Auction 86 - Part I - Rare & Important Items

Birkat HaMazon for Jews and Christians – Missionary Book – Printed by Paul Fagius, Isny, 1542

Opening: $1,500
Estimate: $2,000 - $4,000
Sold for: $1,875
Including buyer's premium
Precationes Hebraicae (Hebrew prayers) – Birkat HaMazon, with an abridgement of Sepher Aemana. Isny (southern Germany): Paul Fagius, 1542. Latin and Hebrew.
The book comprises the text of Birkat HaMazon in Hebrew, with Latin translation and commentary, alongside an "emended" Christian version of passages of Birkat HaMazon, in which Jewish motifs were exchanged for Christian-Messianic motifs. This is followed by text in Hebrew and Latin – "What Prevents Jews from Believing", a shortened version of an antisemitic essay published by Paul Fagius in Sepher Aemana.
Paul Fagius (1504-1549), Lutheran scholar and Hebraist, studied theology and Hebrew in the Heidelberg and Strasbourg Universities, and was ordained for priesthood. In 1537, he returned to Isny (where he had served as teacher and principal of the Latin school several years earlier), and dedicated himself to teaching Hebrew to students of theology; the pinnacle of his activities was the establishment of the first printing firm in Germany with Hebrew type, in which he published his books, including commentaries to the Bible and other Torah books, books on Hebrew grammar, and his Latin translations of Hebrew works. The printing firm played an important role in furthering Protestant Hebraic studies, which flourished during the Reformation.
R. Eliyahu Ashkenazi "HaBachur" (1469-1549) served as proofreader in Fagius's press, where he printed HaTishbi and other books on Hebrew grammar. One of the Hebrew books printed by Fagius was the missionary book Sepher Aemana, which is presented as the work of a Jew proving the veracity of Christianity, though it was presumably composed by Fagius himself.
[32] pages (gatherings: A-C4, A4). 21 cm. Good condition. Stains. Many handwritten Latin inscriptions. New leather binding.
Antisemitism, The Holocaust
Antisemitism, The Holocaust