FALAQUERA, Shem Tov ibn (c. 1225-1295). Iggeret ha-Vikkuach and 5 other mainly philosophical works. MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
[Southern Europe, 15th-16th century]
4o (185 x 125 mm). 32 leaves. Brown ink. Sephardic semi-cursive script. (Staining, with old repairs and strengthened edges, affecting some text, otherwise fine condition.) Modern blind and gold-tooled morocco, two modern paper flyleaves at back and front.
I. Fols. 1r-12r: Iggeret ha-Vikkuach by Shem Tov Falaquera (dialogue between a traditionalist Jew and a philosopher). First published in the collectanea printed by Isaac Akrish (Constantinople 1570-1578; Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 608, no. 261). The printed editions are, however, often inconsistent with the manuscripts and moderate the sharpness of the debate. A critical edition from other manuscripts with an English translation and analysis was published by S. Harvey, Falaquera's Epistle of the Debate (Cambridge, Mass. 1987).
II. Fols. 12r-22v: Vikkuach ha-Torani im ha-Filosof. The debate between the rabbinical scholar and the philosopher, part two of Ezer ha-Da'at by Isaac ben Joseph Pollegar [Pulgar; early 14th century]. This part of the book was first published by E. Ashkenazi in his Ta'am Zekenim (1854) fols. 12v-19r. The entire book was first published in London, 1904, and again, in a critical edition based on five manuscripts including this one, by J. Levinger (Tel Aviv 1984). Levinger noted that none of the five manuscripts is identical to any of the others.
III. Fols. 23r-24r: Ke'arat Kesef, a poem by Joseph Ezobi (Spain, 13th century). First printed in Fano 1504 (Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 498, no. 7) and many times since. The work also exists in many manuscripts.
Fol. 24v: blank.
IV. Fols. 25r-28r: Translation by Jacob ben Elijah (13th century) of a letter of philosophical content attributed to an apostate Maestro Andreas. The translator may be identical with Jacob ben Elijah, author of a polemic against Pablo Christiani in Spain in the 13th century; cf. M. Steinschneider, Die hebrischen bersetzungen des Mittelalters und die Juden als Dolmetscher (Berlin 1893) p. 948, and J. Rosenthal, in Areshet 2 (1960) p. 141, no. 42 (in Hebrew). Published from this unique manuscript by A. Neubauer in Israelietische Letterbode 10 (1884) p. 73-77. The letter is followed on fol. 27v-28r by an extract from Vergil, published by Neubauer in REJ 9 (1884) p. 147.
Fol. 28v: blank.
V. Fols. 29r-30v: Short pieces, including some goralot (tossing of lots to predict fortunes), some ethical sayings and an extract from the beginning of Profiat Duran's polemical letter Al Tehi ke-Avotekha with an unidentifed commentary, apparently unique to this manuscript.
VI. Fols. 30v-32r: Ha-Middot ha-Me'ullot, thirteen virtues, attributed to Solomon ibn Gabirol or, in another source, to Solomon ben Gabriel or Moses Gabriel. Copied in several other manuscripts and other collections of sayings.
Fol. 32v: blank
It is very difficult to ascribe the manuscript to a particular time and region. The script is clearly Sephardic, the paper European.
PROVENANCE: The manuscript was presented as a gift to R. Zevi Hirsh [Levin] in London by Judah Loeb ben Zev Wolf Praeger (fol. 1r).
REFERENCES: Neubauer, no. 50, p. 20; Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jerusalem, F 4718.