“Go Out from Your Sign”: Rashi to Genesis 15:5 as a Reference to Astrological Primary Direction – Its Background in Rabbinic Literature and Parallels in Abraham bar Ḥiyya
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How to Cite

Wikander, O. (2020). “Go Out from Your Sign”: Rashi to Genesis 15:5 as a Reference to Astrological Primary Direction – Its Background in Rabbinic Literature and Parallels in Abraham bar Ḥiyya. Old Testament Essays, 33(3), 556 - 581. Retrieved from https://ote-journal.otwsa-otssa.org.za/index.php/journal/article/view/373

Abstract

This article suggests that Rashi’s exegetical commentary to Gen 15:5, in which Abram counts the stars, is meant to invoke an association with the astrological technique known as Primary Directions (based on equating one degree of Right Ascension in the rotation of the earth around its axis with one year of life), which was one of the main methods of prognostication in pre-modern astrology – beginning already in Hellenistic times and quite central in Mediaeval astrological thinking. Rabbinic sources discussing the relevant biblical passage and the idea of Abraham as a supreme astrologer are analysed, along with parallel material from Abraham bar Ḥiyya and Ibn ʿEzrā. The article examines both what Rashi kept and what he removed from his Rabbinic sources, and elaborates on the role of astrological thinking in his milieu.

 

https://doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2020/v33n3a11

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