Sefer HaKuzari.

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 25

Sefer HaKuzari.

Manuscript in Hebrew, written in a square Ashkenazic hand, on both vellum and paper, occasional use of red ink; wide margins. ff. (117). Several leaves with margins removed and subsequently laid to size, censor’s signature on opening page. Later morocco, rubbed. Lg. 4to.

(Germany?): 15th century

Est: $40,000 - $60,000
A finely written copy of a fundamental philosophical text. Completed around 1140 by the Spanish philosopher and poet Judah HaLevi (c. 1075-1141), the Kuzari, originally written in Arabic, is regarded as one of the most important apologetic works of Jewish philosophy. Divided into five parts, it takes the form of a dialogue between a rabbi and a pagan. The pagan is stated as being the king of the Khazars who invited a rabbi to instruct him in the tenets of Judaism. The manuscript commences with an introduction by Judah ben Isaac Cardinal who lived in southern France at the beginning of the 13th century (first published Prague, 1839). The present text of the Kuzari represents the corrected version of ibn Tibbon’s Hebrew translation and therefore does not precede the 15th century. The main body is that of ibn Tibbon, whereas the marginalia and notes that appear between the lines are by Judah Cardinal. The final leaf record comments by the translator directed toward those who believe “Kuzar never was and never will be, but rather was a parable…” This is followed by a poem that commences “forsake, wise men, those books of research…” Although a number of medieval manuscripts of the Kuzari are extant, each is important for the utility of its own unique character and distinct literary content.