102 leaves (10½ x 7½ in.; 266 x 190 mm). Title mounted, pen trials on title, title and first few quires somewhat waterstained, occasional dampstains elsewhere, inkstains and signs of correction ff. 99r, 101v; ownership stamp f.2r, 101v; marginalia; worming in last leaf mended affecting a few letters. Cream cloth.
Abraham ben Shem Tov Bibago (15th century) lived, taught, and preached in various cities in northern Spain, including Saragossa, although his name is most often associated with Huesca in Aragon. Derekh Emunah, a work on Divine will, knowledge and providence demonstrates Bibago's familiarity with philosophic and scientific literature, in both Arabic and Latin; Bibago also authored commentaries on Aristotle and Averroes.
This work was written during a period of relative political calm but serious religious challenge to Spanish Jewry, whose foundations had been shaken by the persecutions of 1391 and the waves of conversions that followed in the succeeding decades. Derekh Emunah was created with the idea of strengthening the faith of those Jews who had remained steadfast as well as to reclaim for their original faith, conversos not yet fully committed to Christianity. Bibago argued that Judaism is the one true rational faith, that it leads to salvation, and that God knows and cares for the Jewish people. Maimonides' Guide is Bibago's most important source, mentioned throughout, often several times on a page. He also mentions a broad range of other philosophers, both Jewish and Arab as well as Greek works. He claims familiarity with Christian scholars too, and mentions by name Eusebius' Praeparatio evangelica.
Provenance: Religione Schule, Vienna—their stamp in bottom margin of title.
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