Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Lexicon Chaldaicum, Talmudicum et Rabbinicum (Lexicon of Aramaic, Talmudic and Rabbinic Hebrew) [FINE ARMORIAL BINDING EMBOSSED WITH THE PORTRAIT OF AUGUSTUS I AND THE ARMS OF THE ELECTORS OF SAXONY]

Basel: Ludwig König, 1639. First edition. Hardcover. Folio in fours: [asterisk in parens]6, A-8N4, 8O6 (= 708 leaves); [12]pp., 2680 columns (1391-1392 omitted; 1997-1998 repeated), [64 = index and emendanda]pp. Engraved portrait; extra engraved title page. Woodcut printer's device at letterpress title; woodcut head- and tail-pieces, initials; letterpress ornamentation. Contemporary tawed pigskin over wooden boards, elaborately tooled in blind with central cartouches at both covers (portrait of August I at front; Electors of Saxony arms at back), spine with raised bands. Pair of mounted leather straps and brass catches intact, along with a single brass clasp (second clasp replaced with a simple modern brass replica). Edges stained green. Two old cellotape repairs along top edge verso of the portrait (not affecting image). Bottom outer corner section (2 in. by 4 in.) of the main title margin excised and expertly replaced. Faintly toned text, crisp and fine throughout. A very attractive copy in a handsome armorial binding, complete with both the author's portrait and the engraved title.

First edition of this lexicon of Aramaic and post-biblical Hebrew, comprising the vocabulary of the Aramaic paraphrases (targum) of the Old Testament, the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds, as well as later midrashic and and rabbinic literature, all copiously illustrated with extracts and examples. This present issue is dated M.DC.XXXIX. (1639) at the engraved title, and M.DC. XXXX. (1640) at the main title, the latter likely in error, according to Prijs. The numeral "2" in the 1629 date of death on the portrait is reversed (in some copies it has been erroneously replaced with a "3"). The dedication (Basel, February 1639) is addressed to the Ordines of Groningen and Holland in recognition of the establishment in 1614 of the University of Groningen. Two faculty members, Franciscus Gomarus and Heinrich Alting had specifically requested that Buxtorf publish a dictionary for use in the study of Jewish rabbinic literature. (Prijs)

Begun in 1610, the work would occupy the elder Buxtorf for the next twenty years, in the midst of his copious academic schedule and other scholarly projects. "By 1617 he had reached the letter Ayin. Between 1617 and 1619 he worked on the rabbinical Bible and probably had no time to devote to the lexicon. Finally in 1628 he completed the first draft. His manuscript work was in no shape to be published, however" (Burnett). "In the course of the work the material grew more and more, so that after completing the whole thing up to the letter Tav, he had to set about bringing the earlier letters up to date by using other sources" (Prijs). Buxtorf died in 1629 before completing the revisions of the letter Bet. His son, Johann, would complete the revisions and finally publish the lexicon after ten more years of labor. While the younger Buxtorf states in the preface "maneat parenti gloria authoris" (may the glory of the Author remain with the Parent), "in his hands it became almost a new work" (Smitskamp).

Burnett notes that "Buxtorf's fame as a lexicographer... was not a result of his work in biblical Hebrew, but in post-biblical Hebrew and talmudic Aramaic." Two centuries later, bibliographers and scholars were still singing the praises of the Lexicon Chaldaicum: "All the Chaldaic, Talmudical, and Rabbincal words which occur in the paraphrases of the Old Testament, in the Babylonish and Jerusalem Targums, in the common or more private writings of the Hebrew commentarors, philosophers, theologians, cabbalists, and lawyers, are fully explained. Numerous extracts, and examples are given; proverbs, apophthegms, opinions, rites, and other things relating to sacred philology and antiquities, are illustrated. All subsequent writers have been greatly indebted to this Lexicon of Buxtorf...” (Orme). "The World is more beholden to him for his learned and judicious Labours, than to any other that lived in his time, and his name ought ever to be preserved with Honour in Acknowledgment of it” (Prideaux).

Provenance and annotations: Binding embossed at the front cover with the portrait of Augustus I (1526-1586), Elector of Saxony; the Elector's arms appear at the rear cover. Occasional old underlinings and marginal annotations throughout. Fine. Item #48827

References: S. Burnett, From Christian Hebraism to Jewish Studies (Leiden, 1996), no. 75; pp. 128-133. Orme, Bibl. Biblica, p. 71. H. Prideaux, The Old and New Testament Connected (1725) 2:784-785. Prijs, no. 237. Smitskamp, Phil. Orientalis, no. 172. Steinschneider, BH, 329b. Wolf, Historia, 121.

Full title and imprint: Johannis Buxtorfii P. Lexicon Chaldaicum, Talmudicum et Rabbinicum: in quo omnes voces Chaldaicae, Talmudicae et Rabbinicae, quotquot in universis Vet. Test. Paraphrasibus Chaldaicis; in utroq[ue]; Talmud, Babylonico & Hierosolymitano, in vulgaribus [et] secretioribus Hebraeorum Scriptoribus, Commentatoribus, Philosophis, Theologis, Cabalistis [et] Jureconsultis extant, fideliter explicantur, Et copia ac delectu exemplorum Targumicorum, Talmudicorum [et] Rabbinicorum, eleganter declarantur; passim etiam, suis locis, Hebraeorum [et] Chaldaeorum Proverbia, Apophthegmata, Sententiae, Ritus, aliaque ad Sacram hanc Philologiam pertinentia, ex propriis ipsorum libris produnctur, [et] explanantur; Quamplurima denique Vet. [et] Nov. Test, loca ex Antiquitate [et] Historia Hebraica nove exponuntur [et] illustrantur; Ut non solum vulgaris Lexici, sed amplissimi [et] instructissimi Thesauri Philologici loco esse possit ; opus XXX. annorum, nunc demum, post Patris obitum, ex ipsius Autographo fideliter descriptum, in ordinem aequabilem digestum [et] multis propriis observationibus passim locupletatum, Reipublicaeque Christanae bono in lucem editum à Johanne Buxtorfio filio... Cum indice vocum Latinarum, [et] locorum N.T. illustratorum. Cum privilegio. Basiliae, Sumptibus [et] typis Ludovici Konig, M.DC.XXXX.

Price: $2,000.00