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Bidding Information
Lot #    19396
Auction End Date    11/13/2007 12:15:30 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah
Title (Hebrew)    שלשלת הקבלה
Author    R. Gedaliah b. Joseph Ibn Yahyah
City    Amsterdam
Publisher    Asher Anshel Hazzan - Kasman
Publication Date    1697
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [4], 100 ff., 175:108 mm., usual age staining, nice margins, old hand on title. A good copy bound in modern cloth boards.
   Jewish history by Gedaliah b. Joseph Ibn Yahyah (1515–1587), historiographer and talmudist in Italy. Born in Imola, Gedaliah lived most of his life in the papal cities in Italy. He studied at several yeshivot including that of R. Jacob Finzi. When Pius V expelled all the Jews from his domains in 1569, Gedaliah, who lost all his possessions, wandered for some time from city to city in Italy. In 1575, after living in Ferrara for a few years he emigrated to Egypt and settled in Alexandria, where he died. Of Gedaliah's more than 20 books only Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah, a very significant work, is extant. From a list of his other writings which he appended to this work, it seems that Gedaliah was master of rabbinic literature and was also interested in magic and history. The list mentions a commentary on the tractate Avot, a collection of 180 sermons, a detailed chronicle of the history of the Ibn Yahya family, a book on dreams and their interpretations, a work homiletical exegesis on the Torah, ethical writings, and numerous other works. Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah ("The Chain of Tradition," Venice, 1587, and many subsequent editions) became one of the most famous Hebrew chronicles, and was used by later Hebrew historiographers, just as Gedaliah himself made use of several earlier Hebrew historiographical works, notably the Sefer ha-Kabbalah by Abraham ibn Daud. The book became popular because of the many stories included in it, but Joseph Solomon Rofe of Kandia (Ya-SHa-R) criticized it as "a chain of lies." Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah has three parts. The first is a short history of the Jewish people from the Creation to the time of the author. Gedaliah generally lists historical facts but always tries to include as many stories as possible. He retells the biblical history, with the addition of many non-biblical stories, mostly midrashic, but some from medieval works, such as Sefer ha-Yashar and Josippon. The history of talmudic and geonic times is based upon the chronicle by R. Sherira Gaon and Sefer ha-Kabbalah. While most of the information about medieval sages and scholars is taken from other Hebrew historiographers, some biographical and bibliographical notes are included which are not known from any other source. In this work, Gedaliah also made extensive use of hagiographical stories which he either read or which he heard (e.g., the cycle of stories about Nahmanides). Historically, the greatest importance of this work lies in the many biographical and bibliographical facts it contains about scholars whom he knew personally, or contemporaries or other scholars whom he heard about first-hand. Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah thus constitutes one of the main sources for Renaissance Jewish history, especially in Italy. The second part of the work consists of a collection of short scientific tractates unconnected with the historical orientation of the book as a whole. Among the subjects of these tractates are magic, angels, heaven and hell, ghosts, medicine, heavenly spheres, coins and measurements, the formation of the embryo, and the making of paper. In most of these discourses, Gedaliah also includes stories of his own personal experience in the various fields. From this it seems that he was a typical Renaissance scholar, who considered all fields of knowledge as his own concern both in his life and in his writings. The third part of the work is again a chronicle, from the Creation to the 16th century, with the emphasis, however, on the history of the other nations: Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and medieval empires and popes. Although in the main the material in this section is more mythological and legendary in nature than historical, it is, nevertheless, one of the earliest Hebrew works in the field of world history. Jewish history establishes the chronological framework of this section, events within the Jewish world being correlated with those outside it. The vivid and interesting stories in this part undoubtedly contributed to the popularity of Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah.
Paragraph 2    ... הובא לדפוס על ידי המשותפים המדפיסים ... כמר אשר אנשיל בן הר"ר אליעזר חזן שלי"ט. והשני ... כמר יששכר בער בלא"א אברהם אליעזר שלי"ט. והחוט המשולש ... שלמה בן כהר"ר יוסף כ"ץ זצ"ל פרופס ... בשנת ת'ב'נ'ה' חומות ירושלים

שירי-התהילה שבהוצאה הראשונה נשמטו. הסכמות: ר' יעקב ששפורטש, אמשטרדם, בא תנ"ז; ר משה יהודא ב"ר קלונימוס הכהן, אמשטרדם, ב שבט תנ"ז; ר' מאיר מרוידניץ, וויזל, כח [מר] חשון תנ"ז.

   CD-EPI 0106184; EJ
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Listing Classification
17th Century:    Checked
Holland:    Checked
History:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica