33 37 BACHIAH BEN JOSEPH IBN PAQUDA. Chovoth HaLevavoth [ethics and pietism]. Translated into Hebrew by Judah ibn Tibbon. Second edition. ff. 88. Browned, f. 4 stained, lower blank portion of title replaced, previous owner’s inscriptions. Later limp vellum. Sm. 4to. [Vinograd, Venice 335.] Venice, Daniel Bomberg,1548. $3000 - $4000 ❧ In composing this fundamental text of Jewish thought, R. Bachiah (Saragossa, 11th century) attempted to systematize the ethical teachings of Judaism. He writes in his introduction: “The Torah is divided into two parts: The duties to be performed by the organs (chovoth ha’evarim) and the duties of the heart (chovoth ha’lev) - namely those belonging to human conscience. The majority of the rabbis pay attention only to the outward observance of the Law, without regard to the ideas and sentiments embodied in the 613 laws of Moses. Even the pious are often prompted only by selfish and worldly motives.” With this motivation in mind, Chovoth HeLevavoth undertakes to outline moral traits and philosophical concepts, such as the Unity of God, humility and repentance. Originally written in Judeo-Arabic (“Al Hidayah ila Faraid al-Qulub”) the treatise was translated into Hebrew in the 12th century by R. Judah ibn Tibbon so making it accessible to a broader Jewish audience. This translation guaranteed the work’s popularity in Europe in later centuries. Indeed, the Nodah BeYehudah (1713-93) instituted daily in-depth study of the work as one of his Tikkunim to rectify acts of promiscuity (see his responsum Nodah BeYehudah 1:35). 38 BALMES, ABRAHAM DE. Mikneh Avram (Sepher Dikduk). FIRST EDITION. Hebrew only issue (with vowel points). ff. 157. Few light stains, previous owner’s inscriptions, new endpapers. Contemporary blind-tooled vellum over thick wooden boards, with hinges and later clasps, worn. Sm. 4to. [Vinograd, Venice 82.] Venice, Daniel Bomberg,1523. $1500 - $2000 ❧ Abraham de Balmes (d. 1523) was a paradigm of the Italian-Jewish ‘Renaissance man.’ He studied under R. Judah ben Jehiel Messer Leone, served as physician to Cardinal Grimani of Venice and lectured at the University of Padua where he attained renown as an Aristotelian. Greatly valued by contemporary Christian Hebraists, de Balmes prepared this grammar at the urging of the printer Daniel Bomberg, with whom a deep friendship was shared. Mikneh Avram appeared in two issues, with and without a Latin translation, i.e., one for the Jewish market, and the bilingual issue more suited to the needs of Christians. The present “Jewish” version is far more scarce, as the Christian-owned editions were far less likely to have been desecrated. See D. Amram, The Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1963) pp. 169-72.