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Bidding Information
Lot #    21761
Auction End Date    10/7/2008 12:09:30 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Vikku'ah al Hokhmat ha-Kabbalah
Title (Hebrew)    ויכוח על חכמת הקבלה
Author    [Kabbalah - Polemic] R. Samuel David Luzzatto
City    Gorizia
Publisher    J. B. Seitz
Publication Date    1852
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. 137, [8] pp., 217:144 mm., usual light age and damp staining, wide margins. A very good copy not bound.
   Shedal's negative views on Kabbalah. He blames rationalistic philosophy for having brought about, as a reaction, the flowering of Kabbalah and mysticism. As for the Zohar, he rejected the authorship of R. Simeon b. Yohai as did R. Jacob Emden and Leone Modena before him, and Luzzatto was apparently influenced by the latter's Ari Nohem (1840).

Often referred to by the acronym of Shedal, the Italian scholar, philosopher, Bible commentator, and translator is descendent from a long line of scholars. He wrote his first Hebrew poem at the age of nine. His mother died when he was 13 and his father's pecuniary status declined seriously making it necessary for the young Luzzatto to assist his father in his work. His own wife died after a long illness, and he eventually married her sister. He survived two of his children - one Philoxenus (or Filosseno), had been a young man of especially great promise. Samuel David's translation of the Ashkenazi prayer book into Italian appeared in 1821/22, and that of the Italian rite in 1829. He established a regular correspondence with the Jewish scholar, Isaac Samuel Reggio, and through the efforts of the latter, Luzzatto was appointed professor of the newly established rabbinical college of Padua in 1829. There he spent the rest of his life teaching Bible, philology, philosophy, and Jewish history. His versatility and the scope of his learning are best seen in the mass of letters written to all the outstanding Jewish savants of the day - to Geiger, Zunz, Rapoport, Steinschneider and others. He wrote a Hebrew commentary on the Pentateuch and the Haftarot. It is in this type of work that his attitude to Judaism is revealed. He was a traditionalist and maintained a firm belief in revelation and treated the text of the Torah with sacred regard although he occasionally allowed himself to depart from the traditional phrasing of the words as reflected in the Masorah and the Talmud.

Paragraph 2    ועל קדמות ספר הזהר וקדמות הנקדות והטעמים מלאכת שד"ל בימי נעוריו. עם קצת נוספות אשר הוסיף בה אחר ימים ושנים. וכבר בשנת תקצ"ב [!] הובאו קצת מדברי הויכוח הזה בכרם חמד [ספר] שני [וויען 1836] מכתב כ"ה [עמ' 162-154]...

עמ' [8-2] בסוף: הקדמה בצרפתית עם שער-נוסף: Dialogues sur la Kabbale et le Zohar et sur l'antiquite de la ponctuation et de l'accentuation dans la langue hebraique, par S. D. Luzzatto... נגדו יצאו הספרים: אדרת אליהו, ליוורנו תרט"ו. עי': נסים, שלמה בן אליהו.; ענה כסיל, כנ"ל. עי': נסים, ידידיה בן. קדמות ספר הזוהר, [קניגסברג תרט"ז]. עי': לוריא, דוד בן יהודה.; וטעם לשד, ליוורנו 1863. עי': בן-אמוזג, אליהו בן אברהם.

   S. D. Luzzatto, Mavo le-Mahzor Benei Roma (new edition, with supplement by D. Goldshmidt and a bibliography of the printed mahzor and siddur by J. J. Cohen, Tel Aviv, 1966), p. 120, # 30; EJ; CD-EPI 0143578
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Italy:    Checked
Kabbalah:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew, some Italian
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica