Auction 71 - The Collection of Rabbi Prof. Daniel Sperber

Anti-Jewish Composition by the Friar Minor Pietro Galatino, Printed by Gershom Soncino – Ortona (Italy), 1518

Opening: $700
Sold for: $1,750
Including buyer's premium
Opus toti christiane reipublice maxime utile, de arcanis catholice ueritatis, contra obstinatissimam iudeoru[m] nostre tempestatis p[er]fidiam: ex Talmud, aliisq[ue] hebraicis libris nuper excerptum [A Work Most Useful for the Christian Republic on the Secrets of the Catholic Truth, against the Hard-Hearted Wickedness of Our Jews, Newly Excerpted from the Talmud and Other Hebrew Books…], by Pietro Galatino. Ortona (Italy): Gershom Soncino, 1518. Latin and some Hebrew.
Between 1507 and 1509, the Jewish apostate Johannes Pfefferkorn published a number of anti-Jewish tracts; considering Jewish books, and especially the Talmud, to be "the source of all evil", he called to have them seized and destroyed. Due to his efforts, in 1509, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I ordered the confiscation of Jewish books by authorized agents. Pfefferkorn, in his capacity as the Frankfurt agent, immediately began carrying out the order. The confiscation of Jewish books aroused the opposition of several German scholars, who claimed that Christian truth was hidden in Jewish sources. The debate that developed eventually led the emperor to rescind the order.
This book is unique in being an anti-Jewish work printed by one of the leading Hebrew printers in Italy, Gershom Soncino. The book, authored by the Friar Minor Pietro Colonna Galatino, shows that Jewish texts contain hints pertaining to the Christian doctrine. Perhaps Soncino agreed to print this work, which attacks his own religion, since it could be used to support the claims of those who opposed Pfefferkorn (thus protecting Jewish books).
The book contains many Biblical and Talmudic quotes in Hebrew. First page of each chapter within woodcut border (this border was used in the title pages of various Hebrew books printed by Gershom Soncino, such as Kol Bo, Rimini 1525-1526).
Gershom Soncino, one of the leading Hebrew printers, wandered with his printing equipment through various Italian cities. He printed three books in Ortona, including one in Hebrew. This is the first book he printed in Ortona.
CCCXI leaves (missing one leaf at the end). Approx. 30 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains. Traces of damp damage. Worming to binding and several leaves. Large open tears to several leaves at the beginning and end of book (affecting text), repaired with paper. Strips of paper for reinforcement to inner margin of some leaves. Handwritten notations to some pages. Parchment binding, slightly worn, with minor damage.