De Arcanis Catholicae Veritatis.

AUCTION 33 | Tuesday, June 20th, 2006 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Including Hebrew Printed Books, Manuscripts, & Autograph Letters

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Lot 59

De Arcanis Catholicae Veritatis.

FIRST EDITION. Latin interspersed with Hebrew, Greek, and Ethiopic. A wide-margined copy. The title page and twelve additional pages contain frames from Decachordum Christianum (1507). It is particularly uncommon to find a copy containing all thirteen frames. Numerous initial letters historiated. Scattered Latin marginalia. ff. 311, (1). Lacking opening blank. Title soiled. Previous owners’ inscription on title. Hole in f.227 affecting frame on recto and historiated initial on verso. Bottom margin of ff. 231-243 slightly wormed. Later half-calf. Folio Adams C-2418; Heller, Sixteenth Century Hebrew Book, I, pp. 116-117 (incl. facs. of title)

Ortona: Gershom Soncino 1518

Est: $7,000 - $9,000
SIGNET LIBRARY COPY FROM THE SONCINO PRESS. “A SOURCE BOOK FOR CHRISTIAN HEBRAISTS AND KABBALISTS THROUGHOUT THE 16TH CENTURY” Pietro Columna Galatinus, an Italian Christian theologian, Hebraist and Kabbalist, was one of those who supported Johannes Reuchlin in his attempts to silence Johannes Pfefferkorn, an apostate Jew who agitated for the confiscation of the Talmud and other Jewish books in the beginning of the sixteenth century. De Arcanis, Galatinus’s most important work, was an attempt to use Jewish sources, including the Zohar, to prove the veracity of Catholicism. While it demonstrated the utility of Jewish sources for Christian needs, and thus vindicated Reuchlin’s position, it also attacked Judaism. The potential ramifications of the Reuchlin-Pfefferkorn controversy, and Galatinus’s stated desire in De Arcanis to see the Talmud published (Bomberg had not yet begun to publish his pioneering edition), may have been what caused its Jewish printer, Gershom Socinco, to overlook the book’s anti-Jewish content when agreeing to print it. De Arcanis is one of just four books that Gershom Soncino printed during his short sojourn in Ortona. The Latin text of De Arcanis contains many Hebrew quotes. Indeed it was the first book printed in Ortona with Hebrew type - as well as Ethiopic and Greek type.