Seminary Exhibits Jewish Astronomer’s Charts Used by Columbus

THE JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY’S MUSEUM TODAY HAD ON DISPLAY A FIFTEENTH-CENTURY BOOK OF THE ASTRONOMICAL CHARTS USED BY CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS IN HIS LATER VOYAGES.

THE CHARTS, WHICH COLUMBUS MENTIONED IN HIS DIARY, WERE PREPARED FOR HIM BY ABRAHAM BEN SAMUEL ZACUT (OR ZACUTO), A JEWISH ASTRONOMER OF SALAMANCA. THE SEMINARY’S COPY OF THE BOOK, DISPLAYED IN CONNECTION WITH CELEBRATION OF COLUMBUS DAY, WAS OWNED BY COLUMBUS. PRINTED IN THE 1496 EDITION OF ZACUT’S “GREAT COMPOSITION,” THE COPY IS ONE OF ABOUT FIFTEEN EXTANT TODAY.

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