RaLBa”G. 1288-1344). Biur Sefer Daniel, Ezra, Divrei Hayamim [Biblical commentary]

AUCTION 23 | Tuesday, March 30th, 2004 at 1:00
Hebrew Printed Books & Manuscripts from The Rare Book Room of the Jews College Library, London The Third Portion

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Lot 222

RaLBa”G. 1288-1344). Biur Sefer Daniel, Ezra, Divrei Hayamim [Biblical commentary]

Hebrew Manuscript on Paper. French Rabbinical Characters, 28 lines per page. Censor’s signature dated 1603 and 1626 ff. 107. Some foxing. Recent calf backed boards. Folio

14th Century

Est: $50,000 - $60,000
One of the Most Important, Classical Early Biblical Commentaries. Extremely Rare with Textual Variances from the Published Editions. The RaLBa”G was one of the outstanding French scholars of his time. He was distinguished as a mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, physician and Bible commentator. Isaac de Lattes (in the preface to Shaarei Zion) writes that the RaLBa”G “has no equal on earth” regarding his intellectual interests - especially his mastery of all branches of the sciences. His commentaries to the Bible are permeated with the spirit of philosophy and his exegetical explanations remain of great interest. The methodology of the RaLBa”G’s Biblical commentaries initially explain the literal meaning in accordance with grammatical usage, before connecting the ideas and interpretations of an entire chapter. Thereafter, he extracts the ethical, philosophical and religious teachings that may be gleaned from the text, referring to them as “toaliyot.” Although RaLBa”G was primarily a rationalist, there is a distinct mystical element apparent in his commentaries. See commentary on Daniel (eighth “toelet”) where he calculates the date of the coming of the Messiah to be 1358 (if only the Jewish nation would better their ways). The commentary on the Book of Ezra was completed during the month of Adar Sheni 1338 and the commentary on Divrei Hayamim on the second of Nissan 1338 - just a few weeks later. Although not dated, this manuscript was written during this period. The first edition of the commentary on Daniel was published as an incunable (n.p., n.d.) but has since been established by bibliographers to be Ferrara, 1477. The commentaries on Ezra and Divrei Hayamim were first published in Cracow, 1888 by Mordechai Halevi Mortara from a manuscript found in the communal library of Mantua. For a recent study of some aspects of RaLBa”G’s philosophy in his commentaries, see the article by David Horowitz in Hazon Nahum, Studies...Presented to Dr. Norman Lamm (1997), pp. 265-309