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Bidding Information
Lot #    18420
Auction End Date    7/10/2007 10:46:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Sefer ha-Yashar
Title (Hebrew)    ספר הישר
Author    [Woodcuts] Anonymous - Leo Michelson, Illustrator
City    Berlin
Publisher    Rosenthal & Co.
Publication Date    1923
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   XI, [1], 306, [2] pp., 197:127 mm., light age staining, wide margins. A very good copy bound in the original tooled in gild cloth boards, lightly rubbed.
Paragraph 1    Leo Michelson (b. Riga, Latvia, 1887 - d. New York City, 1978) was an American artist considered part of the École de Paris, although his works span many periods and styles. Michelson first attended the Imperial Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia and then the University of Tartu in Tartu, Estonia.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 forced Michelson to leave Russia for Munich, Germany where he participated in the beginnings of German Expressionism. By 1920 Michelson was living in Paris and had established an international reputation for his paintings, prints, and sculptures. As a prominent member of the Paris School his works were shown in major exhibits throughout Western Europe, the Soviet Union, and the United States. After the fall of Paris to Nazi Germany in 1939, Michelson fled to New York City.

Michelson is described as an "eternal emigrant, eternal student" because he was always studying and experimenting with new styles. Michelson actually carried crayons with him so he could sketch where ever he was. Art historians have compared Michelson to both Chagall and Picasso[citation needed], but it was Titian who Michelson said was his inspiration. Michelson painted over 1,000 paintings. His widow, Janine, selected Marshall, Texas as the permanent home for her late husband's works in what is known as the Michelson Museum of Art.

   Medieval retelling of biblical stories arranged according to the weekly parshah, written in a contemporary (medieval) style and illustrated by Leo Michelson. The text of the title page, set within a frame made up of of rows of florets, begins that it is a work including many stories and midrashim from the rabbis of blessed memory on the Torah, and the books of Joshua and Judges. It is written in a clear and pleasant style that draws a person’s heart to recognize the wonders of the Lord and His kindness. The text is in a single column in rabbinic type. Sefer ha-Yashar is not to be confused with the work of the same name attributed to Rabbenu Tam. The anonymous author of Sefer ha-Yashar is presumed to have liven in the 11th century in Spain. He retells, at great length, the story from the creation to the time of the Judges. It is the most complete example of this type of medieval writing using biblical motifs, aggadic material, and fictional innovations to weave a new and captivating story. The literary scope of the work was unequaled by any later medieval writing.

The author of Sefer ha-Yashar, together with the author of Jossipon, is credited with adding another aspect to the medieval story about biblical times: they attempted, and frequently succeeded, in incorporating non-Jewish legends, history, and mythology into the biblical story. The Jews of the Byzantine Empire, Italy, and Spain accepted the legends and history of the people among whom they lived as being part of the history of the world, and argued that as such they form part of the Bible which was believed to include all the important events in human history. These authors, and others, therefore, developed a system of synchronization and analogy to establish a connection between non-Jewish stories and biblical heroes and chronology.

Added t.p.: Sepher hajaschar.Das Heldenbuch. Sagen, Berichte und Erzaehlungen aus der israelitischen Urzeit. Nach aeltesten Drucken herausgegeben von Lazarus Goldschmidt. Mit Holzschnitten von Leo Michelson...

Paragraph 2    ... עם הגהות והערות המו"ל הראשון ר' יוסף בן שמואל הקטן מעיר פיס [ויניציאה שפ"ה]. נדפס ומוגה על פי דפוסים ישנים ([על-ידי] אליעזר גולדשמידט) עם ציורים פתוחי עץ ([מאת] Leo Michelson).

עמ' V-[VIII]: הקדמת אליעזר גולדשמידט: "התאמצתי לנקות את הספר משבושים גסים (ובמקום שיש שנוים בדפוס בררתי את הנוסח המחוור טפי)... תיבות ומאמרים הנמצאים בדפוס זה וחסרים בדפוס אחר הקפתי במקיפין ... וכן גם תקונים מסברא ושבושים שלא הוסרו לגמרי... נתתי מקום להקדמת המדפיס הראשון (ר' יוסף בן שמואל הקטן) והגהותיו". הגהות אלו נדפסו בסוף הספר, אך "הקדמת המדפיס הראשון" שנדפסה בהוצאת ויניציאה שפ"ה, לא נדפסה. נראה שדפוס זה לא היה לפני א' גולדשמידט, אלא "דפוסים ישנים" שבהם באו שינויים בנוסח. בהקדמה קובץ גולדשמידט, שדפוס נאפולי אינו קיים, "כי עד היום הזה לא ראה איש את הדפוס הזה".

   CD-EPI 0154902; EJ; JE; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Michelson
Associated Images
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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
Germany:    Checked
History:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica
Drawings:    Checked