Dante’s influence on Hebrew literature

‘Immanu’el ben Šhelomoh (ca. 1261-ca. 1332).

צמנאל מחברת ספר [Sefer Machbaroth ‘Immanu‘el. Hebrew]. Constantinople, Eli‘ezer ben Geršom Soncino, 1535.

‘Immanu’el ben Šhelomoh (ca. 1261-ca. 1332) צמנאל מחברת ספר [Sefer Machbaroth ‘Immanu‘el. Hebrew]. Eli‘ezer ben Geršom Soncino, 1535.

4° (200x145 mm). Collation: 1-394. [156] leaves. Text in Hebrew. Title-page within woodcut architectural border (frame slightly trimmed). Early twentieth-century brown morocco, over pasteboards. Covers blind tooled in antique style. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves. A good copy. Some repairs to the title-page, fol. [148] stained, light waterstaining and foxing on a few leaves. Manuscript notes in Hebrew on the title-page and verso of last leaf, censor's signature on recto of last leaf, dated 1597.

Second edition – the first with vocalic punctuation – of this important literary work, first published in Brescia in 1491 by Gershom Soncino, the greatest pioneer of Hebrew printing; the elder Soncino was active in various Italian towns from the late fifteenth century until 1527, when he was forced to flee to Salonika, part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1530, the Soncinos moved to Constantinople and four years later Gershom passed away; his son, Eli‘ezer, continued the business until 1547, issuing at least twenty-eight editions of this signal work.

The Sefer Machbaroth is a composite text divided into twenty-eight chapters that alternate between prose and verse. It was written by the poet 'Immanu‘el ben Šhelomoh, or Immanuel the Jew, known in Italian as Manoello Giudeo. Born in Rome, he lived in numerous towns in central Italy, including Perugia, Fabriano, Fermo, and Camerino, as well as in Verona, while Dante was still living there. The last part of the work contains the short poem Ha-Tofet ve-ha-Eden ('The Hell and Paradise'), an account of the author's journey through Hell and Paradise; the influence of Dante's poem is evident, and numerous episodes from the Commedia would seem to have served as a model.

Adams I-51; Habermann, Soncino 2, p. 83; CB 5269/2; Vinograd II, 153; A. Yaari, Hebrew Printing at Constantinople, Jerusalem 1967, 119. Zedner 324; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 89.

$ 7.800