Amudei Kesef u-Maskiyyot Kesef, R. Joseph Caspi, Frankfort am Main 1848 (48807)

עמודי כסף ומשכיות כסף - Only Edition

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 48807
Title (English): Amudei Kesef u-Maskiyyot Kesef
Title (Hebrew): עמודי כסף ומשכיות כסף
Note: Only Edition
Author: R. Joseph ben Abba Mari Caspi
City: Frankfort am Main
Publisher: Jacob Bach
Publication Date: 1848
Estimated Price: $200.00 USD - $500.00 USD
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Description

Physical Description:

Only edition. [9], 151, [1], [3], 7 xvi, pp. octavo 225:135 mm., wide margins, light age staining. A very good copy bound in contemporary boards, rubbed.

 

Detailed Description:   

Only edition of this commentary on Maimonides’ Moreh Nevuhim (Guide of the Perplexed) by R. Joseph ben Abba Mari Caspi. Amudei Kesef u-Maskiyyot Kesef was printed from a manuscript edited by S.A. Werbloner. There are facing Hebrew and Latin title pages followed by introductions from Werbloner and then the text. At the end of the book is a German title page and introductory material in German by R. Kirchheim. Included is an esoteric commentary on the Moreh Nevuhim.

R. Joseph ben Abba Mari Caspi (En Bonafoux del'Argentière, 1279–1340?), philosopher, biblical commentator, and grammarian. Motivated by an intense desire for wisdom and knowledge, and being a wealthy man, Kaspi spent most of his days traveling from one country to another, living successively in Arles, Tarascon, Aragon, Catalonia, and on the island of Majorca. Because of his admiration for Maimonides , he left for Egypt in 1314 in order to hear explanations on the latter's Guide of the Perplexed from the author's grandchildren. He was, however, disappointed in his expectations and came to realize that the grandchildren of Maimonides were indeed "all righteous, but they did not occupy themselves with the study of the sciences." When he heard that the Guide was being studied in the Muslim philosophical schools of Fez, he left for that town (in 1332) in order to observe their method of study. At the time of the Pastoureaux (Shepherds' Persecutions, 1320), he was in mortal danger and his life was saved only by great fortune. Kaspi was a prolific writer ( the EJ enumerate 31 titles written by R. Caspi). He began to write his works when 17 years old and composed over 30 books during his lifetime. These books dealt with a variety of subjects: logic, linguistics, ethics, theology, biblical exegesis, and super-commentaries to Abraham Ibn Ezra and Maimonides. Despite their variety, all have essentially the same purpose: to demonstrate that a correct understanding of Scripture accords with the conclusions of philosophy. In his philosophic system he followed Aristotle and Averroes . On more than one occasion, however, he expressed contradictory opinions. Kaspi rejected the viewpoint that Maimonides had supposedly refuted the theory of the eternity of the world. He raised the importance of reason to the level of God, "because reason is God and God is reason." In spite of these ideas which border on heresy, Kaspi wrote that "after our God, blessed be He, we have no need for Plato, Aristotle, and their ilk, even if they dispute this fact."

At the same time, since the true meaning of Scripture, the opinions of the Greek philosophers and the views of Maimonides are identical regarding the creation of the world, Kaspi did not affirm the traditional belief in creation. On the other hand, since he was not only a philosopher, and his Bible commentary dealt with the plain or literal meaning (peshat) of Scripture, he was influenced to a great extent by the exegetical approach of Abraham ibn Ezra. Accordingly, he declared that "all the words of the Torah and the Bible are in my opinion to be accepted in their plain meaning, like the books on logic and nature of Aristotle" and, in his view, there was not "in the wonders of the prophets any action which departed from nature." He defines his aim as "not to be a fool who believes in everything, but only in that which can be verified by proof… and not to be of the second unthinking category which disbelieves from the start of its inquiry," since "certain things must be accepted by tradition, because they cannot be proven." This complicated method adopted by R. Kaspi aroused violent criticism against him on the part of Jewish scholars. In referring to his first work, Sefer ha-Sod ("Book of the Secret"), his critics not only attacked his unorthodox opinions, but also accused him of inconsistency: "At times he is meticulous with groats and, on other occasions, he disregards golden coins." They also protested against his abuse of the masses, whom he had referred to as "animals," and accused him of having insulted the Jewish people. Kaspi was very offended by his critics and wrote of them with bitterness: "I know that if I had murdered and taken possession of ten guilders and presented them with these, they would have said that there is no man on earth like me for honesty and righteousness." He severely criticized "the great of our people." With sharp irony, he described them as "idling away all their days with unfounded arguments and lengthy discussions on the laws of uncleanliness and purity which no longer apply." With the same scorn he wrote of the wealthy, whose "body is fat and whose neck is thick" and the whole of their wisdom lies in that they know how to "lend and extract [their] debts." Kaspi's anger did not silence his opponents, and 150 years after his death Jewish scholars still differed over the evaluation of his personality and his works. R. Simeon b. Zemaḥ Duran and Don Isaac Abrabanel considered him a dangerous heretic. On the other hand, Johanan Alemanno and R. Moses Rieti praised his works and considered him among the most illustrious Jewish scholars. Kaspi attempted to educate his children toward perfect virtues. He accustomed them to "meditate after every meal, morning and evening, on the ethics of the philosophers." Before one of his journeys, he wrote the work Ha-Musar ("Ethics") for his son Solomon, "lest the wind of God carries me off to a distant land or death overtake me… and perhaps these ethics will serve for [his son's] understanding and the instruction of many of the inhabitants of the country." In this work, which includes the fundamentals of his faith, he teaches his son that "truth should neither be cowardly nor bashful." This work also serves as a testament, since in it Kaspi hands down to his son a detailed program and guide of his system of learning: "and if he will act in this way, he will be a man who will combine wisdom with understanding." Kaspi was the first to declare of the return of Israel to its country and the establishment of the Jewish state: "it becomes every intelligent person to believe in this by logic and reason, so that the promises of the Scriptures will not be required at all."

 

Hebrew Description:

שני פרושים על ספר המורה להרמב"ם ז"ל. חברם ... יוסף כספי. העתקתים מכתבי יד אשר בבתי אוצר הספרים במינכען ולייפציג והוצאתים לאור עם הגהות ותוספות שונות ([מאת] רפאל ליב קירכהיים), אנכי שלמה זלמן (במהור"ר אליהו) ווערבלונר מראסיין ...

שני שערים נוספים: hebraica Commentaria ... Kaspi Josephi in R. Mosis Maimonidis Tractatum Dalalat al Haiirin, sive Salomo Werbluner... Doctor Perplexorum ... Edidit ... Die Kommentare von Joseph Kaspi... zu Dalalat al Haiirin von Moses Maimuni... Herausgegeben von Salomon Werbluner

עמ' [9-3]: הקדמת המגיה, חתום "ק.", הוא ר' רפאל ליב קירכהיים , שהוסיף גם תולדות המחבר בגרמנית. (XVI עמ'); הקדמת המעתיק והמביא לבית הדפוס, ר' שלמה זלמן ווערבלונר.

הסכמות, בגרמנית: Salomon Rapaport, Prag, 12 Ijor 5605; Z. Frankel, Dresden, 15 August 1844; Michael Sachs, Berlin, 12 Novbr. 1844; B. M. Adler, A. M. Fuld, Frankfurt a. M., 1 Juny 1847.

 

References:

Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960 #000106217; BE ayin 854; EJ