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Bidding Information
Lot #    6013
Auction End Date    11/18/2003 10:50:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Milhamot ha-Shem
Title (Hebrew)    מלחמות השם
Author    [First Ed.] R. Levi b. Gershon (Ralbag)
City    Riva de Trento
Publisher    Three Partners
Publication Date    1560
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   75 ff., folio, 284:196 mm., light age staining, initial few ff, expertly backed in lower margins. A good copy bound in modern cloth boards.
Paragraph 1    The Hebrew printing press in Riva, which was active between 1558 and 1562 and produced about 35 titles. The press owed its success to the cooperation of three men: Cardinal Cristoforo Madruzzo, bishop of Trent, who had jurisdiction over the town and whose coat-of-arms appears on many of the Riva publications; R. Joseph b. Nathan Ottolenghi, rabbi and rosh yeshivah at Cremona; and Jacob Marcaria, dayyan and physician, also of Cremona, who was the printer and contributed learned prefaces to his productions.
   The Author's major work, to which he constantly refers in his commentaries on Averroes and the Bible, begun in about 1317 and completed in 1329. In this work, he treats problems which, in his opinion, have not received a satisfactory solution by preceding philosophers, including Maimonides. Divided into six parts, the work deals with: the immortality of the soul (first book), dream, divination, and prophecy (second book), divine knowledge (third book), providence (fourth book), celestial spheres, separate intellects and their relationship with G-d (fifth book), the creation of the world, miracles, and the criteria by which one recognizes the true prophet (sixth book). Numerous manuscripts of the Milhamot are extant, but the book was printed only twice, and then imperfectly (Riva di Trento, 1560 and Leipzig, 1863).

The Milhamot is written in a precise and technical Hebrew. In almost all the questions analyzed, Levi quotes the opinions of his predecessors - Aristotle, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Themistius, Al-Farabi, Avicenna - with whom he became acquainted largely by reading Averroes, as well as the opinions of Averroes himself and of Maimonides. He enumerates the arguments that, respectively, support and disprove their theses and, finally, he expounds his own theory. The Milhamot contains an almost complete system of philosophy and theology. However, this work cannot be understood unless one is familiar with Ralbag's commentaries on Averroes and the Bible, which explain and complement the Milhamot on many points. In order to understand the ideas of Ralbag, one should have recourse to all his philosophical and exegetic works.

R. Levi b. Gershon (Ralbag)(1288–1344 also called Gersonides), mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and biblical commentator, born probably at Bagnols-sur-CIze, France. He lived primarily in Orange and briefly at Avignon. Levi had very broad intellectual interests and contributed to many areas of human learning.

Paragraph 2    להפלוסוף... רבי לוי בן גרשון זצ"ל. הוגה והורם סולת מתוך ספרי ארסטר ושאר פלוסופי... אנשי שם... מעבר לשער הקדמת הרופא יעקב מרקריאה: הגהתיו... והדבר קשה... ראיתיו בספרי ארסטוטלוס ושאר אנשי השם... וצרפתינהו לי משם. החלק הראשון של המאמר החמישי נשמט, כי "הוא ספר גדול בפני עצמו (מחכמת התכונה וממה שהתבאר בספר המגסטי) אין זה מקומו" (דף לא,ב). קולופון: תם ונשלם... שנת שכ"א לפ"ק בימי חנוכה.
   CD-EPI 0174667; EJ
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Listing Classification
16th Century:    Checked
Italy:    Checked
Other:    Philosophy
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica