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Bidding Information
Lot #    9385
Auction End Date    2/15/2005 1:24:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Goren Nahon Tikkun Middot ha-Nefesh
Title (Hebrew)    גורן נכון תקון מדות הנפש
Author    R. Solomon b. Judah ibn Gabirol
City    Luneville, France
Publisher    Abraham Prizek
Publication Date    1807
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   20, 4, 4-15, 15-27, 4, [2] ff., 266:208 mm., extra wide margins (55 mm!), light age and damp staining. A very good copy bound in modern half leather and marbled paper boards.
   Tikkun Middot ha-Nifesh (The Improvement of the Moral Qualities) was translated into Hebrew from the Arabic by R. Judah ibn Tibbon (1167); the original Arabic manuscript is still extant. A popular exposition of ibn Gabirol's views, it has fared better, from a Jewish perspective, than the more metaphysical Mekor Hayyim. Unlike that work, Tikkun Middot has numerous biblical citations and omits Platonic philosophy. It was written in Saragossa in 1045, at the request of friends who wanted a work that addressed the qualities of man and how they might be improved. Tikkun Middot ha-Nefesh is unusual, for virtues and vices are explained in relationship to the senses and in it ibn Gabirol attempts to establish the principles of ethics intellectually apart from religious doctrine. Essentially, the qualities of the soul are made manifest through the senses. There are twenty moral qualities, four per physical sense, that is, two virtues and two vices, which in turn are constituted of the four humors of the human body. For example, under sight is pride, meekness, modesty, and impudence; under hearing, love, hate, mercy, and cruelty. Tikkun Middot ha-Nefesh has been reprinted several times and there is an English translation.

The renowned poet and philosopher, R. Solomon b. Judah ibn Gabirol (c. 102o-c. 1057), was born in Malaga, his great skill as a poet was already recognized when ibn Gabirol was young, and it is for his poetry that he is most widely remembered today. Considered by many the leading religious poet of medieval Spain, many of his piyyutim have been incorporated into the liturgy, including the Azharot, which has been the subject of several commentaries. Ibn Gabirol's secular poems are mostly about love or his own misfortunes. Ibn Gabirol's most important philosophical book, Mekor Hayyim (fountain of Life), was written in Arabic, as were many of his other works. Mekor Hayyim was translated into Latin as Fons Vitae, and as such it exerted a considerable influence on scholastic philosophy, the author being known as Avicebron. Xeoplatonic in outlook, and with few biblical and rabbinic citations, its Jewish authorship was forgotten until, in the 1840's, Solomon Munk discovered a manuscript of extracts made by R. Shem Tov ibn Falaquera in the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris. Two ethical works are attributed to ibn Gabirol, Mivhar Peninim (Soncino, 1484), this of questionable attribution, and Tikkun Middot ha-Nefesh.

Paragraph 2    עם דברי יעקב מרקריאה, הקדמת יוסף ב"ר יעקב שליט הי"ד אשכנזי מפדואה והשיר "עזוב מדות ישנות וחדשות" [לר' יהודה אבן-תיבון]. [הסכמה]: ליברמן ווירמיישא, לינעוויל, כב טבת תקס"ז.
   Mavin J. Heller, 16th century Hebrew Book (Brill 2004); CD-EPI 0105909
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Listing Classification
18th Century:    Checked
France:    Checked
Other:    Ethics
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica