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Bidding Information
Lot #    21914
Auction End Date    11/18/2008 11:11:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Elements of faith
Title (Hebrew)    שרשי אמונה
Author    Shalom ben Jacob Cohen
City    London
Publisher    E. Justins
Publication Date    1815
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition.10, 10, 2, 2, 56, 56, [1], 6 pp. octavo 202:120 mm., light age and damp staining, wide margins. A good copy bound in modern half cloth boards.
Paragraph 1    Contains the oft lacking list of subscribers.
   Bi-lingual Hebrew-English Jewish catechism by Shalom ben Jacob Cohen. The title page, in both Hebrew and English, describes the work as Elements of faith, for the use of Jewish youth of both sexes. There is a dedication from the author to Joshua van Oven, the translator, followed by Cohen’s introduction, whose purpose is to stress the divinity of the Written and Oral Law and its immutability. Elements of faith has an approbation from R. Solomon ben Zevi Hirsch and R. Raphael di Meldola. Next is a table of contents listing the books twenty-one chapters and then the text in facing Hebrew and English.

Shalom ben Jacob Cohen (1772–1845) was a Hebrew writer, poet, and editor. Born in Mezhirech, Poland, he studied German and read the new Hebrew literature, particularly Ha-Me'assef. His first book, Mishlei Agur (1799), was a collection of Hebrew fables in rhyme, with German translation, aimed at teaching Jewish children simple and clear Hebrew. Cohen went to Berlin in 1789 and taught in the Hinnukh Ne'arim school and in private homes. After the publication of several works he renewed the publication of Ha-Me'assef and served as its editor (1809–11). In 1813 Cohen left Germany, spent a short period in Amsterdam, and moved to London where he tried unsuccessfully to establish a Jewish school. From London, Cohen moved to Hamburg (1816 or 1817), where he spent three controversy-laden years. In a posthumously published poem he attacked the hypocrisy of the "reformists" for their lack of religious belief and national feelings and considered the establishment of the Reform temple in Hamburg an act of blasphemy. However, he refrained from public intervention on this controversy. In 1820 Cohen was invited by Anton Schmid to serve as head proofreader in the Hebrew section of his printing press in Vienna where he remained for 16 years. In 1821 Cohen established the annual Bikkurei ha-Ittim, three issues of which appeared under his editorship. In 1834 he published his poetic work, Nir David, a description of the life of King David, one of the first romantic works in Hebrew literature. In 1836 Cohen returned to Hamburg, where he lived until his death. His last extensive work was Kore ha-Dorot, a history of the Jewish people (1838). His other works include: Matta’ei Kedem al Admat Zafon (1807), poetry; Amal ve-Tirzah (1812), an allegorical and utopian drama, a sequel to M.H. Luzzatto's La-Yesharim Tehillah; and Ketav Yosher (1820), a literary miscellany.

Paragraph 2    ... ראשי דברי תורה ומוסריה, ויסודי דת ישראל, מחוברים בשאלות ותשובות... לתועלת ילדי בני ישראל... למען ילמדו לדעת מהות אמונתם, מאת ר' שלום הכהן... (המעתיק [לאנגלית] ר' יהושע וואן אובן).

מנוקד. עברית ואנגלית, עמוד מול עמוד. בקורת על ספר זה הדפיס ר' יום טוב בנעט בספרו טנא בקורים, לאנדאן תקע"ז. עיין: בנט, יום-טוב בן שלמה. הסכמה: ר' שלמה ב"ר צבי הירש [לעווין] ור' רפאל די מילדולה, לונדן, א דראש-חודש כסליו תקע"ה.

   BE shin 2421; EJ; CD-EPI 0140837
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
England:    Checked
Children’s Literature:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew, English
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica