1310 HEBREW ASTRONOMICAL TREATISE, THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD
(JUDAICA) ISRAELI, Isaac ben Joseph. Yesod Olam [The Foundation of the World]. Berlin: Baruch Szyk of Shklov, 1777. Octavo, 20th-century half black cloth. $1600.
First edition of this important astronomical text originally written in 1310.
“Israeli (first half of the 14th century), was a Spanish astronomer who worked in Toledo. [He] is best known for his book Yesod Olam written in 1310, which was considered the most important contribution to Hebrew literature in this field. It dealt with the geometrical problems of the earth in the Ptolemaic system of the universe as revised by al-Bitsuji, the seasons, etc., and included astronomical tables. The high esteem in which this book was held over several centuries led to an edition in 1777 being published in Berlin” (Encyclopedia of Judaica). The two folding plates issued with this book are here provided in excellent facsimile; the plates are often missing from this book, as orthodox readers used to remove them for fear of being accused of reading forbidden literature. Baruch Szyk writes in his introduction: “I felt a great urge to raise the status of our people by translating books into Hebrew, in every study of science… Finally, I found what I have been looking for; in the archival collection of the Rabbi of Berlin, I found a manuscript of the book Yesod Olam… I am thankful for his permission to publish this book, in order to spread its light for all students who crave its wisdom.”
Text lightly embrowned. A very good, clean copy.