Current Auction: March 16th, 2017
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Lot: 153 Sepher Yetzirah [“Book of Creation”] cosmogony. With traditional commentaries of Nachmanides and Abraham ben David of Posquieres. FIRST EDITION. Title within woodcut architectural arch. Numerous spherical charts and Kabbalistic diagrams.Usually there appears at the end of the volume an illustrated leaf containing important diagrams. In our copy, these volvelles have been cut out and mounted onto the appropriate leaves (ff. 10v., 33r. and 77r). It is most rare to find a copy of Sepher Yetzirah with the volvelles mounted. Wide-margined copy. ff. 105 (ff. 98-105 misbound). With all volvelles (?), lightly stained in paces, few marginal tears; censored on f.78-9 with signatures on title page. Modern half morocco over marbled boards. Sm. 4to. Vinograd, Mantua 86.
Jacob Cohen of Gazolo, Mantua: 1562. Est: $18,000 - $22,000
"The earliest extant Hebrew text of systematic speculative thought" (Scholem).
The Sepher Yetzirah (attributed to Abraham the Patriarch), is not only the earliest - but also the most esoteric of all Kabbalistic texts, and certainly the most influential. Its central subject is a compact discourse on cosmogony, commencing with the declaration that God created the world with "thirty-two secret paths of wisdom." These paths are defined as the Ten Sephiroth along with the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The first chapter elaborates upon the Sephiroth and the remaining five chapters focuses upon the function of the letters. In Talmudic times, it was believed that by utilizing the Sepher Yetzirah one could create life (see Tractate Sanhedrin f. 65b). A FINE COPY OF THIS IMPORTANT TEXT, INCLUDING THE TANTALIZINGLY ELUSIVE VOLVELLES, HERE MOUNTED IN THE APPROPRIATE PLACES.