View full screen - View 1 of Lot 57. COMMENTARY ON TRACTATE NAZIR, [RABBI PEREZ BEN ISAAC HA-KOHEN], SCRIBE: SOLOMON, [ITALY: FIRST HALF OF THE 16TH CENTURY].
57

COMMENTARY ON TRACTATE NAZIR, [RABBI PEREZ BEN ISAAC HA-KOHEN], SCRIBE: SOLOMON, [ITALY: FIRST HALF OF THE 16TH CENTURY]

Estimate:

20,000 - 30,000 USD

COMMENTARY ON TRACTATE NAZIR, [RABBI PEREZ BEN ISAAC HA-KOHEN], SCRIBE: SOLOMON, [ITALY: FIRST HALF OF THE 16TH CENTURY]

COMMENTARY ON TRACTATE NAZIR, [RABBI PEREZ BEN ISAAC HA-KOHEN], SCRIBE: SOLOMON, [ITALY: FIRST HALF OF THE 16TH CENTURY]

Estimate:

20,000 - 30,000 USD

COMMENTARY ON TRACTATE NAZIR, [RABBI PEREZ BEN ISAAC HA-KOHEN], SCRIBE: SOLOMON, [ITALY: FIRST HALF OF THE 16TH CENTURY]


568 of about 632 pages (8 x 5 5/8 in.; 202 x 142 mm) (collation: i11 [i1 lacking], ii12, iii11 [iii1 lacking], iv-xvii12, xviii11 [xviii1 lacking], xix-xxiii12, xxiv11 [xxiv12 lacking]) on paper; watermarks similar to Briquet 3408 (Udine, 1531 through Reggio Emilia, 1553) and Briquet 7315 (Fano, 1528); modern pagination in pencil in Arabic numerals in center at foot, erased (runs from 55-561, presumably indicating that the codex originally included fifty-four preceding pages); modern pagination in pencil in Arabic numerals in upper-outer corners (cited); written in elegant Sephardic semi-cursive book hand in brown ink; single-column text of twenty-six lines per page (except pp. 289-290 [twenty-three lines], 291-292 [twenty-four lines]); ruled in blind; justification of lines via dilation or contraction of final letters, abbreviation, use of anticipatory letters, and insertion of final letter(s) in outer margin; no headers; decorated catchwords at foot of versos; strikethroughs, corrections, and marginalia in hand of primary scribe, the latter often shaved; marginalia in a later hand on pp. 330-332. Enlarged incipits; Tetragrammaton generally represented via two yodin followed by an abbreviating line; name of scribe (Solomon) dotted on pp. 283-284. About fifty-four (?) pages lacking before p. 1, two pages lacking between pp. 46-47 and 404-405 each, and an unknown number lacking following p. 568; light dampstaining in outer edges; outer corners often rounded or dogeared; minor worming in gutter intermittently throughout, not affecting main text (though sometimes affecting catchwords); ink periodically biting, causing small holes in text on, e.g., pp. 45-46, 67-68, 131-132, 167-168, 205-210, 281-282, 301-302, 309-310, 313-314, 321-326, 351-352; gutters strengthened on pp. 521-524, 545-550, 567-568. Modern brown buckram; paper ticket with manuscript name on spine; shelf mark lettered in gilt on spine; modern paper flyleaves and pastedowns.


The only surviving copy of one of the few medieval commentaries on Tractate Nazir extant.


Rabbi Perez ben Isaac ha-Kohen (1304-1370), probably a native of Manosque in Provence, spent time in Marseilles and Barcelona before finally settling in Toledo. He is best known as the teacher-colleague of Rabbi Nissim of Girona (Ran; ca. 1315-1376) and teacher of Rabbi Isaac ben Sheshet Perfet (Rivash; 1326-1408), both of whom refer to him in deferential terms. The fourteenth-century Provencal chronicler Rabbi Isaac ben Jacob de Lattes noted that R. Perez “explained the Talmud […] well and at length, and he wrote very much, though the greatness of [these commentaries] is not yet well known.” Indeed, to this day his Talmudic prowess remains largely unrecognized since most of his novellae have been lost.


The present lot, however, preserves R. Perez’s commentary on Nazir (the only other tractate his commentary to which survives is Menahot). He writes that he began this work in his youth, around the age of 22, but completed it in his old age. The treatise is distinguished by its author’s tendency to quote the explanations of his predecessors—particularly the rabbis of Chinon and Évreux, as well as his father—prior to offering his own insights. According to one contemporary scholar, this book’s content suggests that R. Perez may have been the first practitioner of a distinctly Sephardic mode of Talmudic iyyun (analysis). The material here extant covers Nazir 4a-64b; one and a half leaves from this codex, commenting on ff. 6b and 64b-65a, are now part of the Kohut Collection at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Ms. K 32).


Nazir is widely considered one of the “special tractates” written in a peculiar dialect of Aramaic that seems not to have benefited from final editorial polishing. While many medieval rabbis attempted to elucidate the Talmudic text, few of their commentaries have come down to us. R. Perez’s work, particularly his preservation of accurate readings of the Talmud and its Tosafot, as well as his explanations of the latter, therefore occupies an important place in the reception history of this tractate and carries the potential to help modern scholars reconstruct much of what is now lost or garbled.


Literature

Avigdor Arieli, “Al ha-peirush ha-meyuhas la-rashba le-massekhet menahot,” Alei sefer 16 (1990): 149-150.


Aharon Gabbai, “Daf hadash mi-tosefot rabbeinu perets kohen le-sof massekhet nazir,” Kovets beit aharon ve-yisra’el 35,3 (207) (2020): 20-42.


Isaac ben Jacob de Lattes, Sha‘arei tsiyyon, ed. Salomon Buber (Przemyśl: Zupnik, Knoller & Hammerschmidt, 1885), 47.


Perez ben Isaac ha-Kohen, Shittat ha-kadmonim: hiddushei rabbeinu perets al massekhet nazir, ed. Moshe Yehuda ha-Kohen Blau (New York: Deutsch Printing & Publishing Co., 1972).


David Solomon Sassoon, Ohel Dawid: Descriptive Catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts in the Sassoon Library, London, 2 vols. ([Oxford]: Oxford University Press; London: Humphrey Milford, 1932), 1:xxvi, 2:703-710 (no. 1033).

To request a condition report for this lot, please contact Shaul.Seidlerfeller.consultant@sothebys.com.