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Moses Maimonides. Mishneh Torah.

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Moses Maimonides. Mishneh Torah.

FINE BOOKS. Amsterdam, 1702. First edition of the great medieval philosopher and scholar’s magnum opus, a revolutionary examination of Jewish law.

Price: $12,500

A true classic, unprecendented and unrivaled.

Moses Maimonides (1135–1204), also known as the Rambam, is unquestionably one of the most outstanding figures of Jewish history, whose commanding influence has been widely recognized by Jews as well as non-Jews. His Mishneh Torah (Yad Hachazakah, or literally “The Strong Hand.”) is “a true classic: unprecedented and unrivaled…representing a quantum jump in the development of Rabbinic literature as a whole and the history of codification in particular…[a work] exercising a decisive, extensive, nearly constant influence on the study and practice of halachah” (Isidore Twersky, Introduction to the Code of Maimonides) throughout the last eight hundred years.

An ordering and restructuring of Jewish Law. While Maimonides was part of the stream and succession of Talmudic scholars, it was his arrangement of Jewish laws into categories that changed the entire landscape of Rabbinic literature. The novelty of the Mishneh Torah focuses on five integral and unique aspects: classifying the laws of the Mishneh into categories, using Hebrew as a language of explanation rather than biblical Hebrew or Talmudic Aramaic, and writing in a concise (though criticized for it) style which crisply synthesized the exhaustive sea of Talmudic literature.

First book from the press of Immanuel Athias and the first printing of the Mishneh Torah in Amsterdam. Our copy of the Mishneh Torah was begun by Joseph Athias, who had been publishing in Amsterdam since 1658. This 1702 edition is limited to only 1150 copies. Only a handful of copies have appeared at auction in the last 15 years, very few in original condition. Ours is a highly attractive and desirable set in untouched condition.

MAIMONIDES (Moses Ben Maimon). Mishneh Torah. Yad Hachazakah L’Rambam. (With commentaries: Hasagot Ha’Raabad, Maggid Mishneh and Kesef Mishneh, Migdal Oz, and Hagahot Maimoniyot.). Fourteen parts in four volumes, complete. (Subsequent printing of vol 5. Lehem Mishneh commentary not present). Part one has 2 title pages, the first with fine copperplate engraving with architectural motif and figures of Moses, Aaron, and cherubs. Printer’s device on second title page. Three-page dedication in Portuguese to Moses Machado. Amsterdam: Immanuel Athias, 1702. Large Folio (17 1/2 inches height). Original calf with gilt blind-stamped arabesques on front and back covers, ruled in gilt, most original ties present. Chipping to spines resulting in some minor loss, covers rubbed. Custom clamshell cases. A magnificent and handsome wide-margined copy in Very Good condition.