Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

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| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Ḥanokh ben Solomon ben Ḥanokh al-Qosṭanṭini (fl. before 1384)

  • Görge HasselhoffEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_163-1


In his well-preserved and well-transmitted treatise Mar’ōt Elōhīm (“Visions of God”), the Iberian Neoplatonic philosopher Ḥanokh al-Qosṭanṭini (fourteenth century) compares and interprets the visions of God by Biblical prophets. His cosmological reflections are one of the bridge stones between the Maimonidean philosophy of the twelfth through the fourteenth century and the later traditions of the fifteenth century, e.g., Ḥasdai Crescas.

Synonyms/Alternate Names


Little is known about Ḥanokh’s biography. He seems to have been a medical doctor and lived in Spain toward the end of the fourteenth century. Since Langermann (2003, p. 184) refers to a manuscript (MS St Petersburg, Russian National Library Evreiskii II A 73) not mentioned by Sirat which is dated Aleppo 1384, he must have finished the work before that date. His father seems to have been Solomon ben Hanokh Al-Qostantini, author of the Sefer Megalleh Amukot (The Revealer of Hidden Things), usually dated Burgos 1352 (e.g., Vatican Library, MS ebreo 59, cf. Sirat 1985, p. 445).

His only known work is the Mar’ōt Elōhīm (Visions of God), an allegorical commentary on (and comparison of) the visions of the Biblical prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Zachariah. Usually, he is counted among the Neoplatonic thinkers.

Heritage and Rupture with the Tradition

Ḥanokh remains an unoriginal thinker in the Maimonidean tradition. He quotes intensively from Maimonides’ More ha-Nevukhim (Guide of the Perplexed in Shmuel ibn Tibbon’s translation) but also from Ibn Gabirol’s Fons vitae (Fountain of Life) in Shem-Tov ben Joseph Falaquera’s Hebrew translation. Additionally, he seems to have used Averroistic writings and perhaps even Christian texts translated into Hebrew (cf. Sirat 1985, p. 343).

In one point he seems to correct Maimonides’ cosmology in so far that he interprets the tenth sphere is not empty as was hold by him in Guide II, 9. This “correction” might be taken from Moshe Narboni (Altmann 1987, pp. 53–54).

Impact and Legacy

Although we are not informed about a direct impact of his work, it was relatively broadly transmitted. The treatise is preserved in at least 20 manuscripts. He was commented on at least by Menahem b. Jacob Kara (fifteenth century) who wrote a commentary on that work (Suler 1935, p. 412; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Opp. 585).



Primary Literature

  1. Hanokh, B. Salomon Al-Qostantini, 1976. Les visions divines. Introduction, traduction et notes par Colette Sirat. Jerusalem: [s.n.].Google Scholar

Secondary Literature

  1. Altmann, A. 1987. Von der mittelalterlichen zur modernen Aufklärung: Studien zur jüdischen Geistesgeschichte. Tübingen: Mohr (Texts and Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Judaism, 2).Google Scholar
  2. Langermann, Y. Tz. 2003. A Judaeo-Arabic Poem Attributed to Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. MEAH, sección Hebreo 52: 183–200.Google Scholar
  3. Schwartz, D. 1996. The philosophy of a fourteenth century Jewish Neoplatonic Circle (Hebr.). Jerusalem: Bialik.Google Scholar
  4. Sirat, C. 1985. A history of Jewish philosophy in the Middle Ages. Cambridge at al.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Suler, B. 1935. Ein Maimonides-Streit in Prag im sechzehnten Jahrhundert. Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Juden in der Čechoslovakischen Republik 7: 411–420.Google Scholar
  6. Visi, T. 2011. On the Peripheries of Ashkenaz. Medieval Jewish Philosophers in Normandy and in the Czech Lands from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Century. Olomouc Palacky University, 2011Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fak. 14 Humanwissenschaften und TheologieTU DortmundDortmundGermany