Amsterdam: Samuel Abarbanel Soeiro (Samuel Ben Israel), 1651. First edition. Hardcover. Octavo. 7 3/4 x 6 1/4". [8 leaves] 174 leaves, [10 leaves in Latin]. Rebound in modern dark leather boards with decorative blind-stamped ruling and tooling on the cover. Spine with gilt lettering and tooling. Raised bands. The tail of the spine incorrectly lists the date as 1652. Woodcut illustrated title page in Hebrew. A few decorative initials in the Latin section.
The book is a first edition of Menasheh ben Israel's kabbalistic treatise on souls and reincarnation. The work was published by his son Samuel ben Israel, six year before the untimely death of both him and his father in 1657, and is considered among the last major work by Menasseh ben Israel to be published. Years earlier, in 1626, the famed rabbi, scholar and Jewish community leader, had established the first Hebrew-langauge printing press in Amsterdam.
The the main content in Hebrew is divided four parts, each with decorative headpieces. Following the main text, there is a four page extensive section of errata, an a poetic postscript written by Jacob ben Aaron Sasportas the famed rabbi who was a good friend and colleague of ben Israel. The publication concludes with a section of 8 unpaginated leaves in Latin, reading from left to right, at the end of the book. These leaves contain a title, letter of dedication and chapter summaries.
Text in Hebrew and Latin.
Leaf 49 of the main pagination has a small crease and closed tear along the side edge. There is some light creasing and closed tears the corners and edges of a few pages throughout. Some worming to the top and bottom margins, with text mostly unaffected. Some light to moderate water staining throughout. Binding in fine, interior in good+ to very good- condition overall. g+ to fine. Item #44653
Alternate title: Nishmat Hayyim
Hebrew title: ספר נשמת היים
References: KAYSERLING (1890). p.69.