MODENA, Leone (Judah Aryeh; Venice, 1571-1648). Sha'agat Aryeh (together with the anonymous Kol Sakhal and Al tehi ke-avotekha by Profiat Duran [d. c. 1414]). MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
Copied by Isaac ben Jacob Levi, the grandson of Leone Modena, Venice, 5401 (= 1640/41)
4o (185 x 140 mm). 47 unnumbered leaves. Brown inks. Italian semi-cursive scripts. (Soiling and dampstaining, occasional repairs, hardly affecting text.) Modern blind and gold-tooled black morocco, blue paste-patterned edges, two modern paper flyleaves at back and front.
I. Fol. 1r: title-page of Sha'agat Aryeh, within simple architectural frame, executed in the text ink.
Fol. 1v: blank.
Fol. 2r: beginning of Sha'agat Aryeh.
Fols. 2v-3v: blank.
II. Fol. 4r: title-page of Kol Sakhal.
Fol. 4v: blank.
III. Fols. 5r-7v: Isaac (Profiat) ben Moses Duran's polemical Iggeret Al Tehi ke-Avotekha in a different script and on a different size of paper, folded in the margins to fit into the binding, bound out of order.
II, continued. Fols. 8r-42r: Kol Sakhal, an attack on the oral tradition of Jewish law ascribed to a Spanish Jew of the sixteenth century.
Fols. 42v-43v: blank.
Fol. 44r: title-page of Sha'agat Aryeh, similar to the previous one.
Fol. 44v: blank.
I, continued. Fols. 45r-46v: the first two chapters of the first part of Sha'agat Aryeh, a refutation of Kol Sakhal. Some scholars suggest that Modena himself composed Kol Sakhal and wrote the refutation to mask his true opinions. Both books were published in I.S. Reggio's Bechinat ha-Kabbalah (Gorizia 1852).
Fols. 46v-47v: refutations of many of Kol Sakhal's arguments, copied by Hayyim Volterra according to his note on fol. 46v.
On the first title-page it is stated that the manuscript was copied by Isaac ben Jacob Levi ('min ha-Leviyim'), the grandson of Leone Modena, in Venice in 5401 (= 1640/41). In fact, the script is very similar to that of Isaac Levi, who was Modena's favorite grandson and closest disciple and who often copied his grandfather's writings, and in all probability Isaac Levi was the copyist of this manuscript. Other examples of Levi's writing can be found in two Pinkasim from Venice now in the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York (MSS 8394 and 8468), in Levi's copy of Biblical commentaries by Modena in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Can. Misc. 204, in his copy of Modena's autobiography in Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, MS X 119 Sup, and in two autograph copies of his own works in MSS Milan X 117 Sup and Montefiore 517.
This is one of five extant manuscripts of this text. The others are in Parma, 2338; Paris, Alliance Isralite Universelle, H51a (a late copy of the previous manuscript); Turin, Comunit Isralitica 8 (a late copy); and New York, JTS Mic. 3567 (ENA 1062). Kol Sakhal was published in an English translation by T. Fishmann, Shaking the Pillars of Exile (Stanford 1997).
The refutations of Kol Sakhal were written by Hayyim Volterra, one of the three rabbinic leaders of the Venetian Jewish community in the second half of the seventeenth century and a member of the Volterra family, who supported Isaac Levi, when other families sought to oust him from his position in the community. Volterra may have acquired the manuscript from Isaac himself and may have brought it with him to London to which he fled in 1714, having fallen afoul of the Inquisition. It was probably acquired later by Rabbi Solomon Hirschell in London (see T. Fishman, op. cit., p. 172-173).
REFERENCES: Neubauer, no. 51, p. 21; Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jerusalem, F 4719.