Mivchar Ha’peninim [“A Choice of Pearls”- ethics]. Translated from the original Arabic by Judah ibn Tibbon. With an annonymous commentary

AUCTION 15 | Tuesday, March 12th, 2002 at 1:00
Fine Hebrew Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art The Property of Various Owners

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Lot 395

Mivchar Ha’peninim [“A Choice of Pearls”- ethics]. Translated from the original Arabic by Judah ibn Tibbon. With an annonymous commentary

FIRST EDITION ff. 58 (of 60), lacking the opening blank, last leaf provided in facsimile. Light stains in places, scattered worming, paper repairs, few leaves reinforced at hinges, previous owners inscriptions on opening leaf. Recent half-morocco marbled boards, gently rubbed at edges, lacking small portion of spine. Sm. 4to Vinograd, Soncino 3; Offenberg 57; Goff Heb-98; Freimann-Marx, Thesaurus A 27; Goldstein 25

Soncino: Joshua Solomon Soncino 14th January, 1484

Est: $20,000 - $25,000
THE VERY FIRST WORK PUBLISHED BY THE SONCINO FAMILY OF PRINTERS. The first work typeset by the House of Soncino, was the Talmudic tractate Berachoth, which was completed on 19th December 1483. However, it was not published for sale and distribution until 2nd February 1484. Consequently, ibn Gvirol’s Mivchar Ha’peninim, which was published on 14th January 1484 is the first published work emanating from the House of Soncino. (See Amram, The Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy, pp.56-60). The Soncino dynasty, maintains a most esteemed place in the history of Hebrew printing. They began their proliferate labors at the beginning of the 1480’s, establishing presses in various Italian cities, including Soncino, Brescia and Casale-Maggiore, and later in Constantinople and Salonika as well. “For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the Word of the Lord from Soncino,” became the favored proverb of the Soncino press. Solomon ibn Gvirol was born in 1021 in Malaga, Spain, and orphaned in childhood. He moved to Saragossa, which was a center of Jewish learning and began to write and compose poetry. By the tender age of sixteen, he was already a fully fledged poet of the first rank. The literary output of ibn Gvirol was immense. His philosophical poems express lofty thoughts and disclose a neo-Platonic framework. He struggles with personal salvation and defines the purpose of the life of man to be the communion of the soul with its source. Ibn Gvirol's ethical poems present an exalted ode to God, an all-encompassing epic of the universe, he expresses a longing for national salvation despite a humble submission and reverence for God On the authenticity of ibn Gvirol’s authorship of the Mivchar Ha’peninim, see A. Marx, Gabirol’s Authorship of the Choice of Pearls and the Two Versions of Joseph Kimchi’s Shekel Hakodesh, in: Studies in Books and Booklore (1944) pp.9-25