: Univ. de Granada, 2002).

Avigdor also aided his son Solomon in translating an astronomical work by Arnoldus de Villanova entitled De judiciis astronomiae or Capitula astrologiae, whose title in the Hebrew translation was Panim ba-Mishpat.


G. Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, 3, pt. 2 (1948), 1380–82; E. Carmoly, Histoire des médecins juifs (1844); Renan, Ecrivains, 717–21; Steinschneider, Uebersetzungen, index, s.v.Abraham Abigedor, Bonet; H. Friedenwald, Jews and Medicine (1944), 685–9; Gross, Gal Jud, 333–4. add. bibliography: L. Ferre, "La version hebrea del Tratado De Febribus de Gerard de Solo," in: Miscelánea de Estudios Árabes y Hebreos, secc. Hebr., 45 (1996), 149–83.

[I.M. Salkind /

Angel Saenz-Badillos (2nd ed.)]