AUCTION 36 | Thursday, March 22nd, 2007 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Printed Books & Manuscripts

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Lot 181


Limborch, Philippus van. Vriendelyke onderhandeling met den geleerden Jood, Isaac Orobio de Castro, over de waarheid van den Christelyken Godsdienst. [“Friendly discussions with the learned Jew Isaac Orobio de Castro about the truth of the Christian religion”]. * Appended: Acosta, Uriel. Voorbeeld van’t Menschelyk Leven [“The Ideal of Human Life”] pp. (36), 747, (5). Contemporary vellum, rubbed. Thick 4to

Amsterdam: Pieter Visser 1735

Est: $1,000 - $1,500
A former professor of medicine in Seville, the Marrano Isaac Orobio de Castro (1620-1687) was forced to flee his homeland for the safety of Amsterdam. There, the outspoken Jewish thinker was free to express his views. He defended Judaism against Christianity repeating the classic counter-arguments first voiced by Nachmanides at the Disputation of Barcelona in 1263. Voltaire wrote of the de Castro-van Limborch debate published here: “This is perhaps the first dispute between two theologians in which no insults are traded; on the contrary, the two adversaries treat each other with respect.” See M.H. Gans, Memorbook (1977), p. 85. Uriel da Costa’s autobiography, Exemplar Humanae Vitae [“The Ideal of Human Life”] was first published in Limborch’s Amica collatio in 1687. Da Costa or Acosta (1585-1640) was a Marrano who sacrificed much for his Judaism in his native Portugal. However, upon reentry into the Jewish community at Amsterdam, he was unable to reconcile himself to rabbinic Judaism, which was so different from the purely Biblical Judaism he imagined in his homeland. After writing a few pages of autobiography, this tragic figure committed suicide. EJ, Vol. V, cols. 987-8