USQUE, SAMUEL. Consolação ás Tribulações de Israel [“Consolation for the Tribulations of Israel.”]

AUCTION 75 | Thursday, March 08th, 2018 at 1:00 PM
Auction of Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Antiquities, Ceremonial Objects & Graphic Art

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Lot 231

USQUE, SAMUEL. Consolação ás Tribulações de Israel [“Consolation for the Tribulations of Israel.”]

Second edition (first edition almost entirely destroyed). Lattice-work device on title. Text in Portuguese. ff. (1), 270, (2). Initial blanks removed, stamp effaced from title, trimmed, lightly browned and stained in places. 17th-century blind-tooled calf over wooden boards with two metal hinges, clasps expertly replaced, spine with later gilt lettering. 8vo.


Est: $40,000 - $60,000
<<A fundamental medieval Jewish chronicle and considered one of the great classics of Portuguese literature.>> Born in Portugal of a Marrano family, the author (c. 1500- c. 1565) was a man of great culture, thoroughly versed in both Jewish and secular literature. “Written in limpid Portuguese prose, the Consolacam was dedicated to the great patroness of Jewish art and culture, Dona Gracia Nasi. Its avowed purpose was to persuade Marrano refugees from Spain and Portugal, and perhaps also Marranos still present in those two countries, to return wholeheartedly to Judaism. To this end, the author, in a sweeping review of Jewish history, based upon traditional Jewish apologetics, demonstrated that the Jews, despite their centuries of hardship and persecution, had not been abandoned by God; they were rather, he declared, standing on the threshold of a golden messianic age.” EJ, XVI cols. 21-2. The first edition of the Consolacam (Ferrara, 1553) was almost entirely destroyed by the Inquisition shortly after its publication. The second, exceptionally scarce edition (Amsterdam, 1599) marks the beginning of a Sephardic literature in the Netherlands. The first and second editions of the Consolacam are almost identical but for differences in type. For an examination of issue points, see M.A. Cohen, Samuel Usque’s Consolation for the Tribulations of Israel (1964) pp. 32 and 297-8. Written in the aftermath of one of the greatest upheavals in Jewish history, Usque’s historic and philosophic narrative attempts to explain the Divine reasoning behind the Expulsions from Spain and Portugal, the sufferings of the Marranos during the Inquisition and the immense challenges that faced the Sephardim who did indeed leave the Iberian peninsula. According to Cecil Roth, Usque likely visited England upon his departure from Portugal as he provides in this work several reminiscences of England including an account of the suffering of the Jews there and their eventual expulsion in 1290. <<“This book may be numbered as the rarest of the rare.”>> King Manuel’s Catalogue (Livros Antigos Portuguezes), Vol. II pp. 302-79.