Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller
Item #48853 Arukh: Dictionarium Chaldaicum. Sebastian Munster.
Arukh: Dictionarium Chaldaicum
Arukh: Dictionarium Chaldaicum
Arukh: Dictionarium Chaldaicum
Arukh: Dictionarium Chaldaicum
Arukh: Dictionarium Chaldaicum

Arukh: Dictionarium Chaldaicum

Basel: Johann Froben, 1527. First edition. Paperback. Small quarto: a-z, A-2H4, 2I6 (=222 leaves). [8], 434, [2]pp. Recent wrappers. Mild embrowning at margins, light dampstain at final leaves, else a fresh, clean copy.

First edition of Sebastian Münster's Aramaic-Latin dictionary to the Targumim and Rabbinic literature. The first Aramaic dictionary edited by a Christian scholar, it is based primarily on the Arukh of Nathan ben Jehiel of Rome (1035-c.1110). "Through quotes and commentaries it explains the myriad of difficult terms and concepts in the Talmud and the Midrash collections. It is a work for advanced Talmudists and was widely used. The sizeable Aruch was also one of the first Hebrew works to be printed (Rome, c. 1470) and Christian Hebraists made use of it in their study of rabbinical literature" (Heb. Veritas Cat., 37).

The celebrated polymath, cosmographer, astronomer, and Semitic language scholar Sebastian Münster (1489-1552) was born in Niederingelheim, Hesse, the son of a hospital master. Apart from some private instruction in Latin and later studies at Freiberg, along with attendance at lectures given by the Franciscans, he had no university education. After entering the Minorite order in 1506 was sent to study in Rufach under Konrad Pellikan. Münster assisted Pellikan in teaching at Pforzheim and occupied the chair of Hebrew at the University of Heidelberg from 1524 to 1529. After converting to Protestantism in 1529, he moved to Basel where he would occupy the chair of Hebrew for twenty-three years. "Sebastian Muenster was one of the first Hebraists who, by his numerous publications, firmly embedded Hebrew in protestant theology. Although he did not travel as widely as Reuchlin, Widmanstetter and, later, Masius, his unremitting industry in his home town Basle produced an astounding series of publications which provide a good view of the breadth over which the subject manifested itself" (Heide). "From about 1525, Muenster was a student of Elijah Levita, translating and editing his grammatical works. Muenster also translated a number of other Hebrew works into Latin... His jewish oeuvre, more than three-score publications, covered all aspects of Judaica, excepting Kabbalistic studies..." (Heller). Apart from his grammar books, Münster was the author of no fewer than five dictionaries in which Biblical Hebrew is usually combined with Aramaic and post-biblical Hebrew.

Münster dedicates the Dictionary to the Bishop of Rochester in Kent, for his appreciation of the theological sciences. The foreword emphasizes the value of the grammatical and lexicographical writings of Elijah Levita and the Arukh from which he takes the title. Not having access to the earlier editions of Nathan ben Yehiel's rabbinic lexicon printed at Rome and Pisarro, Münster mistakenly believed the Arukh to be the work of a German Jew. J. Perles was later able to identify the German manuscript from which Münster worked (Prijs). In addition to this Latin adaptation of ben Yehiel's rabbinic lexicon, Münster's and accompanying Aramaic Grammar in the same year.

The woodcut title border of cherubim cut by Hans Holbein is here reused after its appearance in De optimo reipublicae (Thomas More's Utopia; 1518) and Martin van Dorp's commentary on St. Paul's Epistles (1516).

Provenance: Entry at colophon, “Calend. Januarij 1570 dono accepi hunc librum cum paraphrasi Campensis in Psalmos, ab adolescente amico L.C.G. in nominis ipsius memorium”; old owner’s entry in different hand and ink, “David Dasmeres/Dasnières [?]" Very good. Item #48853

Full title and imprint: ערוך Dictionarium Chaldaicum, non ta[men] ad Chaldaico interpretes q[ue] Rabbinoru[m] intelligenda co[m]mentaria necessarium... ex Baal Aruch [et] Chal. bibliis atq[ue] Hebraeoru[m] peruschim congestu[m]. Basileae apud Io. Fro. Anno M.D.XXVII.

References: Adams M-1920. Burmeister 23. Hantzsch, p.182 (note 265). Heide (ed.), Hebraica Veritas Cat., no. 21; and p.37. Heller, The 16th Century Hebrew Book 1:187. Prijs 26. STC (German), 633. Steinschneider, Handbuch, 1385. VD16, M-6657. Hans Holbein, Ausstkatalog Basel 1997, Nr. 11.

Price: $3,250.00

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