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Ethics in the Early Modern Period

While many of the disciplines and sub-disciplines pertaining to philosophy during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries are now part of other academic fields and subject-matters, ethics has remained as a resilient area of philosophical inquiry to this day. Textbooks on ethics were published throughout the early modern period, together with sections on ethics within encyclopaedic writings devoted in whole or in part to philosophy. And academic disputations were devoted to specific topics and questions pertaining to ethics.

Moral virtue
Within general discussions of ethics during the early modern period the concept of moral virtue (virtus moralis) normally was accorded a central role. Moral virtue was normally conceived as the mean between extremes (mediocritas). The bulk of textbooks on ethics was normally devoted to examination the individual moral virtues (e.g., fortitude, humility, justice, modesty, taciturnity, and temperance) and often accompanied by discussion of corresponding vices (e.g., audacity and cowardice as the two vices corresponding to fortitude).

Additional concepts
General discussions of ethics also focus on a number of additional concepts related in some manner to moral virtue; these generally included intellectual virtue (sub-categories of which could be wisdom, prudence, and sometimes individual arts and science disciplines), dispositions (habitus), friendship, free will, honor, happiness, and moral actions. Charity, faith, hope, and piety also were frequently given attention. From the late 17th century onwards, natural law was sometimes also discussed. Good and evil, which normally were examined within the subject-matter of metaphysics, nonetheless were generally accorded direct and/or indirect attention within ethics. Moral good (which has its origin at least in part from God) is sometimes placed alongside morality, which normally based upon human conventions.

Ethics in the 21st century
During the early modern period, ethics served as a foundation of family life, politics, and moral theology. At an elementary level, fables, phrases, and stories were used to teach ethical precepts. But in the 21st century, ethics is an increasingly important factor in the context of business, law, and health professions as well as within the realms of character education and general professional ethics.

Prof. Joseph S. Freedman, Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama
Logic in the Early Modern Period

While textbooks and other writings on logic (e.g., disputations, sections within encyclopaedias) were utilized in large quantities during the early modern period, the relation between logic and philosophy was not always clear and is still sometimes a matter for debate to this day. For much of the 16th and well into the 17th century, whether logic was a part of philosophy or was preparation for the same was an issue of contention for many authors. In much of the European Continent, logic was taught in schools and then again at the university level, and sometimes with the use of highly diverse authors (e.g., Petrus Ramus at the secondary school level and Aristotle at the university level).

Reasoning process
The central focus of virtually all logic textbooks is the reasoning process, i.e., the process by means of which humans acquire knowledge. In logic one begins with themes (also referred to, for example, as categories, predicaments, or universals). With the use of arguments – which also can be referred to as predicates, places, or topics – one forms enunciations (i.e., propositions), which in turn are used to form syllogisms. The following arguments were generally among those discussed: antecedent and consequent, cause and effect, classification, comparison, definition, part and whole, relation, signs, and testimony. Among the sub-categories of enunciations commonly examined were affirmative, negative, true, false, necessary, contingent, simple, composite, non-modal, and modal enunciations. Syllogisms were usually discussed by diagramming common modes – i.e., kinds – of syllogisms (normally 48 in number) of which only 14 can result in valid syllogisms; various kinds of syllogisms – e.g., demonstrative or necessary syllogisms – were usually included.

Knowledge process
Discussion of syllogisms was normally accompanied by discussion of fallacies, induction, and demonstration / proof. Terms were discussed in one or more contexts; ideas and/or concepts were sometimes included. Scientia (which could be understood to mean knowledge and/or science), opinion, and other general topics pertaining to the knowledge process – including impediments to knowledge (e.g., error, prejudice) – were sometimes given attention. From the late 17th century onwards, logical interpretation (i.e., hermeneutics), and criticism (normally comprising or including literacy criticism) were included within the realm of logic.

From the year 1550 onwards – especially within logic texts authored by Protestants – pedagogical subject-matter was also included. The concept of method and disputation theory were normally examined; sometimes discussion of the how logic should be practiced and/or logical exercises were added. Method evolved into the modern concept of teaching methods; disputations serve as the precursors of the master's thesis, the doctoral dissertation, and academic debating. The pedagogical component of early modern treatises on logic served as the basis for the academic and professional subject-matters which today comprise the general field of pedagogy.

Prof. Joseph S. Freedman, Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama

Various Authors & Editors

Freemasonry in Russia
Early Sources from the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts, Moscow

IDC Publishers is proud to announce the publication on microfiche of a unique collection of manuscripts and rare books indispensable for researching Freemasonry in Russia. The collection includes Masonic regulations, constitutions, books of rites, diplomas, the handwritten translations in Russian of mystic Masonic texts and original Russian Masonic writings. Most of the documents have never been published and copies can't be found in other archives. The collection includes documents in Russian, German, English and French.

Freemasonry in Russia
The history of Freemasonry is one of the most fascinating topics in the cultural history of the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. From the beginning Russian masonry was as an integral part of European masonry. In the 1830s, English Masonic lodges came into being whose members were not only Englishmen serving in Russia, but representatives of the Russian nobility as well. In the middle of the eighteenth century, lodges of French rite already existed in Russia that included Russian masons. According to some foreign observers, all the known European trends were represented in the Russian lodges towards the end of the eighteenth century.

According to Alexander I's ukase of 1822, participation in Masonic lodge activities by public service employees was strictly prohibited. In reality this decree implied the prohibition of masonry, since the overwhelming majority of masons in Russia belonged to the nobility and were employed in public service. Throughout the whole of the nineteenth century and up until 1905, only a few lodges in Russia were active in mystic masonry and these almost lost contact with the masonry movement in Europe.

The October Manifesto of 1905 proclaimed the right of meetings and unions. Representatives of Russian masonry took advantage of this situation. By applying the manifesto, the Council of the Grand Order of Eastern France opened lodges in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

After the October revolution of 1917 Russian masons continued their activities in exile, mainly in French lodges and in Russian lodges in France. In 1992 the Grand National Lodge of France installed the first new Masonic lodge in Moscow after a long interruption.

"Hidden" historical sources
Until recently scholars have been inhibited in their research by the absence of Masonic literature in most libraries. The Order of Freemasons was a quasi-forbidden organization in Russia. Even in the period of the "Golden Age" of Russian masonry (1810-1822) the lodges were under direct surveillance by the Special Office of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Due to this peculiarity, preservation of Masonic archival collections often depended not so much on diligent secretaries or record-keepers, but on the efficiency of Russian security agencies. The mystery surrounding Masonic works in Russia is the result of the intention of some archive owners to disguise the very fact of their existence rather than the specific, mysterious nature of masonry itself. In the Soviet period, all twentieth century Masonic documents were kept as special collections with restricted access ( spetskhran) whereas the masonry of the previous periods was deliberately glossed over.

Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts
Documents in the collection are kept in the Russian State Archives of Ancient Acts (RGADA) in Moscow. The Archive holds more than 3,3 million documents dating back to the beginning of the twentieth century. The Archive's collections comprise documents, issued from the highest echelons of government, central and local authorities of the Russian Empire up to the beginning of the nineteenth century; administration of Russian monasteries; materials of land-surveys (from the eighteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth); papers of the most prominent noble families of Russia, priceless collections of manuscripts and early printed books ( staropechatnye knigi ) from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and rare editions from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Elagin Collection
The collection describes the first stage of the development of Freemasonry in Russia dating back to the mid to late eighteenth century. The collection consists of two parts. The first was compiled as a single collection at the end of the eighteenth century, the so-called Elagin collection. It is no doubt the most famous among Russian Masonic collections. It includes mason regulations, constitutions, books of rites, diplomas from the eighteenth century and illustrations (engravings, tapis, etc.).

Privy Councilor Ivan Perfilevich Elagin (1725 - 1794) served as the Secretary of Catherine II's Cabinet. Elagin sat at the head of two so-called "Elagin's" groups within the Order, which united those Freemasons who had embraced British Masonic philosophy. In 1772 he received the diploma of Grand Provincial Master from the Grand Lodge of England. Thus he became the head of all the lodges in Russia belonging to the English system. Documents preserved from his archive also include the books of rites and regulations of Swedish masonry, as well as of other Masonic trends that existed in Russia. After I.P. Elagin's death his Masonic papers were taken to the State Archives together with official documents. These materials are currently kept as part of the following Fonds: Fond 8 ( Gosarkhiv [State Archives]); Fond 146 ( Rozysknye dela [Investigation cases]); Fond 154 ( Zhalovannye gramoty [Charters]); Fond 168 ( Snosheniia russkikh gosudarei s pravitel'stvennymi mestami [Relations of Russian sovereigns with state institutions]).

Mazurin collection
The second part of the collection includes the handwritten translations in Russian of mystic Masonic texts and original Russian Masonic writings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The printed sources represented here are in many cases equally rare and central to the history of Freemasonry in Russia and its relationship to European Freemasonry.

The collection of manuscripts of original Russian writings and handwritten translations in Russian of mystic Masonic texts was formed as a part of the Fedor Fedorovich Mazurin (1845 - 1898) collection. Mazurin was hereditary honorable citizen of Moscow and a well-known collector of books and manuscripts. During his lifetime, the F.F.Mazurin collection was closed to scientists. In 1899, in accordance with Mazurin's will, his collection was transferred to the Moscow Archives of the Ministry of Justice. (These materials are now kept in Fond 196 in RGADA).

Masonic 'self-edition' (the bulk of the unpublished, but recopied manuscripts) was later known as Samizdat in Russia. In spite of official permission to open private publishing houses issued in 1783, almost all the printing houses that existed in Russia during this period belonged to the state and served the purposes of government, church and educational institutions. So the printing of manuscript editions was on the basis of private orders. Often the translations of foreign authors were circulated in this way. For a brief period Russian masons were leasing the printing house of the Moscow University. At the same time there functioned the secret mason printing-house. However, all these editions couldn't completely satisfy the requirements of an increasing number of masons. This situation explains the existence of mason-handwritten editions in Russia. The spread of handwritten books was partly due to the need for secrecy. The existence of numerous copies of the same texts points to the fact that European literature and hermetics, Gnosticism and natural philosophy were widely spread in the Russian Empire. The printed sources represented here are in many cases equally rare and central to the history of Freemasonry in Russia and its relationship to European Freemasonry. Mazurin's collection includes such rarities as Fama Fraternitatis and Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians, both in Russian, Russian translations of works by Paracelsus, Valentin Weigel, Johannes Arndt, Basilius Valentinus and others.

Several documents and manuscripts from the collection were used as items in the exhibition "500 years of Gnosis in Europe". (See catalogue 500 years of Gnosis in Europe: Exhibition of Printed Books and Manuscripts of Gnosis Tradition. Amsterdam: In de Pelikaan, 1993).

Dr. S. I. Smetanina, Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts
Humanism in 16th-century Zürich

More than 1100 works ( opera omnia, individual works, editions of classical works) by 46 authors dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. Countries/areas represented include Italy, England, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Elsas, Vienna and Switzerland.
Lavater's correspondence
Letters to and from Johann Caspar Lavater (1741-1801)

Encounter on paper
Lavater was at his best when meeting others face to face to discuss topics of mutual interest. His charismatic personality is said to have been irresistible. Lavater's need to foster close personal relationships despite physical distance made him one of the most prolific correspondents of his time, a period itself characterized by a great fondness for writing. According to the principle of "allen alles zu sein" borrowed from Paul (1 Cor. 9:22), he attuned himself to each of his correspondents.
Lavater was prominent in his efforts to create the impression of a spontaneous meeting on paper. He achieved this spontaneity through his writing style, using colloquial language, as well as the liberal use of punctuation marks: dashes, colons, question marks, and exclamation points. These punctuation marks symbolized that which could not be expressed through the mere literal meaning of the words. This practice of "lavaterisieren" became fashionable among his contemporaries.

Fascinating variety
Lavater's extensive, pan-European correspondence features a fascinating variety of topics. It is indisputably dominated by religious matters in the broadest sense, at the center of which lies the inquiry into manifest transcendental experience in immanence. In his Promemoria zur Lebensgeschichte [Memorandum on My Life Story], Lavater declares that the goal and purpose of his life has been "mit Jesus Christus in eine reelle, correspondenzmäßige Connexion zu kommen".
Other topics that have a strong focus in Lavater's correspondece were verse and poetry, pedagogical issues and painting, especially portrait art which was in many ways related to his best known work, the monumental Physiognomischen Fragmenten.
On these topics, Lavater corresponded with nearly all leading figures of intellectual and spiritual German-speaking Europe, such as Wieland, Klopstock, Herder, Goethe, Gleim, and Claudius. Pedagogical issues were discussed with Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Basedow and Campe. Besides corresponding on pedagogy, Lavater wrote a series of children's and young adult books.
Last but not least, Lavater had a keen interest in social and political issues. Especially the French Revolution and the Helvetian Republic, imposed by the French in Switzerland, are extensively discussed in his correspondence.

Intimate insights
Apart from above mentioned various topics, Lavater's correspondence reveals much details on personal lives, both on his own and that of others. Intimate insights into the life of Lavater are, amongst others, provided by his letters to his parents, his wife Anna and his children, his close friends (Johann Georg Zimmermann and Johann Jacob Hess, among others), and to his Zürich teachers (Bodmer and Breitinger).
Lavater frequently had to intervene in difficult situations, often associated with great poverty. Much of what was put into words was related to embarrassing personal life circumstances, such as unwanted pregnancies, and had to remain protected by secrecy.

Lavater's estate
Lavater's estate includes manuscripts, documentation on his most important works, autobiographical material and diaries, travelogues, political material, theological treatises, songs, odes, poetry and decorated cards. Since boundaries cannot be easily drawn, filming proceeded broad-minded. Many items from the estate and other collections of the manuscript department besides the actual correspondence have been included in order to offer a complete overview of his correspondence and extensive network.

An alphabetical index of the letters to and from Lavater offers an overview as well as a convenient introduction to his correspondence. It contains additional articles, providing background information on the filmed materials. As this is the first time that Lavater's correspondence is being published, the collection is indispensable for institutes and libraries performing research on any of the wide variety of topics that found their way to Lavater's letters.

Various Authors & Editors

Martin Buber Correspondence

The complete correspondence of philosopher, theologist, and author Martin Buber. The letters cover a wide range of subjects, including: Philosophy (philosophy of dialogue); Hasidism; Judaism; his work as translator (the Bible translation together with Rosenzweig); his work as an editor; Adult education in Weimar Germany and Israel; Zionism: 1898-1904; the Arab problem: 1921-1965; Art and literature; World recognition after World War II.
c. 50,000 letters.
Moses Maimonides, unparalleled editions

One of the greatest Jewish sages of all times, Moses Maimonides, was not only an outstanding legal authority, compelling philosopher, and accomplished physician, but also the most influential Jewish spiritual leader of his age. The Arabs amongst whom he spent most of his life knew him as Abu Imram Musa ibn Maimun al-Qurtubi. To Western Christian scholars, he was known as Maimonides, while his own people called him Rambam, an acronym of Rabbi Moses ben Maimon.
Maimonides was born in 1135 in Cordoba, which at the time was the capital of Muslim Spain, and received his formative education in Hebrew and Jewish studies from his father Maimon, a learned judge of the town’s rabbinical court. Driven by relentless persecution and by disturbances caused by invading fanatical tribes, the Maimon family spent many years wandering around Spain and North Africa. In 1165, they finally settled in Fustat, a suburb of Cairo. Maimonides was to spend the rest of his life in Egypt, where he rose to prominence as physician and leader of the local Jewish community, and produced some of his greatest literary works.

Maimonides’ legacy
Maimonides – a polymath with a stupendous intellect – displays unsurpassed originality, incisive analytical power, and profound erudition in most of his writings. There is barely a discipline of medieval scholarship or field of Jewish knowledge that he did not master and cover in his works. A talented linguist fluent in Arabic and Hebrew, he was also well acquainted with Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Persian, and Spanish.
Maimonides’ literary career began in adolescence with a series of commentaries on Talmudic tractates. Milot ha-higayon (Treatise on Logic) and Ma’amar ha-Ibur (Treatise on the Jewish Calendar), which he wrote in his teens, are remarkable studies for one so young, and they foreshadow the clarity and style of composition of his later, greatest works. A pioneering compilation which took him ten years to complete (1158-1168), his commentary on the Mishnah ( Perush ‘al ha-Mishnah), was clearly intended to make the corpus of the Oral Law accessible to Jews at all levels. Written between 1168 and 1178, the Mishneh Torah (the Second Law, or the Mighty Hand) is regarded as his masterpiece and the greatest contribution to Jewish law ever made by any one individual. Completed in 1190, Moreh Nevukhin (Guide to the Perplexed) is probably the most authoritative Jewish philosophical treatise of the medieval era, and represents Maimonides’ attempt at reconciling religious Judaism with Aristotelian rationalism.
His pragmatic rationalism is equally reflected in medical texts written while serving as court physician to Sultan Saladin in Cairo. According to experts, many of the views advocated in these writings were modern and far ahead of his time. The preventive approach to illness, the importance of diet and exercise, and the effects of pollution on people’s wellbeing are just some examples of Maimonides’ sophisticated medical acumen. Some of his treatises were translated into Hebrew and Latin (e.g., Pirke Moshe, or Medical Aphorisms), thus spreading his fame in the West.
Maimonides’ caring nature and heartfelt compassion for the sufferings of fellow co-religionists are best illustrated in his letters, of which Igeret ha-Shemad (Epistle on forced Conversion, written around 1165 or 1166) and Igeret Teman (Epistle to the Jews of Yemen, written in 1173 or 1174) are just two examples.
Maimonides’ personality and literary legacy had a tremendous and lasting impact not only on his contemporaries, but also on generations of scholars and thinkers, Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.

Maimonides works in the British Library collection
The British Library holds an important, wide-ranging collection of books and manuscripts related to Maimonides’ life and works. The present selection, though limited to just 54 mostly Hebrew printed editions, is wide in scope, since it embraces virtually the entire spectrum of Maimonides’ literary output. It includes imprints from the 16th up to and including the 20th century, some of which constitute landmarks in the history of Hebrew printing. To further illustrate the lasting popularity and wide appeal Maimonides' writings had over subsequent generations of scholars, we have also included examples of bilingual editions containing Hebrew and either Latin, Judeo-German, or French text.

Except for the Mishneh Torah and some responsa and letters which he wrote in the Hebrew language, Maimonides used Judeo-Arabic (Arabic in Hebrew characters) in all his writings. Some were translated into Hebrew during Maimonides’ lifetime, others in the years or centuries following his death. Of the early surviving translations, some have become classics in their own right. A case in point is Samuel ben Judah Ibn Tibbon’s Hebrew version of the Guide to the Perplexed, which was prepared with advice from Maimonides himself and has often appeared in print since the 15th century. Other medieval scholars whose Hebrew translations of Maimonides' texts have survived are Moses ben Samuel Ibn Tibbon and Judah Alharizi.

It is virtually impossible to quantify the number of printed editions that have been dedicated to Maimonides' writings since printing was invented. A quick glance at the Hebrew editions included here clearly attests to the centuries-long interest in Maimonides’ literary legacy, and further shows that some of the best preserved and well-designed books were produced by early craftsmen whose main goal was to disseminate knowledge and perfect the art of Hebrew printing. As a matter of interest, many of these printers have long earned a permanent place in the annals of Hebrew printing and typography. The Italians Di Gara, Bragadini, Adelkind, Giustiniani, and Usque, the Ibn Nahmias brothers active in Constantinople, Kalonymus ben Mordecai Jaffe in Lublin, and Solomon Proops in Amsterdam are just some of the names that spring to mind.

Letters and responsa
Maimonides replied regularly to legal questions addressed to him from both near and afar, and often wrote letters and epistles, some of which have survived. To date, more than 500 of his responsa and all of his extant letters have been published in Hebrew. The earliest responsa edition featured here is Teshuvot she’elot ve-igrot (Constantinople, 1517). Although it lacks the printer’s name, the book is likely to have been issued by the brothers David and Samuel Ibn Nahmias, Jewish exiles from Spain, who in 1493 set up the first printing press in any language in the Ottoman Empire. The press remained active until 1518. Some letters and responsa editions contain Maimonides’ ethical will, which was addressed to his son, Abraham. Examples included here are Venice, Adlelkind, 1544 and Giustiniani, 1545, and Amsterdam, Proops, 1712.

Milot ha-higayon [Treatise on Logic]
Written in his teens and rendered into Hebrew by Moses ben Samuel Ibn Tibbon after Maimonides’ death, this treatise is regarded as the first extant work on logic written by a Jew. The Cremona edition issued by Vicenzo Conti in 1556, a copy of which is included here, contains a final leaf, absent elsewhere, bearing the Aristotelian syllogisms and a pictorial “tree of logic.”
Equally noteworthy is the Frankfurt-on-Oder 1761 edition of Milot ha-Higayon with comments by Moses Mendelssohn, the foremost philosopher of the German Enlightenment and spiritual leader of German Jewry. The manuscript notes found in the copy owned by the Library bear the name Aharon ha-Levi, who was probably a former owner.

Mishneh Torah [the Second Law, or the Mighty Hand]
One of the most important editions of Maimonides’ Code which served as model for subsequent editions of the work was undoubtedly the one issued in Venice in 1574-1575 by Meir Parenzo for Alvise Bragadini. Maimonides’ Code contains laws for fixing the lunar calendar. Accompanying diagrams were introduced for the first time in this edition, which also included for the first time Joseph Caro’s commentary Kesef Mishneh, the Hasagot (critical comments) by Abraham David of Posquières, as well as an alphabetical index of the works’ contents. Unfortunately, both Joseph Caro and Meir Parenzo passed away before printing was finally completed.

Moreh Nevukhin [Guide to the Perplexed]
There are a number of reasons for singling out Cornelius Adelkind’s edition of the Guide printed at Sabionetta in 1553. Firstly, it features a distinctly elaborate and attractively decorated frontispiece and printer’s mark. Secondly, it contains Be’ur be-‘inyan shene kavim, a short illustrated treatise by Moses ben Abraham Provencal, which is absent from other editions and discusses the idea that two parallel lines never meet. This premise, which is known as Appolonius’ Theorem, is also expounded in the Guide, thus suggesting that Adelkind fully realized the potential of printing these works together. The copy that has been filmed previously belonged to the library of the Duke of Sussex, the brother of King George IV.
After its appearance, the Guide generated an extensive literature, particularly numerous full and partial commentaries, some of which were fiercely critical of the work. Some of these commentaries have often appeared in print alongside the text of the Guide. Examples include the Efodi by Profiat Duran and Moreh ha-Moreh by Shem Tov Ibn Falaquera, and Shem Tov Ibn Shem Tov’s commentary, all of which appeared in the Venice, 1551, Sabionetta 1553, and Jessnitz, 1742 editions. Other popular and frequently reprinted commentaries were Maskiyot kesef and Amude kesef by Joseph Ibn Caspi found in the Frankfurt-am-Main, 1848 edition, the commentary of Moses Narboni and Givat ha-Moreh by Solomon Maimon, both of which are included in the Berlin, 1791-5 and Vienna, 1828 imprints.

Sefer ha-Mitsvot [Book of Commandments]
In this work, which is likely to have been completed a few years before his towering Mishneh Torah, Maimonides sets out to systematically enumerate the traditional 613 commandments laid down in the Pentateuch, a daunting task which no one before him had managed to fulfill satisfactorily. Sefer ha-Mitsvot often prefaces manuscripts and printed editions of the Mishneh Torah. Known Hebrew versions of the work include Abraham Ibn Hasdai’s, now lost, and that of Moses ben Samuel Ibn Tibbon, which remains the standard translation to this day.
Sefer ha-Mitsvot, Constantinople, 1516 is the earliest dated book in the present selection. Like the Constantinople 1517 responsa edition described earlier, it was most probably printed at the Nahmias brothers’ workshop. Once in the possession of King Charles II of England, this copy was among the rare Hebrew imprints Solomon Da Costa Athias presented to the British Museum library in 1759. Da Costa’s Hebrew name appears on the first page of the book.

Shelosh ‘esreh ‘ikarim (Thirteen Principles of Faith)
Maimonides’ Thirteen principles of Faith are still an integral part of the daily Jewish liturgy. The Worms, 1529 edition comprises the Latin translation by Sebastian Muenster, one of the greatest Christian Hebraists of the 16th century. Christian Hebraists took an intense interest in Maimonides’ works, and particularly in his philosophical and legal writings, which they endlessly edited, translated, and commented upon. Thomas Aquinas, Johannes Buxtorf the Younger, Johannes Leusden, and Edward Pococke are just some of the scholars who have been influenced by Maimonides’ idea.

Shemonah Perakim [Eight Chapters]
This was essentially Maimonides’ introduction to his commentaries on Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), in which he discussed morality and the nature of man’s soul. Included here is Sefer Hesed Avraham – an interesting commentary on the Eight Chapters by Abraham ben Shabbethai Sheftel Horowitz, a keen student of Maimonides. The Lublin, 1577 edition printed by Kalonymus Jaffe has an exquisite frontispiece with richly ornate borders featuring angels and sirens.

Important bilingual editions
Porta Mosis (Gate of Moses)**, Oxford, 1655 contains the prefaces Maimonides wrote to the Mishnah commentary. The text is in Arabic in Hebrew characters, with the Latin translation by Edward Pococke in parallel columns. Appended to these are Pococke’s own annotations, in which he attempted to refute rabbinic teachings. For many years, Edward Pococke was Professor of Arabic and Hebrew at Oxford, and one of the most famous 17th-century English Christian Hebraists. His was the first book with Hebrew characters to be printed at Oxford.
** The copy used for this project is part of the Rosenthaliana Library Collection.
Sexcenta & Tredecim Paecepta Mosaica a Maimonide ex Pentateucho … Utrecht, 1686. Johannes Leusden was a philologist and professor of Hebrew and Oriental languages at Utrecht. He was familiar with rabbinic literature and was the first Christian responsible for the publication of a critical text of the Bible in 1667. In this work, which contains both Hebrew and Latin, Leusden based his enumeration of the 613 commandments on Maimonides’ Sefer ha-Mitsvot, adding to each the relevant biblical verse from which it originated.

Edited by Joseph S. Freedman

The Universe of Learning
IDC Publishers has made accessible a wide range of rare materials pertaining to the history of arts, education, philosophy and the sciences which previously have not been available as one collection. The collection is divided into fifty sections that reflect both the wide scope and overall unity of the subject matter within Philosophy and the Liberal Arts during the Early Modern Period.

This collection is also included in the Philosophy and the Liberal Arts in the Early Modern Period collection.

Edited by Joseph S. Freedman

The Universe of Learning
IDC Publishers has made accessible a wide range of rare materials pertaining to the history of arts, education, philosophy and the sciences which previously have not been available as one collection. The collection is divided into fifty sections that reflect both the wide scope and overall unity of the subject matter within Philosophy and the Liberal Arts during the Early Modern Period.

This collection is also included in the Philosophy and the Liberal Arts in the Early Modern Period collection.

Edited by Joseph S. Freedman

The Universe of Learning
IDC Publishers has made accessible a wide range of rare materials pertaining to the history of arts, education, philosophy and the sciences which previously have not been available as one collection. The collection is divided into fifty sections that reflect both the wide scope and overall unity of the subject matter within Philosophy and the Liberal Arts during the Early Modern Period.

This collection is also included in the Philosophy and the Liberal Arts in the Early Modern Period collection.