Moshe ben Nahman, dit Nahmanide (1194-1270), Hiddoushei ha-Torah, Lisbonne, 1489
Hiddushei ha-Torah (New Commentaries on the Torah)
Moshe ben Nahman, known as Nachmanides (1194-1270)
Book printed in Hebrew on Vergé paper, annotations handwritten in ink. Wood and embossed brown leather cover, two metal clasps, 32.8 x 24 x 8.5 cm
Gift of Inna Nahmias in memory of Elie Nahmias
The doctor, philosopher, biblical and Talmudic exegete, kabbalist and liturgical poet Moses ben Nahman (Bonastruc ça Porta in Catalan), born in Gerona in Catalonia, was one of the greatest rabbinic authorities in Spain in the 13th century and one of the principal decision makers of the medieval era. In this capacity, he was summoned to the Disputation of Barcelona in 1263, organised by the Dominicans to discredit the Talmud, where his defence was considered blasphemous by the Church and he was forced into exile. His commentary on the Torah may have been written in Spain before his departure for Jerusalem in 1267.
Published in Lisbon in 1489 by Eliezer Toledano with the aid of rabbi David Ibn Yahya, this incunabulum – the name given to the rare books printed before 1500 – is the first book printed in Lisbon using the new movable-type process, and one of the most ancient books printed in Portugal in any language after the Torah published in Fano in 1489. Although in Portugal editions in Hebrew preceded those in Portuguese and Latin, they came to an abrupt end in 1497 with the forced conversion of all the Jews in the kingdom and the beginnings of a new exile.