Sefer Yuhasin ha-Shalom, R. Abraham Zacuto, London - Edinburg 1857 (48994)

ספר יוחסין - First Edition - R. Jacob Emden

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 48994
Title (English): Sefer Yuhasin
Title (Hebrew): ספר יוחסין
Note: First Edition
Author: R. Abraham Zacuto; R. Jacob Emden
City: London - Edinburg
Publisher: H. Filipowski
Publication Date: 1857
Estimated Price: $200.00 USD - $500.00 USD
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Description

Physical Description

First edition. vii, [1], 254, [2]; 62 pp., 210:130 mm., nice margins, usual light age staining. A very good copy bound in contemporary full vellum over boards, rubbed.             

 

Detailed Description  

Sefer Yuhasin re-edited from the original manuscript in Oxford; first edition of R. Jacob Emden's notes from manuscript in Jews' College; included is Contra-Apion by Josephus with several other historic documents.

A history of the Jewish nation by R. Abraham b. Samuel Zacuto (1452–c. 1515), astronomer and historian. Sefer ha-Yuhasin, a work composed in the spirit of the writings of his predecessors (e.g., R. Sherira b. Hanina Gaon, R. Abraham ibn Daud, author of Sefer ha-Kabbalah, Maimonides and others who had written introductions to the Talmud), intended to outline the historical development of the Oral Law and to establish the chronology of the Jewish sages who had transmitted it. Meant for scholarly study by students of Jewish lore, and to stimulate debate, this work at times elucidates a particular law for the specific purpose of fostering greater faith. The originality of the research is mainly contained in the first two treatises of his book, which cover the period of the Second Temple, the Mishnah, and the Talmud. From the standpoint of completeness, these treatises are superior to anything written by R. Zacuto's predecessors and they laid the foundations for scholarly research by succeeding generations. In numerous passages, he takes issue with Maimonides and R. Abraham ibn Daud, to whose writings he refers as Kabbalat he-Hasid. Chapters three and four of Sefer ha-Yuhasin discuss the succession of the savoraim, the geonim, and the rabbis. (In his treatment of the material Zacuto, by and large, follows the line of thought of R. Abraham ibn Daud.) Chapter five expounds the epoch from the beginning of the rabbinic period in Europe until the author's time (the period of the expulsions from Spain and Portugal). In the latter treatise, Zacuto bases himself on a Hebrew chronicle which was also the groundwork of similar writings by Joseph b. Zaddik of ArMvalo and Abraham b. Solomon of Torrutiel (there is no reason to assume that the latter's work was known to Zacuto). A large part of the treatise, however, is original research and analysis, based on later rabbinic literature. R. Zacuto incorporated in the chapter the well-known story about the appearance of the Zohar in Spain, by R. Isaac b. Samuel of Acre. The author disregarded the critical conclusions that might be drawn from the story and confirmed the belief that the disciples of R. Simeon b. Yohai had compiled the Zohar. Consequently he relied on the Zohar in matters of halakhah and history. The sixth chapter is a chronological outline of the history of various nations and the scientific research and inventions carried out by their scholars. This treatise is based on Latin and Spanish works. While R. Zacuto's approach to astronomy is scientific in these analyses, his views are restricted by Jewish tradition and aggadah. He also seems careless and disparaging in his examination of gentile lore. The advantage in its study he saw mainly in that "it greatly assists the Jews dwelling among Christians to argue with them about their religion." Sefer ha-Yuhasin was first published by Samuel Shalom (Constantinople, 1566) together with an introduction and notes by the editor, as well as a Hebrew translation of Josephus' Contra Apionem. It was next published in Cracow (1580–81) with the notes of R. Moses b. Israel Isserles, and many times thereafter.

R. Jacob Emden (pen name Yavez; derived from Ya'akov Ben Zevi; 1697–1776), rabbi, halakhic authority, kabbalist, and anti-Shabbatean polemicist. R. Emden was regarded as one of the outstanding scholars of his generation. R. Emden's teacher was his father R. Zevi Hirsch Ashkenazi (Hakham Zevi). He inherited his father's interest in secular studies, his dissociation from the Ashkenazi method of study (pilpul) and customs, his stormy, independent, and uncompromising character, and his devotion to the campaign against the Shabbateans and their sympathizers. In addition, he possessed a fine literary talent, a critical tendency and a knowledge unusual for his age of general non-halakhic Jewish literature. He was also familiar with sciences and languages (German, Dutch, Latin). Despite his distinguished descent and his remarkable talmudic attainments, R. Emden occupied no official position, with the exception of a few years as rabbi of Emden (1728–1733). This made it possible for him to be exceptionally critical toward the society and the tradition of his time. He was more on guard about anything that he considered hillul ha-Shem (bringing the name of the Jew into disrepute) than for the good name of the rabbinate and of the community. He made extensive use of the private printing press he founded in Altona to disseminate his views.

His important halakhic works are: Lehem Shamayim, on the Mishnah (pt. 1, 1728; pt. 2, 1768); a letter of criticism against R. Ezekiel Katzenellenbogen, rabbi of Altona (1736); responsa, She'elat Yavez (2 pts. 1738–59), Mor u-Kezi'ah, on the Shulhan Arukh, OH, (2 pts., 1761–68). In addition, he published an important edition of the prayer book (whose parts had different names) with a valuable commentary (1745–48). This prayer book was reprinted several times. His main historical importance lies in his campaigns against the Shabbateans to which he dedicated many years. He relentlessly examined and investigated every suspicious phenomenon pertaining to the sect. He called upon the contemporary rabbis to publish excommunications and mercilessly attacked anyone suspected of supporting or showing sympathy to the Shabbateans. The Shabbateans were accustomed to introduce hints of their secret doctrine into their literary works, particularly in the field of Kabbalah. Consequently, R. Emden became an expert in uncovering such allusions and hidden meanings, and developed an extraordinarily sharp critical faculty by which he could recognize any suggestion of the Shabbatean heresy. Many books in which no one saw anything to which objection could be taken, were condemned by him as heretical. Though at times he was at fault and suspected the innocent without cause, his judgment in general was sound.

 

Hebrew Description

... ועתה יצא ראשונה בתמימות כעצם העתקת כ"י המחבר הנמצאת באוקספורד. ונלוו אליו הגהות יעב"ץ [יעקב ב"ר צבי עמדין] הכתובות על גליון ספר יוחסין דפוס קוסטנטינא הנמצא בבית המדרש דעיר לונדון. סדרו והעריכו לדפוס... צבי פיליפאווסקי... (חלק א-ב).

הספר מחולק לששה "מאמרים". עמ' 253-251: סדר תנאים ואמוראים. 62 עמ': "חלק שני לספר יוחסין". [1]: יוסף הכהן נגד אפיון. מתורגם ממני בשלימות מספר יוזיפוס בלשון יון ובשאר לשונות, לא כנוסח הקצר... דקונסטנטינא [שכ"ו]"; [2]: בנין הורדוס, לקוח מספר חמש עשרה ליוזיפוס פרק יא; [3]: אגרת רב שרירא גאון. "מתורגם ממני ללשון המשנה, לפי כתבי יד". עם השינויים שבנוסח הנדפס בספר חופש מטמונים (1845 Berolini) ובשומר ציון הנאמן (אלטאנא תרי"א-תרי"ב, גליון קו-קיז); [4]: הערה מאת ר' דוב גאלדבערג; [5]: אגרת ר' אברהם פריצול בענין עשרת השבטים; [6]: אגרת יהושע בן נון; [7]: תיקונים מאת רפאל קירכהיים, "אחרי צאת חלק ראשון לספר יוחסין השלם לאור". אגרת רש"ג (מס' [3]) במהדורה זו היא בעיקרה העתקה מארמית לעברית של הנוסח שבספר יוחסין דפוס קושטא. ראה: ב. מ. לוין, אגרת רב שרירא גאון, חיפה תרפ"א, מבוא, ד' יג-יד. הדף הראשון של מהדורת פיליפובסקי נדפס פעמיים, בשתי נוסחאות שונות זו מזו. ראה לוין, שם. מס' [6-5] נדפסו כבר בהוצאות הקודמות של הספר, וחזרו ונדפסו כאן ללא שינוי. החלק השני כולו (62 עמ') נדפס וצורף לספר לאחר צאתו לאור של החלק הראשון (רוסט, עמ' 40, רושם טופס ללא 62 עמ' אלו). צייטלין (קרית ספר, לייפציג 1895-1891, עמ' 85-84) רושם חלק זה כספר נפרד: תשלום היוחסין, אדינבורג 1860. המסדר עצמו צירף אחר כך חלק זה, בשם "תשלום היוחסין", לספרו מועד מועדים (לאנדאן תרכ"ח), ושם הוא קורא לו "חלק שני לספר יוחסין".

 

References

Friedberg 370.10; Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960 #000309590; JE