AUCTION 72 | Thursday, March 16th, 2017 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Holy Land Maps & Fine Art

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Lot 155


Gaffarel, M.I. Curiositez Inouyes, sur la Sculpture Talismanique des Persans. Horoscope des Patriarches, et Lecture des Estoiles [“Unheard of Curiosities of the Talismanic Sculpture of the Persians, the Horoscope of the Patriarchs, and Reading the Stars.”] pp. (16), 315. Lightly browned. Contemporary limp vellum. 8vo.

Rouen: Jean Boullay 1632

Est: $1,500 - $2,000
One of the chief exponents of 17th-century Christian Kabbalism, French Catholic Jacques Gaffarel (1601-81) was a scholar of Oriental languages who defended the Kabbalah against attacks by Mersenne and others. Librarian to Cardinal Richelieu, he was a also a respected astrologer. This, Gaffarel’s most celebrated work, is most wide-ranging. It includes a defense of the Jews against several classic calumnies, and a positive examination of astrology from the Persian tradition. Within his account of minerals, Gafarrel launches into an examination of the concept of the “talisman,” a figure or image engraved within a mineral which has the ability to tap the power of a celestial constellation. Much discussion is present concerning the suggested mystical powers of the Hebrew letters, as well as the theory that the constellations have been arranged in the form of letters, and by knowing how to “read” the heavens, one may foretell the future. Hence the presence in the volume of woodcut celestial maps upon which stars have been depicted in the form of Hebrew letters.