were a number of Jewish men of science in Spain. Among those
who took an interest in medicine was Øisdai b. Isaac
[Ibn Shaprut], who was in the service of Al-Hakam b. Abd
al-Raøman al Nasir li-Din Allah. He specialized in
the art of medicine and had an exemplary knowledge of the
science of Jewish law. He was the first to open for Andalusian
Jewry the gates of their [i.e., Muslim] science of jurisprudence,
chronology, and other subjects. . . .
When Øisdai became attached to al-Hakam II, gaining
his highest regard for professional ability, his great talent,
and his culture, he was able to procure through him the
works of the Jews in the East which he desired. Then he
taught the Jews of Spain that of which they had previously
been ignorant. They were able as a result of this to dispense
with the inconvenience [of having to rely on the Jewish
authorities in Babylonia] which had burdened them.