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Kevod Hakhamim: be'urim 'al ha-agadot mi-Talmud - WOLF BEN JACOB, SIMON - 1703. 
Hamburg, (Thomas Rose), 1703 & 1707. Folio: 2 volumes in 1: (II),92; (II),111 not numbered leaves. Binding first half 20th century. Cloth 31 cm (Â§ Honor of the Wise, and Commentary on aggadot in the Ein Ya'akov of R. Jacob ibn Habib by R. Shimon Wolf ben Jacob of Pintshov) (Ref: J.Chr. Wolf, 'Bibliotheca Hebraea', pars II, Hamburg, 1721, p. 988/89; As there seem to be more than 10 ways to transcribe the title of this book and the name of its author, we adopted the transcription of Worldcat) (Details: Printed completely in rabbinic Hebrew type. Text on both titles within a 'Benveniste-like frame', consisting of woodcut architectural borders. (See below) Depicted on the title is an arched gateway. On the arch stands an imitation of the printer's mark of the Italian Sephardic Jewish printer Immanuel Benveniste, who printed ca. 1650 Jewish books in Amsterdam. His printer's mark was widely imitated by other Jewish printers. It depicts a castle, a standing lion facing the castle, and above that a star. The text of the book is printed in 2 columns. On the front flyleaf is an inscription, explaining succinctly in Hebrew and in Dutch the contents of the first title) (Condition: Cover worn at the extremes. For the endpapers woody paper has been used. The margins of the first title, which is soiled and slightly waterstained, are thumbed; some small old paper repairs to the edges of the first and the last 2 leaves; a few small holes in the title and in the last leaf. Paper yellowing, sometimes browning; partly waterstained; 2 pinpoint wormholes in the first 8 leaves) (Note: Next to nothing is known about Simon or Simeon Wolf ben Jacob, Simon Wolf Jacobsohn, Simon Wolf ben JÃ¤kel, Simon Wolf ben Jekel, Shimion Volf ben Ya'akov, Shimon Volf ben Jekil, there are more possibilities. He was from Pinczow, a small town (70% jewish) not far from Krakow. 'Wegen seiner Bedeutung wurde es mitunter (16th, 17th century) 'polnisches Athen genannt'. (Wikipedia s.v. Pinczow, German) The restored Synagogue of the 16th century is still a sight worth seeing there. The town was once called 'ancient Judea in miniature'. Simon had his books published in Hamburg by the Christian publisher Thomas Rose. Hamburg was a city with a large Jewish population in those days. The Jewish community there began with the settlement of Portuguese 'conversos' at the turn of the 17th century. Thomas Rose bought the typographical equipment of the Hamburg Jewish printer Rebenlini. Rose printed from 1686 till 1709. He was joined by his son Johann who kept on printing Jewish books till 1721. 'Rose acquired later additional fonts and decorative material, including a Benveniste-like frame which he employed on several title pages. Steinschneider describes this usage, as 'cum Frontisp. ad instar Benveniste (Leo cum stella etc.)'. Among the titles that Rose printed are R. Israel Samuel ben Solomon Calahorra's 'Yismah Yisrael'(1686), an alphabetic compendium of the 'halakoth' in the 'Shulhan Arukh', followed by R. Berechiah Berakh Shapira's 'Zeta Berakh', discourses on the weekly Torah readings, and 'Perush Nevi'im Rishonum (1687) with the commentaries of Don Isaac Abrabanel and Jacob Fidanque. (...) Among the other titles that Rose published are R. Joseph Guenzberg's 'Leket Yosef' (1688), homilies and literal interpretations arranged alphabetically; R. Meir ha-Kohen Poppers' 'Or Zaddikim' (1690), kaballistic customs and practices based on the teachings of R. Isaac Luria (ha-Ari), and R. Judah Leib Pukhovitser's 'Divrei Hakhamim (1692), a 2 part ethical discourses and halakhic novellae with kaballistic content. Almost all of the book published by Rose were reprints of earlier editions'. (M.J. Heller, 'The Seventeenth century Hebrew books', vol. 1. Leiden, Brill, 2011, XLIII) Both texts of Simon Wolf ben Jakob are however first editions of not yet published works. The first work in this binding is called 'Kevod Hakhamim' ('Honor of the Wise', or 'Respect for the Sages') The following is based on the information we found in Wolf's 'Bibliotheca Hebraea' and on some Wikipedia lemmata. Simon Wolf ben Jacob was possibly a Rabbi. He is mentioned once in the 'Bibliotheca Hebraea' and is introduced as 'R. Simeon Wolf ben Jacob'. As there is no list of abbreviations in this 'Bibliotheca', we assume that he might have been a Rabbi. Simon Wolf ben Jacob's name figures in an 'Appendix' to the 'Bibliotheca Hebraea', a chapter called 'De subsidiis, quae ad Talmud rectius intelligendum vel tractandum a Christianis aut Iudaeis profecta sunt'. (BH p. 988) Simon Wolf ben Jacob is numbered there among the commentators who produced explaining 'commentationes' on the 'Aggadot(h), (...) i.e. historias, apologos & allegorias disquisitiones, quae in Gemara exstant'. (BH p. 989) Aggadoth (singular Aggadah) 'refer to the homiletic and non-legalistic exegetical texts in the classical rabbanic literature of Judaism, particularly recorded in the Talmud and Mishna'. (Wikipedia s.v. 'Aggadah' (English)) Simon Wolf is not in the first place a compiler, it is argued in this appendix of the Bibliotheca Hebraea, but he is more a commentator. 'Explicarunt autem prae ceteris, eas ('disquisitiones' to the Aggadoth) quidem, quas Talmud Hierosolymitanum suppeditat, R. Sam. Japhe & R. Simeon Wolf ben Jacob'. (BH p. 989) Simon Wolf ben Jacob belonged apparantly to the school of commentators that commented upon the Gemara, which was produced by scholars in Israel ca. 350-400 A.D., also known as the 'Yerushalmi'. (For this school see Wikipedia s.v. 'Gemara' (English)) The other school, the school of the socalled 'Babylonian Talmud', was far more influential in the history of Judaism than that of the 'Yerushalmi'. 'Despite this, the Jerusalem Talmud remains an indispensable source of knowledge of the development of the Jewish Law in the Holy Land. (...) There was some revival of scholarly interest in the Jerusalem Talmud of the 19th and 20th centuries, and modern scholars use it as an invaluable source for the history of Judaism and the development of rabbinical law in antiquity'. (Wikipedia, s.v. 'Jerusalem Talmud', (English)) The Sages mentioned in the title are the scholars on whose authority the Jewish religious tradition rests. 'Jewish tradition had been passed down intact since the time of Moses, with the chain of authority vested in the recognized sages of each generation. These sages had received the authentic tradition, interpreted and explained it to their contemporaries and handed it on to the scholars of the following generation. Rabbinic authority was a basic precept in Jewish religious consciousness. Reliance on and respect for the sages was fundamental'. (M.D. Angel, 'Voices in exile: A study in Sephardic intellectual history', Richmond 1991, p. 18) On the second work of Simon Wolf ben Jacob in this binding, 'Kevod ha-habayit' (Honor of the House), we found some information on the site: "virtualjudaica.com" (/Item/13918/Kevod_ha-Bayit), where a copy of this second volume was auctioned on March 7, 2006. We cite verbatim: 'Only edition of this homiletic commentary on aggadot in the Ein Ya'akov of R. Jacob ibn Habib by R. Shimon Wolf ben Jacob of Pintshov. (...) Within the arch the text (on the second title page) is headed at the peak of the arch with the verse, 'This is the gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter' (Psalms 118:20). The title page is dated from the verse, 'The glory of this latter house shall be greater (than that of the former)' (Haggai 2:9). The author's name does not appear on the title page. However, it is alluded to in the beginning of the introduction, which starts on the verso of the title page, from the enlarged initial letters. This volume, (the volume which was auctioned in 2006) as the title page informs, is part one of Ein Ya'akov. It covers tractates Berakhot through Hagigah. At the end of the volume is the colophon, in which the wish to publish other volumes from this commentary is expressed, a wish that, unfortunately, was not realized. (...) The first printing house to make use of Benveniste's (printer's) mark outside of Amsterdam was that of Thomas Rose, a Christian printer of Hebrew books in Hamburg from 1686-1709' (End of quote). Both works in our copy of Simon Wolf ben Jacob seem to be rare. Of the first one we found in KVK (search 'Kevod' and '1703', 'Kevod' and '1707') one copy in the British Library and one in Cambridge University Library. Of the second we found also 2 copies, one held by the British Library, and the other by the 'JÃ¼disches Museum Wien') (Collation: pi2, 1 - 46-2; pi2, 1 - 55-2, 56-2 (minus 2) (Photographs on request)
[Bookseller: Antiquariaat Fragmenta Selecta]
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