She'elot le-Hakham, R. Saul ha-Kohen Ashkenazi, Venice 1574 (47877)

שאלות - Only Edition - Abrabanel

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 47877
Title (English): She'elot le-Hakham
Title (Hebrew): שאלות
Note: Only Edition - Abrabanel
Author: R. Saul ha-Kohen Ashkenazi
City: Venice
Publisher: Giovanni di Gara
Publication Date: 1574
Estimated Price: $1,000.00 USD - $3,000.00 USD
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Description

Physical Description

Only edition, 26;31 ff., quarto, 193:145 mm., light age staining, wide margins. A good copy bound in modern leather over boards.

 

Detail Description

Twelve philosophical queries posed by R. Saul ha-Kohen Ashkenazi (1470-1523) to Don Isaac Abrabanel. R. Saul, of German (Ashkenaz) descent, was born in Candia, Crete, and died in Constantinople. He was a student of R. Elijah Delmedigo, who influenced him to devote his attention to philosophy. Situated in northern Italy, a center of Aristotelianism centered in the University of Padua, R.Saul's inquiries are based on and concerned with Maimonides' Mareh Nevukhim.

She'elot le-Hakham is, then, a philosophic treatise in the form of questions posed to and answered by Abrabanel, together with discourses by other authors. R.Saul submitted these queries to Abrabanel in March, 1507. R. Saul introduces himself, noting that he has written other works, studied under del Medigo, and is acquainted with such scholars as R. David ibn Yahya, Eliezer Almanso, and Moses ibn Habib. Saul comrnents that ibn Habib errs in some of his comments on Aristotle, a position sure to find favor with his correspon­dent. Saul addresses Abrabanel with the utmost respect, beginning, "0 my father, my father, the chariot [of Israel, and its horsemen]" (II Kings 2:12, 13:14). The inquiries address the meaning of concepts and phrases, such as final and ultimate form, the throne and image of God as expressed in the Mareh, and the summum bonum and Aristotle's definition of it.

Abrabanel puts aside his other writings to respond. Already seventy years old, Abrabanel complains of infirmities, failing eyesight and difficulty in writing. His secretary has left for Erez Israel and he responds in an Ashkenaz script, to which he is unaccustomed. Nevertheless, he is pleased that a member of the younger generation is so serious. Abrabanel writes with great warmth. R.Saul is invited to spend some time, several years, at his villa, so that he may further instruct him in the Mareh. "I would give you drink of the spiced wine of Maimonides' intellect; teach you as would a father a son." Abrabanel, perhaps in humor, tells R. Saul that of all the matters in the first part of the Mareh he has selected the easiest to inquire about.

Abrabanel's responses constitute a sharp attack on the Averroist interpretation of Maimonides and an outline of Abrabanel's points of agreement and divergence with Maimonides. For example, on the issue of the summum bonum, he writes that Aristotle's position, accepted by Maimonides and Gersonides, is entirely wrong. Abrabanel informs Saul that he is writing Zedek Olamim, on reward and punishment; Lalzakat ha-Neoi'im, which challenges Maimonides' view of prophecy; and a commentary on the Mareh, in which he intends to interpret every chapter in that work. His response to R.Saul is, however, Abrabanel's last literary accomplishment, for he died the following year.

The introduction and queries (2a to lla) are followed by Abrabanel's replies, in order and numbered to correspond to the inquiries (11a-21b), and a discourse by him on the principles of the Moreli (21 b-26a). The second larger part has discourses on the Mareh Nevukhim from R. Moses ben Judah Nagari (2a-18b) and Joseph ibn Gikatilla (19a-31b). This second part has its own pagination and signatures. The colophon is dated Wednes­day, 7 Iyyar, 334 (May 8, 1574).

 

Hebrew Description

להחכם כה"ר שאול הכהן זלה"ה, שאל מאת החכם ... יצחק אבראבניאל זלה"ה פירו’ קצת פרקים מספר מורה הנבוכים ... וקצת עניינים פילוסופיים מספר הכוונות ומאגרת איפשרות הדבקות ... ודברים אחרים ...

דף כא,ב-כו,א: מאמר קצר בביאור סוד המורה ואופן חבורו [מאת ר’ יצחק אברבנאל].

דף ב-ג,א מן הספירה השנייה: קצת ביאורי מהמורה, [מאת] ר’ משה בן יהודה נגרי.

דף ג,א-יח,ב: "פירוש הכ"ה הקדמות שהקדים החכם... לחלק השני מהמורה", מאת אבו בכר בן מחמד אל-תבריזי הפרסי. תורגם מערבית על ידי ר’ יצחק ב"ר נתן הקרטבי במאיורקה.

דף יט-לא: "זה מה שנמצא מספר נחמד ביאור על ספר מורה הנבוכים ... פעם מסייע ... ופעמים ישיב עליו ... וכמדומה שהוא קצת מספר ההשגות שחבר ... ר’ יוסף ן’ גיקטילייא". ‬

 

Reference

Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960 #000168358; 16th Century Hebrew Book, Heller. pp 636-7