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