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Bidding Information
Lot #    13223
Auction End Date    1/24/2006 12:59:55 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Hayyei Moshe
Title (Hebrew)    חיי משה
Author    Philo Judaeus (Philo of Alexandria), tr. Joseph Fl
City    Prague
Publisher    M. I. Landau
Publication Date    1838
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. [13], 192; [2], 40, [3] pp., octavo, 185:113 mm., wide margins, light age staining. A good copy bound in later boards.
   Translation of the classic De Vita Moysis by Philonis Judaei (Philo Judaeus, Philo of Alexandria) by Joseph Flesch into Hebrew with annotations. There are Latin and Hebrew title pages, a preface by Flesch and the text, divided into three parts, the first covering the early life and education of Moses and the main facts of his work as a King; that is, as the leader of the Israelites in their escape from Egypt and adventures in the wilderness; the second is far more complicated, dealing with the character of Moses under three heads, the legislative, the high-priestly and the prophetic, a method which necessarily precludes any chronological arrangement. The first division as it stands begins with some general remarks on the need of these three qualifications as adjuncts to the ideal king, and proceeds to base the glory of Moses as a legislator first on the permanence of his laws, secondly on the respect paid to them by other nations in support of which he adds an account of the making of the Septuagint. To these is to be added the greatness of the law-book itself, but this passes away into a justification of the scheme by which the legislative element is preceded by the historical, and this is followed by a dissertation on how the historical part records the punishment of the wicked and the salvation of the good, this last including a detailed account of Noah and the Ark. Moses’ role as priest leads to a detailed description of the tabernacle and its appurtenances, the priest's vesture with its symbolism, the appointment of the priests and Levites and this last to an account of the part played by the Levites in punishing the idolatry of the Golden Calf, and finally of the vindication of the superiority of the priests by the blossoming of Aaron's rod. The third division treating of Moses as prophet is subdivided according as his pronouncements are made from an oracle given in answer to his question or from his own prophetic inspiration. Four examples are given of each: of the former, (a) the sentence on the blasphemer, (b) on the Sabbath-breaker, (c) special regulations as to the Passover ,(d) the law of inheritance. As examples of the latter he gives Moses' prophecies (a) of the destruction of the Egyptians, (b) of the manna, (c) of the slaughter of the idolaters and (d) the destruction of Korah and his companions. The treatise ends with a few sections about the end of Moses.

Philo of Alexandria, a Hellenized Jew, is a figure that spans two cultures, the Greek and the Hebrew. When Hebrew mythical thought met Greek philosophical thought in the first century B.C.E. it was only natural that someone would try to develop speculative and philosophical justification for Judaism in terms of Greek philosophy. Thus Philo produced a synthesis of both traditions developing concepts for future Hellenistic interpretation of messianic Hebrew thought, especially by Clement of Alexandria, Christian Apologists like Athenagoras, Theophilus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and by Origen.

Joseph Flesch was a German merchant; born in Rausnitz, Moravia; died there Dec. 17, 1839. He wrote excellent Hebrew, was a collaborator of the "Bikkure ha-'Ittim," and translated into Hebrew several of the writings of Philo, notably "Quis Rerum Divinarum Heres Sit" (under the title "Ha-Yoresh Dibre Elohim," Prague, 1830) and "De Vita Moysis" (under the title "Hayye Mosheh," ib. 1838). To the former work is added the oration which Joseph delivered at his father's funeral. The list of Jewish scientists which he compiled under the title "Reshimat Anshe Mofet," and which has appeared as an addition to M. J. Landau's work on Isaiah, and also separately (Prague, 1838), is faulty and unreliable. His father, R. Abraham Flesch (born Jan. 22, 1755; died. Jan. 24, 1828), was rabbi in Rausnitz, Moravia.

Paragraph 2    כפי מה שכתבו [ביוונית] בהתחלקות ג' ספריו... ידידיה אלכסנדרי המכונה פילון היהודי. וכבר נעתק ללשון רומי. ועתה נעתק (מלשון רומי') ללשון עברי עם הערות נוספות... ומצורף לזה נוסף עתה ס[פר] רביעי הכולל עשרת הדברות... כפי מה שבארם המחבר הנ"ל בחיבור המיוחד לכך, ב"ע [בפני עצמו]... ולקץ כל הספרים האלה חדה אחת (למה זה חיים לילדי שביעי... מדוע מתים ילדי שמיני)... עוד בו שלישיה... מסופר בה מן כת האיסים ותרפתים, שחברה המחבר הנ"ל... הכל מאתי... יוסף פלעש אחד מתושבי רויסטיץ... בשנת ולא ק'ם נ'ב'י'א' ע'וד בישראל כ'מ'ש'ה'

Added t.p.: Philonis Judaei de Vita Mosis. Hoc est de theologia et prophetia idiomate graeco olim descripta et in tres libros divisa, nunc autem in linguam hebraicam translata auctaque cum notis in usum lectorum; nec non adnexus liber quartus continens Decalogum, quod est juris sumarium ab eo ipius auctore alibi interpretatum. His libellus quintus additus est de Essaeis et Therapevtis in unum congessit et edidit in lucem impensis propriis Josephus Flesch... עמ' [13]: עתה אחל ספר את מה קרהו. [שיר מתוך] שירי תפארת [לר' נפתלי הירץ וויזל] מחברת שניה שיר החמישי. [2], 40, [3] עמ', עם שער מיוחד: ספר כתות מני קדם, מדובר בו נכבדות מן כת האיסים וכת תרפתא... כמו שכבר ספר מהם בלשון יון... ידידי' אלכסנדרי... בספר אחד המכונה בשם חיי ההתבונות ובקצת ספרו כל צדיק חפשי ועתה נעתק ללשון עברי... מאת יוסף פלעש... עי' כשר-מנדלבוים, שרי האלף, ניו יורק תשי"ט, עמ' מו, מס' 32.

   http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/philo/book24.html; BE het 575; CD-EPI 0157812
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Other:    Bohemia
History:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica