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Bidding Information
Lot #    18356
Auction End Date    7/10/2007 10:15:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
          
Title Information
Title (English)    Marpe Lashon - Darkhei No'am
Title (Hebrew)    מרפא לשון ... דרכי נועם
Author    Moses ben Shem Tov ibn Habib
City    Venice
Publisher    Daniel Bomberg
Publication Date    1546
          
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
          
Description Information
Physical
Description
   [26] ff., 138:98 mm., nice margins, light age and damp staining. A good copy bound in modern full leather boards.
          
Detailed
Description
   Two works, the first a summary of the rules of grammar for the Hebrew language, the second on poetry, by R. Moses ben Shem Tov ibn Habib (d. before 1505). R. Habib, a grammarian, poet, translator, and philosopher, was born in Lisbon but left Portugal well before the expulsion of the Jews. He went first to North Africa, and then to southern Italy, residing in such locations as Naples, Bitonto, and Otranto. His grammatical work, Marpe Lashon, was written in Bitonto in 1486. The title page, which has no ornamentation, states:
Preferable to great riches is a wholesome tongue (marpe lashon), and rather than silver or gold are ways of pleasantness (darkhei no'am) (adaptation of Proverbs 22: I with 15:4 and 3: 17). Two valuable works, preferable to fine gold and rubies. Formed and prepared with amazing brevity, [by the] sage, the virtuous, for "a name and a praise" (Zephaniah 3:20), R. Moses ibn Habib.

This text is identical with that of the previous Constantinople edition (1510-14). Marpe Lashon, as the title page states, is a brief summary of the rules of grammar. It reflects the influence of R. Profiat Duran (Efodi) who sought to base Hebrew grammar upon logic. Prior to writing Marpe Lashon, and completed in December, 1484, R. Habib wrote a larger grammatical work, entitled Perah Shoshan (flowers of lilies, I Kings 7:26), which he refers to in Darkhei No'am and is extant in manuscript. Perah Shoshan is quoted by R. Abraham de Balmes in his Mikneh Avram (Venice, 1523).

Written in the same year and place and printed with Marpe Lashon is Darkhei No'am, on the rules of poetry. There is no title page, the beginning of the book simply being noted in large bold letters at the top of the page. The text of both books is in a single column in square vocalized letters, and lacks both pagination and signatures. The volume concludes with the ruse of the ibn Ezra at sea (25b-26a) and that the printer was Cornelius Adelkind. Darkhei No'am is dedicated to Dr. Joseph ha-Levi. Written in a clear and lucid style, R. Habib employs the principles of Aristode's Poetics. He disapproves of secular poetry and attempts to demonstrate that rhyme and meter were facets of Hebrew poetry in biblical times. As a proof Habib notes that when in Valencia he saw a tombstone, at the top of a hill, on which was chiseled the inscription, "Lift up a lamentation, in a bitter voice, for the great general, whom G-d has taken." Unable to read the remainder, which was rubbed out, R. Habib was able to discern that it concluded with "the words of Amaziah," that is, the biblical king of Judah.

R. Habib also wrote, at the behest of a student, Azariah ben Joseph, a commentary on the Behinat Olam of R. Jedaiah ha-Penini Bedersi, printed with the Constantinople ([1520]) and Ferrara (1552) editions of that work. He translated works on medicine and refers to a work entided Kiryat Arba'ah, pertaining to the number four, of uncertain subject and no longer extant.

          
Paragraph 2    דף [25, ב-26, א]: תחבולה מרבי אברהם ן' עזרא.
          
Reference
Description
   CD-EPI 0106138; Heller 16th Century Hebrew Book, p. 309
        
Associated Images
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Listing Classification
Period
16th Century:    Checked
  
Location
Italy:    Checked
  
Subject
Other:    Grammar
  
Characteristic
Language:    Hebrew
  
Manuscript Type
  
Kind of Judaica