Bibliotheken Tentoonstellingen Judaica in Leiden

Judaica in Leiden

An exhibition in Leiden University Library at the occasion of the Congress of European Association of Jewish Studies, Amsterdam 21-25 juli 2002.





1123 bytesPirqei Abuqrat
Nathan ha-Me’ati (13th century). Manuscript on parchment, mid-14th century, Southern Europe. Sefardi semi-cursive script.
Or. 4719, ff. 134v-135r
¶ Medical codex containing no less than twenty different texts, all translations of medical scientific works in Arabic by Greek, Muslim and Jewish scholars.
From the 12th century onward, Hebrew translations of Arabic versions of classical works and their commentaries were made. The names of the Ibn
Tibbon family, as well as the Kalonymus family,
1107 bytes whose work is also included in this codex, are well-known. The lesser known Nathan ha-Me’ati produced several translations of Arabic versions of works by Hippocrates. The Aphorisms, translated in 1283 from the Arabic Kitab al-Fusul by the famous Hunayn Ibn Ishaq (d. 873), circulated widely in Hebrew under the title Pirqei Abuqrat.
Most probably the codex was collected by a 14th century physician and served as a medical compendium. It includes:
(2) Shinnui shemot ha-niqra Zinonimash, Hebrew translation by Nathan ha-Me’ati of Avicenna’s (Ibn Sina) Canon.
(9) Haqdamat ha-Yedi`a, Hippocrates’ Prognostica by an unknown translator.
(17) Sefer Galeinos ba-Haqqaza, Hebrew translation of an anonymous Arabic version of Galen’s Phlebotomia (Bloodletting) by Kalonymos b. Kalonymos.

1058 bytesOtot ha-Shamayim
Samuel ibn Tibbon (ca. 1160-1230). Manuscript on paper, 15th century. Sefardi semi-cursive script.
Or. 4751, f. 11a.
¶ Collection of various philosophical and scientific texts.  The exhibit features a Hebrew version of Aristotle’s Meteorology based on an Arabic paraphrase, which has now been lost. The famous Hebrew translator, Samuel ibn Tibbon, noted the many mistakes in his Arabic Vorlage and tried to correct them on the basis of the commentaries by Alexander of Aphrodisias and Averroes. The exhibit shows a rather crude drawing of the points of the compass surrounding the signs of the Zodiac.
Other texts included in this codex are:
(2) Hokhmat Ahar ha-Teva, Hebrew translation by Judah ben Salomo Kohen of an Arabic version of Aristotle’s Metaphysica.
(3) Sefer ha-Yesodot, Hebrew translation by Abraham ibn Hisdai Samuel of the Arabic Book of Elements of Isaac Israeli (10th century).
(5) Moses Narboni’s (d. 1362) commentary on Maimonides’ Moreh ha-Nevukhim (see Or. 18 and Or. 4745).

1238 bytesShemot ha-Asavim
Anonymous. Manuscript on parchment, 13th or 14th century, Ashkenaz. Italian semi-cursive script.
Or. 4732, ff. 8b-9a.
¶ Collection of fifteen texts on medicine. Among these are two tractates on herbs andplants for medicinal use. The first tractate in this codex is a rare list of plant names followed by their German equivalent in Hebrew script.
The manuscript further includes:
(5) and (12) Treatises on the diagnostical uses of urine.
(9) Medical astrology based on the Zodiac.
1298 bytes (14) A treatise on the properties of plants and herbs.

1386 bytes Filosofia Naturale and Fatti de Dio
Mose da Rieti (1388-1460). Manuscript on paper and parchment, after 1428, Italy. Italian semi-cursive script.
Or. 4727, f. 14v.
¶ Unique didactic and moralistic encyclopedia on nature and belief, written in Italian prose.  This text is a rare example of medieval Italian as spoken by the Jewish intelligentia at the time. The exhibited opening deals with earthquakes (‘terra moto’). Mose da Rieti is better known for his encyclopedic Mikdash Me’at, a Hebrew imitation of Dante’s Divina Commedia.
The Italian text was edited and linguistically analysed by I. Hijmans-Tromp, Filosofia Naturale e Fatti de Dio. Testo inedito del secolo XV (Leiden 1989).

966 bytesIggeret Hay ben Meqitz
Anonymous Hebrew translation with commentary by Moses of Narbonne (d. 1362)
Manuscript on paper, before 1459. Sefardi semi-cursive script.
Or. 4744, ff. 124v-125r.
¶ Collection of philosophical texts in Hebrew translation and commentaries by Isaac Albalag and Moses Narboni. Al-Ghazali’s attack on Aristotle, entitled The Incoherence of the Philosophers, generated many critical and interpretative responses.
Al-Ghazali’s own introduction The Intentions of the
1059 bytesPhilosophers
to his critical work became an
independent compendium on philosophy. Equally influential was Averroes’ (Ibn Rushd) critique on Al-Ghazali. The latter’s work is known as The Incoherence of the Incoherence. The exhibit features an anonymous Hebrew translation of the famous philosophical allegory Risala Hayy ibn Yaqzan by Abd al-Malik ibn Tufayl. The present Hebrew version is called Hay ben Yiqatz or Yehi’el ben `Uri’el.
The codex further includes:
(1) Perush Kavvanot ha-Filosofim, commentary on Al-Ghazali’s Intentions by Moses of Narbonne (Narboni, d. 1362).
(2) Tiqqun ha-De’ot or De`ot ha-Filosofim, Isaac Albalag’s (13th century) Hebrew translation of part of Al-Ghazali’s Intentions.
(7) Happalat ha-Happalah, Hebrew translation by Moses Narboni of Averroes’  Incoherence of the Incoherence.

1166 bytes Dalalat al Ha’irin
Moses Maimonides (1135-1204). Manuscript on paper, 1271, Near East. Oriental semi-cursive script.
Or. 18, ff. 6v-7r.
¶ Early copy in Judeo-Arabic of Maimonides’ most significant work. Maimonides’ greatest achievement, his Guide of the Perplexed, was written in Judeo-Arabic in Egypt in the late 12th century, and is commonly regarded as the most important philosophic work produced by a Jew. His philosophic views follow the Aristotelian tradition and integrated rationalism into Jewish theology.

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1124 bytesMoreh ha-Nevukhim
Moses Maimonides (1135-1204). Manuscript on parchment, 14th - 15th century, Spain
Sefardi semi-cursive script.
Or. 4745, ff. 7b-8a.
¶ Copy of the Hebrew translation of Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed . The Hebrew translation from the Arabic original (see Or. 18)  was made by Samuel ibn Tibbon in the late 12th century, during the author’s lifetime. Maimonides, as the leader of the Cairo community, was not only held in high esteem by the Jewish communities under Islamic rule, but his work was also to have great influence on Jews throughout
1145 bytesEurope.

1279 bytesMoreh ha-Nevukhim
Moses Maimonides (1135-1204). Manuscript on parchment, probably late 14th century, Catalonia. Sefardic semi-cursive script.
Or. 4723, ff. 234v-235r.
¶ Superbly executed copy of the Hebrew version of the Guide of the Perplexed by Maimonides.


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Naftali Herz Ulman and the Haskalah in the Dutch Republic.
Naftali Herz Ulman, son of Jehuda Löb Ulman from Mainz, was a philosopher who moved to the Netherlands some time during the beginnings of the period of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah). In the footsteps of the German philosopher J.C. Wolff (1683-1739) he produced a four-part Metaphysica, of which only the first volume, Hokhmat ha-Shorashim, was printed in 1781. Ulman fled from Germany, as stated in one of his works: ‘He found a refuge in this city (The Hague), when he escaped from the enemies of truth and justice.’ Whilst living in The Hague Ulman corresponded with Moses Mendelssohn.

1229 bytesHokhmat ha-Shorashim
Naftali Herz Ulman. Printed by J. H. Munnikhuizen, Amsterdam 1781.
876 C 3, title-page.
¶ The only part of Ulman’s Metaphysica that was actually printed. No other works of his were printed after this one and the three following parts remained in manuscript.

1230 bytesHokhmat ha-Olam, Hokhmat ha-Nefesh & Hokhmat ha-Elohut
Naftali Herz Ulman. Autograph on paper, 6 vols. in total, late 18th century, The Hague.
Late Ashkenazi cursive script.
Or. 4808a, f. 1a, title-page.
Or. 4808b, f. 159a.
¶ Parts of the Metaphysica by Naftali Herz Ulman in autograph. Ulmans Metaphysica consisted of four parts. The last three parts remained unprinted and are entitled: The Science of the World, The Science of the Soul and The Science of Theology.
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