View full screen - View 1 of Lot 163. HUMAS, O CINCO LIBROS DE LA LEY DIVINA. JUNTAS LAS APHTAROT DEL AÑO (PENTATEUCH WITH HAFTAROT IN JUDEO-SPANISH), AMSTERDAM: MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL, 1654-1655.
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HUMAS, O CINCO LIBROS DE LA LEY DIVINA. JUNTAS LAS APHTAROT DEL AÑO (PENTATEUCH WITH HAFTAROT IN JUDEO-SPANISH), AMSTERDAM: MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL, 1654-1655

Estimate:

2,000

to
- 4,000 USD

HUMAS, O CINCO LIBROS DE LA LEY DIVINA. JUNTAS LAS APHTAROT DEL AÑO (PENTATEUCH WITH HAFTAROT IN JUDEO-SPANISH), AMSTERDAM: MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL, 1654-1655

HUMAS, O CINCO LIBROS DE LA LEY DIVINA. JUNTAS LAS APHTAROT DEL AÑO (PENTATEUCH WITH HAFTAROT IN JUDEO-SPANISH), AMSTERDAM: MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL, 1654-1655

Estimate:

2,000

to
- 4,000 USD

Lot sold:

4,788

USD

HUMAS, O CINCO LIBROS DE LA LEY DIVINA. JUNTAS LAS APHTAROT DEL AÑO (PENTATEUCH WITH HAFTAROT IN JUDEO-SPANISH), AMSTERDAM: MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL, 1654-1655


2 parts in 1 volume: 596 pages (5 7/8 x 3 3/8 in.; 149 x 86 mm) on paper (pagination: [viii], 456, 132). Modern gilt-tooled green leather, by Baker Bindery (Anniston, AL); title lettered in gilt on spine; turn-ins gilt; gilt and gauffered edges; modern marbled paper flyleaves and pastedowns.


An elegant witness to the Judeo-Spanish heritage of Sephardic Jewry.


For at least two hundred years following the persecution of Spanish and Portuguese Jews at the end of the fifteenth century, many Jewish families that had been forced to convert to Christianity chose to leave their native countries and resettle in other parts of Europe, North Africa, and the Ottoman Empire. Because these conversos had lived as non-Jews for so long, some of them had lost their knowledge of Jewish liturgy, law, and doctrine, as well as the Hebrew language. It became necessary, therefore, to compose new treatises that would facilitate reentry into their ancestral faith, as well as translations of classical Jewish texts into the vernacular.


The most important book to be translated was the Hebrew Bible, viewed by many conversos in particular as the primary source of Judaic teaching and halakhah. The first known edition of the Pentateuch in Judeo-Spanish translation (though in Hebrew characters) appeared in Constantinople in 1547 (together with a translation into Greek). This was followed in Ferrara in the 1550s by a pathbreaking series of translations into Judeo-Spanish (in Latin characters) of fundamental Jewish works, most significantly the complete Hebrew Bible (1553). The latter would be reprinted in full at least six times between 1611 and 1762; the same period saw no fewer than nine editions of the Pentateuch with haftarot (lections from the Prophets) only.


One of the primary European destinations to which conversos flocked in this period was Amsterdam, due in no small part to its unusual climate of religious tolerance and its prominence as a commercial hub. It had also become a center of European book publication, with a reputation for freedom of the press, sophisticated printing techniques, strong and high-quality paper, and aesthetically pleasing typography. Rabbi Menasseh Ben Israel (1604-1657), the son of conversos who had immigrated from Lisbon to Amsterdam circa 1613/1614, opened the city’s first Hebrew press in 1626. Over the following three decades, his firm would go on to issue a wide range of titles in Hebrew, Yiddish, Latin, Dutch, English, and, of course, Spanish and Portuguese.


Ben Israel’s first Judeo-Spanish Pentateuch with haftarot appeared in 1627, “translated word-for-word from the Hebrew verity into Spanish.” The following edition, a copy of which comprises the present lot, improved upon its predecessor by modernizing and refining the language of the translation, numbering the verses of the Pentateuch, and heading each chapter of the Pentateuch with a summary by Ben Israel of its contents and the rabbinic exegesis thereon. Ben Israel also appended a brief essay, entitled Harmonia Mosaica, that provides an overview of each of the Five Books of Moses. To this he added, finally, two new tables that set forth the rules for determining when to read two parashiyyot (Torah portions) on one Sabbath and when to read each of the four special parashiyyot that surround the holiday of Purim, respectively. (An abridged calendar at the close of the volume helps these purposes by noting when the New Moons of Tevet, I Adar I, and II Adar are expected to fall during the years 5415-5436 [1655-1676].)


Literature

Harm den Boer, “Libros religiosos castellanos impresos en Amsterdam: Primera muestra de una bibliografía de los impresos castellanos y portugueses de Holanda de (±) 1600-1800,” in José Simón Díaz (ed.), Censo de escritores al servicio de los Austrias y otros estudios bibliográficos (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1983), 33-58, at pp. 36-37 (no. 6), 40-41 (no. 14).


Harm den Boer, “Spanish and Portuguese Editions from the Northern Netherlands in Madrid and Lisbon Public Collections: Towards a Bibliography of Spanish and Portuguese Editions from the Northern Netherlands (±1580-±1820),” Studia Rosenthaliana 22,2 (Autumn 1988): 97-143, at pp. 113 (no. 10), 115 (no. 19).


Harm den Boer, “La Biblia de Ferrara y otras traducciones españolas de la Biblia entre los sefardies de origen converso,” in Iacob M. Hassán with Ángel Berenguer Amador, Introducción a la Biblia de Ferrara (Madrid: Sociedad Estatal Quinto Centenario, 1994), 251-296, at pp. 259, 289.


Harm den Boer, “Amsterdam as ‘Locus’ of Iberian Printing in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” in Yosef Kaplan (ed.), The Dutch Intersection: The Jews and the Netherlands in Modern History (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2008), 87-110.


Harm den Boer, “La Biblia entre los judíos sefardíes de Amsterdam y otras colonias en Europa occidental,” in Gregorio del Olmo Lete and Rosa Navarro Durán (eds.), La Biblia en la literature española (Madrid: Editorial Trotta, 2008), 315-352.


Harm den Boer, “The Ferrara Bible and the Amsterdam Jews,” in Myriam Silvera (ed.), Conversos, marrani e nuove comunitá ebraiche in etá moderna (Florence: Casa Editrice Giuntina, 2015), 119-129.


Meyer Kayserling, Biblioteca española-portugueza-judaica: Dictionnaire bibliographique […] avec un aperçu sur la littérature des juifs espagnols et une collection des proverbes espagnols (Strasbourg: Charles J. Trubner, 1890), 29.


Uriel Macías (ed.), Ediciones en español de los sefardíes de Ámsterdam (Madrid: Bibliotheca Sefarad, 2015), 32.


Joseph Rodriguez de Castro, Biblioteca española, vol. 1 (Madrid: Imprenta Real de la Gazeta, 1781), 478-481.


Cecil Roth, “The Marrano Press at Ferrara, 1552-1555,” The Modern Language Review 38 (1943): 307-317.


Leo Wiener, “The Ferrara Bible II,” Modern Language Notes 11,1 (January 1896): 12-21.


http://cf.uba.uva.nl/en/collections/rosenthaliana/menasseh/20c23/index.html

pencil notations in gutter of 1:iii; episodic pen marks. Decorative device on title page of part 1; inhabited initials at the start of new sections. Light browning and foxing; some corners rounded; periodic dog-earing; outer edge of title page remargined; nicks or short tears in outer edges of 1:iii-viii, 179-180, 2:113-116; small holes in text of 1:121-122, 301-302, 315-316, affecting only individual letters; minor worm track in lower margins of 2:19-42; tear in lower portion of 2:81-82.


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