Talk:Pedro Nunes

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Pedro Nunes and Judaism[edit]

Admittedly my Portuguese isn't that good yet but I THINK the Portuguese version of that article states as fact that he was a new Christian. This version has "maybe". Can anyone check the sources at the bottom of the POrtuguese version and see how well it is support. Cheers. A Geek Tragedy 20:43, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Was Nunes a New Christian?' Remember this is a man so undocumented that even the month and day of his birth are unknown. A Google search for 'Pedro Nunes Judaism' gets 26,000 hits. Someone with more patience than I might find a reliable source in there. I found a page from that declares "..nothing in the writings of Pedro Nunes reveals any sign of Crypto-Judaism", but I don't know what Instituto Camoes really is, whether it's academic. There are other pages that give him a serious Jewish connection, but I don't know whether to trust them either. Everyone agrees that he married a Catholic. The Dictionary of Scientific Biography (a printed source, but something like an encylopedia, hence not too reliable) has nothing to connect him with Judaism, but they are more interested in his scientific work. Before this can be resolved either way, someone may have to dig to find an academic paper by a real historian. EdJohnston 04:00, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Not sure on the judaism issue, but the Instituto Camões is one of top institutions in Portuguese culture, together with the Gulbenkian Foundation. It is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. English language mission statement here [here]. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Galf (talkcontribs) 10:10, 10 March 2007 (UTC).
The Dictionary of Scientific Biography is a very reliable source, actually. Not all encyclopedias are unreliable. SmaleDuffin 23:01, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
That work was good on the science, but if I remember the article, there was hardly anything about his background or personal life. EdJohnston 00:00, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
Personal data from the 16th Century are hard to find on anyone, at least in Portugal it is. Very little is really known about Pedro Nunes, other than his work. Even the picture shown in the article (at the stamp) is *not* his picture but as artistic reconstruction of how he might have looked, since there is not any contemporary picture of him. There is an article on newspaper Expresso about that at Mathematic Teachers Association site (APM - my free translation of the name) (in Portuguese).
As to being a New Christian, as far as I remember he was. I've added the only source I could get my hands on for now, but I can't get any hits for it's ISBN (ISBN 972-699-847-6) on the net, maybe because it is a recent (2006) book... - Nabla 00:14, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Hello. My PhD thesis is related to Pedro Nunes. My thesis supervisor is (maybe) one of the greatest living authorities on the man. Me, and him, really never found anything in his texts that can prove anything about his Jewish background. People usually assume that he was Jewish because of his grandchildren trials.(Bjalmeida (talk) 11:14, 19 November 2007 (UTC))

Glad to have you participate! Do you know of any major books on Nunes that we don't currently have in our reference list? And have you noticed any factual errors in the article? It would be interesting to know who your supervisor is, and what type of work on Nunes he might have published. EdJohnston (talk) 16:28, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
I notice that you recently deleted some sentences from the article, but without leaving any edit summary. I hope you will follow up here on why you think the material should be removed. EdJohnston (talk) 17:26, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, in the History business you always have to know that is really difficult to have a final word on things you investigate, right? There are some minor things. But I will keep contributing, as far as my possibilities can go, to improve this article. We are all learners forever :) There are some good things that are not in books. I can suggest one thing for now. As far as I can tell the best bio as been made by Joaquim de Carvalho: Carvalho, Joaquim, «Pedro Nunes», in Grande Enciclopédia Portuguesa e Brasileira, Vol. 19, (Lisboa and Rio de Janeiro, Editorial Enciclopédia, 1935) pp. 53-65. My supervisor is Henrique Leitão and he is now (well, since 2000) supervising the full edition (reedition of the first volumes) of Nunes’ works, in 8 volumes.Bjalmeida (talk) 17:53, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Please check out the following sources that indicate that he had Jewish parents and was likely a Marrano Jew

This all adds credibility that Nunes was a Marrano Jew. KosherJava (talk) 16:39, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

This is a man whose life is not well-documented. We know that he had two relatives who were Jewish, from other sources. If you want to make Pedro himself be a Jew, please quote the actual passages that establish that. What I've seen so far (prior to your own comment here) is mostly hand-waving and speculative. He did marry a Catholic; that much is known for sure. EdJohnston (talk) 17:28, 3 October 2008 (UTC)


I deleted: "For example, he saw the importance of the Portuguese navigators being able to sail south of the equator despite previous author's assurances that it was impossible, thereby demonstrating that the antipodes existed and that men lived there just as in Europe, something that "even the saints deemed as impossible".[1]", because Nunes didn't demonstrate this.He was not even the first to talk about this.Bjalmeida (talk) 18:16, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

I deleted: "(Livro de Algebra), aiming for non scholars.[2] That he wrote in Spanish is considered surprising by some historians, given that Spain was Portugal's main rival in a fight for world dominance of the seas." Because the Libro de Algebra was one of the most important Algebra books after Cardano's before Viète's and no common man would understand it. Besides knowing how to read you had to have very good training in mathematics. Nunes' rhetoric doesn't prove that the book was made for the "common man". If you take the political map of Europe by the time Nunes wrote it, maybe one could think that the objective was spreading it. By that time the notion of rivalry between Portugal and Spain was different of what we have in mind nowadays. Bjalmeida (talk) 18:16, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

I corrected: "stating that it was a mathematically correct model. In doing so he apparently wished to avoid giving an opinion on the question on whether the Earth or the Sun was the center of the system." This thing about appearances...there is no way to prove this, and I think is not serious history. Just my opinion. You can read more about it in Leitão, Henrique,«Uma nota sobre Pedro Nunes e Copérnico», Gazeta de Matemática, 143 (2002) 46-63.Bjalmeida (talk) 18:16, 19 November 2007 (UTC)


  • Clarification needed:
    Nunes knew Copernicus' work but he only made a short reference to it in his published works, with the objective of correcting some mathematical errors
  • Where were these errors? In Nune's or in Copernicus' work?

--Haruth (talk) 23:31, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Expert Talk[edit]

Confirmation of assertion in the following paragraph (highlighted in the main article):

Much of Nunes' work related to navigation. He was the first to understand why a ship maintaining a steady course would not travel along a great circle, the shortest path between two points on Earth, but would instead follow a spiral course, called a loxodrome

--Haruth (talk) 23:31, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

--Guerinsylvie (talk) 10:25, 5 August 2010 (UTC) : Good Morning, i am new( in english-WP), and french-locutor ; for me, this precedent affirmation is no problem, therefore :
  • Nunes was Geographer of the King and the problem, at this time, was "the Great Volte" : so mathematical geography is asked for navigation. So, Nunes discovered the difference between arc of loxodrome and arc of great-circle : this subject is part of his glory : 1637, publication of : Tratato da sphera, then , 1666 : De arte navigandi. Mercator follow : 1641 then 1669. Then Harriot, Stevin, E.Wright,Clavius,etc. In France, we have an excellent modern book :d'Hollander, la Loxodromie. And, mainly, in Portugal, 2002: congress on Pedro Nunes (500th birthday).
  • More, if you want ; Best-respects.{PS : why don't you translate the portugese-page of WP ?}
  1. ^ in Tratado em defensão da carta de marear, quoted by Dias, J. S. da Silva (see above)
  2. ^ "[...] possam per si aprender e em pouco tempo, e facilmente, sem mais ajuda de mestre, in Livro de Algebra, quoted by Calafate, Pedro (see above)