SEFER IKKARIM (BOOK OF PRINCIPLES), RABBI JOSEPH ALBO, RIMINI: GERSHOM SONCINO, 1522
154 folios (7 7/8 x 5 1/2 in.; 200 x 140 mm) (collation: 4, i-xxxvi4, xxxvii6) on paper; modern foliation in pencil in Arabic numerals in lower-outer corner of recto. Printer’s device on title page; enlarged woodcut initial letters surrounded by woodcut decorative borders on f. [5r]. Slight scattered staining; dampstaining; repairs intermittently in outer edges; expurgation of a number of words by a censor; minor worming on ff. 153-154 (apparently supplied). Modern elaborately blind-tooled morocco, slight scratched on upper board; spine in five compartments with raised bands; title, plcae, and date lettered in gilt on spine; modern paper flyleaves and pastedowns.
The fourth edition of a highly popular, systematic examination of Jewish theology.
Rabbi Joseph Albo flourished in Spain between 1413, when he participated in the Disputation of Tortosa, and 1433. The authorial colophon of his Sefer ha-ikkarim, a fundamental treatise of Jewish theology and philosophy, records its completion at Soria in 1425. The work is divided into four parts: an introduction to the author’s dogmatic system, followed by his exposition of each of three ikkarim (fundamental principles of Jewish faith) – the existence of God, divine revelation, and reward and punishment – as well as their shorashim (derivative principles) and anafim (obligatory dogmas). A long section of part three of the book was taken to be anti-Christian, and the papal censors removed the offending leaves from a large proportion of the surviving exemplars. This is specifically alluded to in the Book of Expurgation compiled by Domenico Irosolomitano, of which several manuscript copies are known. Domenico wrote of the twenty-fifth chapter of part three that it was proper to censor the entire chapter “or, better still, to tear it out of the book.”
Judah bar Jacob Katz (f. [1r])
Isaiah Ami (f. 154v)
A.M. Habermann, Ha-madpisim benei soncino: toledoteihem u-reshimat ha-sefarim ha-ivrim she-nidpesu al yedeihem (Vienna: David Fraenkel, 1933), 61-62 (no. 75).
Marvin J. Heller, The Sixteenth Century Hebrew Book: An Abridged Thesaurus, vol. 1 (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2004), 146-147.
William Popper, The Censorship of Hebrew Books (New York: Ktav Pub. House, 1969), 85.
Vinograd, Rimini 4
Isaac Yudlov and G.J. Ormann, Sefer ginzei yisra’el: sefarim, hoverot, va-alonim me-osef dr. yisra’el mehlman, asher be-beit ha-sefarim ha-le’ummi ve-ha-universita’i (Jerusalem: JNUL, 1984), 193 (no. 1191).