AUCTION 41 | Thursday, September 18th, 2008 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, & Graphic Art

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Lot 124


Heisler, Philipp Jacob, D. D. Philipp Jacob Heislers ordentlichen Lehrers der Rechte, Beantwortung der Frage: Ob die Zulassung eines Judeneydes wider einen Christen bedenklich sey? [“Response to the Question: Is the Admission of a Jew's Oath Against a Christian Questionable?”] pp. 39, (1). Foxed. Disbound. 4to Freimann, p. 366

Halle: Johann Christian Hendel 1778

Est: $1,000 - $1,500
In Defense of Jewish Integrity: A Milestone in Prussian Jurisprudence The author, Philipp Jacob Heisler argues against anti-Jewish prejudice expressed in Estor's treatise Von der Misslichkeit der Judeneyde [Of the Unfortunate Nature of the Jew's Oath] (1753). Heisler marshals from secondary sources such as Bodenschatz and Buxtorf the Rabbinical literature concerning Laws of Oaths. Though Heisler is inclined to grant credence to a Jewish testimony, he ends his legal opinion with a caveat: As long as Jews hold Christians to be the Children of Esau and Edom, and view their religion with a total hatred, the testimony of a Jew against a Christian cannot be considered reliable. When in 1782, the Prussian government set about revising the procedure of oath-taking by Jews, the councillor entrusted with the task of reforming the rules, Ernst Ferdinand Klein, consulted with several learned Jews, but first and foremost with Moses Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn was asked to prepare a brief based on Talmudic law to discuss oath-taking procedures. The Prussian authorities wished to be certain there were no grounds for distrusting the veracity of Jewish oaths due to some rabbinically-sanctioned duplicity, as several slanderous writers had suggested. In his brief, besides direct citations from Talmud and Codes, Mendelssohn cited - Heisler's Beantwortung. See A. Altmann, Moses Mendelssohn: A Biographical Study (1973), pp. 496-99; 837, notes 27-28