Kethav Hithnatzluth [“Letter of Apology”]

AUCTION 80 | Thursday, March 28th, 2019 at 1:00 PM
The Valmadonna Trust Library: Further Selections from the Historic Collection. * Hebrew Printing in America. * Graphic & Ceremonial Art

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Lot 1

Kethav Hithnatzluth [“Letter of Apology”]

Manuscript in Hebrew, written in an Italian hand, on fine, thin vellum, with wide margins. Censors’ signatures from 1555, 1603 and 1610. Stamp at end of Padua-based professor, Rabbi Lelio della Torre (1805-71). ff. (84). Small dark stain on several leaves slightly affecting letter, upper corner of final three leaves repaired, not affecting text. Later vellum. 16mo.

(Italy): First-half of 15th century

Est: $30,000 - $40,000
The author (1270-1340) was a philosopher and poet who originated from Provence and later settled in Barcelona. He was a strong supporter of Maimonides’ philosophical orientation when it was still unpopular. On account of the ban proclaimed by R. Shlomo ibn Adereth (Rashb’a) on those who study philosophy below the age of 25, Hapenini (or Bedersi as he was also known - originating from Béziers) wrote this Letter of Apology supporting the study of such texts. Other well-known works of Hapenini include Bechinath Olam and Bakashath HaMemim which were well accepted by the later rabbinical establishment who both studied and subsequently commented upon them (see for example R. Yom Tov Lipman Heller to Bechinath Olam, Prague 1598). This miniature manuscript was written in Northern Italy. It features large opening words in Aschkenazic square style with text in Italian semi-cursive. Guard-word at the end of each quire with a design above the word. Written c.1435 based on the type of ruling and in comparison with other dated manuscripts. <<AN EXQUISITELY COMPOSED MANUSCRIPT OF AN IMPORTANT DEFENSE OF THE STUDY OF PHILOSOPHY.>>