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Nizzahon, R. Yom Tov Lipmann Muelhausen, Altdorf/Nuernberg 1644

ספר נצחון - First Edition - Rare and in very fine condition.

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  • Lot Number 52367
  • Title (English) Nizzahon
  • Title (Hebrew) ספר נצחון
  • Note First Edition - Rare and in very fine condition.
  • Author R. Yom Tov Lipmann Muelhausen
  • City Altdorf/Nuernberg
  • Publisher Wolfgang Endter, Noriberga
  • Publication Date 1644
  • Estimated Price - Low 3,000
  • Estimated Price - High 6,000

  • Item # 2165011
  • End Date
  • Start Date

Physical Description:

First edition. [14], 512, [24] pp., quarto, 200:155 mm., extra wide margins, light age and damp staining, old Latin hand on fly and title. A near fine copy bound in contemporary vellum over boards.

Rare and in very fine condition.


Detailed Description:   

A refutation of Christianity and Karaism and a demonstration of the superiority of rabbinical Judaism by R. Yom Tov Lipmann Muel­iausen (d. 1459), with a Latin translation by Theodore Hackspan, a priest and professor of the­ilogy in Altdorf, published so that Christians might be able to attempt to refute its arguments. One of the leading rabbinic figures of his time, and a dayyan in Prague, R. Yom Tov Lipmann Muel­iausen's name likely derives from an earlier family residence in Muelhausen, Alsace. He studied under R. Meir ben Baruch ha-Levi (c. 1320-1390), Sar Shalom of Neustadt (14th cent.), and R. Samson ben Eleazar.

On 16 August 1399, R. Yom Tov Lipmann Muel­iausen and many other Jews were thrown into prison at the instigation of a converted Jew named Peter, who accused them of insulting Christianity in their works. Lipmann was ordered to justify himself, but while he brilliantly refuted Peter's accusations, as a result of the charges seventy-seven Jews were martyred on 22 August 1400, and three more, by fire, on 11 September 1400. Of the accused R. Yom Tov Lipmann Muel­iausen miraculously survived. Soon afterwards, in 1390, Muelhausen wrote Sefer Nizzahon for other Jews who had to respond to challenges from Chris­ians. Nizzahon was copied but remained in manuscript until the publication of this edition, as the Church prohibited Jewish possession of a copy.

Nizzahon has an engraved Hebrew title page followed by a Latin title page, which begins Liber Nizachon rabbi Lipmanni  . Next is a dedication to Dn. Iohan-Iodoco from Hackspan, a Hebrew introduction, a table of contents, and the Hebrew text set in a single column in rabbinic letters with marginal biblical references. Nizzahon is divided by the days of the week, further organized by books of the Bible, and subdivided into 354 sections, representative of the lunar year. These sections, not in order in the book, are refutations of Christian arguments (66 sections), explanations of dubious actions by the righteous in the Bible (39), explanations of difficult verses (41), reasons for precepts (34), refutations of the arguments of skeptics (55), against heretics and Karaites (47), and concluding with sixteen Jewish principles (48) to be read on Shabbat. R. Yom Tov Lipmann Muel­iausen refutes the Christian concept of the Messiah, immaculate conception, and original sin. The Latin portion of the volume, printed in Nuernburg, begins on p. 211 and is paginated from right to left. Although Hackspan and his workers are credited with attempting to provide a faithful edition of Nizzahon, their unfamiliarity with the language and sources resulted in numerous errors.

In addition to his great rabbinic erudition, Muelhausen knew Latin and was familiar with Christian literature, making him a formidable polemicist. In preparing Nizzahon he utilized earlier Jewish polemical works, including an earlier thirteenth century Sefer Nizzahon Yashan (Nizzahon Vetus), with which this work is not to be confused. The effectiveness of Muelhausen's Nizzahon may be gauged by the appearance of additional Latin editions and bitter attempts at refutations. The first Jewish edition of Muelhausens Nizzahon is Amsterdam (1709). Muelhausen was a prolific writer, his other works are on halakhah, philosophy, aggadah, piyyutim, and Kabbalah.

Added t.p.: Liber Nizachon rabbi Lipmanni, conscriptus anno M.CCC.XCIX. diuq; desideratus nec ita pridem ... oppositus ... Christianis, Sadducaeis atque aliis. Editus ... curante Theodorico Hackspan, Vinariensi, linguae sanctae professore Altdorfino. Accessit Tractatus de usu librorum Rabbinicorum, prodromus Apologiae pro Christianis adversus Lipmannum triumphantem. Uterque cum Indicibus necessariis, atque impensis Wolgangi Endteri ...


Hebrew Description: 

אשר חבר ר’ ליפמן, לנצח צדוקים ונוצרים, מהרהרים ומלגלגים לנצח ...

נראה נדפס החלק העברי של הספר באלטדורף, אולי בדפוס האוניברסיטה (המכונה בשער "ישיבה"), והחלק הלועזי נדפס בנירנברג.

ויכוח נגד הנצרות. ערוך על סדר התנ"ך.

מדברי המחבר בראש הספר: "אפרש הששה עשר דברי’ שהם כוללים כל אמונתינו ... ואסיר גמגומים מרחיקי האמנה המהרהרים וטועים בכ"ד ספרים ואתן טעם למקצת מצות וחקים ופסוקי’ ומעשי’ הנראה תמוה: ואבאר קצת מדברי רז"ל אשר טעו בהם רבי’ ... אחלק ספר הנצחון לז’ .. ימי השבועה ... כל סימני הספר הנצחון הזה שנ"ד כמניין ימי שנת הלבנה".

עמ’ 191-195: "על המאורע הרע אשר לנו אירע בארבע ימים לחודש אלול שנת חמשת אלפים מאה וחמשים ותשע ... שנתפשנו למינות .. בא עלינו האפיקורוס פסח המשומד הנקרא פיטר ודרש עלינו שקרים ... הוצרכתי להשיב לו על אפיקורוסו".

בראש הספר, עמ’ [3-6]: הקדמת המהדיר, תיאודוריקוס האקשפאן, בלאטינית.

עמ’ 196-200: "התשובות והקשיו’ שעשה רד"ק [ר’ דוד קמחי] לנוצרי’ על קצת המזמורים [בספר תהלים]". מתוך פירוש הרד"ק לתהלים (ברוב ההוצאות של הפירוש נשמטו ה"תשובות" הללו).

215-512, [24] עמ’: החלק הלאטיני. כולל מסה ארוכה נגד היהדות.

על הספר ועל מחברו עיין: יהודה קופמן [אבן-שמואל], ר’ יום טוב ליפמן מיהלהויזן, ניו-יורק תרפ"ז.

תיקוני נוסח רבים לספר נצחון נדפסו על ידי וואגנזייל במהדורת המשנה "מסכת סוטה" שהוציא לאור, 1674 Altdorf.



17th Century Hebrew Book, Marvin Heller, pp. 600-601; Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960 #000135337; S.D. Luzzatto in Kerem Ḥemed, vii.56; Furst  Vol. II p. 403; St.C.B. 5854.1; Vinograd, Altdorf #1