Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Grundliche und wahrhafftige Relation, so hiebevor auch Frantzosisch Lateinisch und Niderlandisch ausgegangen von einem Juden nahmens Ahasvero von Jerusalem [LEGEND OF THE WANDERING JEW]

[N.p.]: [n.p.], 1634. Paperback. Three parts, small 4to: A-E4: 20ff. Woodcut title vignette. Recent plain wrappers. Lightly embrowned with touches of soiling. A good or better copy.

Early printed edition of “[o]ne of the most extensive and pervasive of all migratory legends, and one of the most famous... the Eternal Wanderer about whom the most has been said and written” (Anderson). "The legend has obvious affinities with other tales of eternal wanders, primarily Cain (with whom the Jewish people as a whole are identified by Christian homilists beginning [in the second century] with Tertullian... When the legend appeared in Europe it readily gave expression to the prevailing medieval anti-Jewish hostility. The first written account specifically mentioning a Jew condemned for his sin to live until Jesus' second coming is recorded in a 13th-century chronicle of Bologneses origin. This states that in 1223 some pilgrims at the monastery of Ferrara related "that they had seen a certain Jew in Armenia who had been present at the Passion of the Lord, and, as He was going to His martyrdom, drove Him along wickedly with these words 'Go, go thou tempter and seducer, to receive what you have earned.' J. is said to have answered him: 'I go, and you will await me until I come again.'" The Jew subsequently repented of the deed, converted to Christianity, and led an ascetic life while enduring his punishment... Roger of Wendover relates in his Flores Historiarum for 1228 that an Armenian bishop visiting the monastery of St. Albans told substantially the same story, adding that the man had struck Jesus. The tale was incorporated by Matthew Paris (d. 1259) in his widely circulated Chronica Majora, and in many other writings -- in chronicles, poems, tractates, pilgrim intineraries, and miracle plays, from the 13th to 16th centuries in Italy, Spain, France, and England... At the beginning of the 17th century a chapbook was printed in German which accentuated the anti-Jewish implications of the legend, and was to popularize it further and inaugurate it transposition to further literary genres. Evidently based on Matthew Paris' chronicle, it first appeared under different imprints in Germany dated 1602, entitled Kurtze Beschreibung und Erzehlung von einem Juden mit Namen Ahasverus. In the copy published under the impirnt of "Christoff Creutzer of Leyden" it is related that Paulus von Eitzen, bishop of Schleswig, in the winter of 1542, when attending church in Hamburg, saw a tall man, dressed in threadbare garments, with long, hair, standing barefoot in the chancel; whenever the name of Jesus was pronounced he bowed his head, beat his breast, and sighed profoundly. It was reported that he was a shoemaker named Ahasuerus who had cursed Jesus on his way to the crucifixion... This version shows "Ahasuerus" as a fully fledged personificaion of the Jewish people, incorporating the themes of participation in the crucifixion, condemnation to eternal suffering unti Jesus' second coming, and the bearing of witness to the truth of the Christian tradition" (Enc. Jud.). The present edition contains two appendices, the first lists the specific offences against Jesus which can be assigned to each of the Twelve Tribes, along with their corresponding punishments; the latter is a treatise on the blood judgment (Blut-urtheils) undergone by Christ. Good to good+. Item #49133

Full title: I. Gründliche und wahrhafftige Relation, so hiebevor auch Frantzösisch Lateinisch und Niderländisch ausgegangen von einem Juden nahmens Ahasvero von Jerusalem; der von der zeit deß gecreutzigten Herrn Jesu Christi durch sonderbare Schickung zu einem lebendigen Zeugniß herüm gehen muß: II. Bericht von den zwölff Jüdischen Stämmen was ein jeder dem Herrn Christo für schmach angethan und was sie deßwegen noch heut zu tag leiden müssen: III. Verzeichniß deß ergangenen Blut-urtheils wie es eigentlich über den Herrn Christum ergangen. Durch Chrysostomum Dudulaeum Westphalum.

References: Variant imprint with small woodcut title vignette depicting the Crucifixion, otherwise identical with VD17 23: 239255S; the latter has a larger title vignette of Jesus bearing the cross as Ahasuerus the Jew passes by. See: G. K. Anderson, The Legend of the Wandering Jew (Providence, 1965), esp. pp. 51-53 on ‘The Forming of the Ahasuerus-book’; and “The Ahasver-Volksbuch” [in:] Hasan-Rokem, Galit and Alan Dundes, The Wandering Jew: Essays in the Interpretation of a Christian Legend (Bloomington, 1986), pp. 27-35.

Price: $5,000.00

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